Subscribe to Updates

Click here to subscribe to new posts by email. We use Google FeedBurner to send these notifications.

Archive for the ‘How to’s’ Category

Narrow your PocketBible searches with Strong’s Numbers

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 5 Comments

Two of the major features of Strong’s Concordance are that it provides an exhaustive list of the words used in the Bible and it links those words back (via the assigned number) to the original language root. If you add Strong’s Concordance to PocketBible, you can search for occurrences of the root word in the Bible using its Strong’s number. We offer three versions of Strong’s Concordance for use with PocketBible: KJVEC, NASEC and HCSBEC.

What is the benefit of using Strong’s Numbers in my searches?

Some things are not apparent in the English translation.

For example, in John 21, Jesus asks Peter three questions, “son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” (v15); “son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” (v16); “son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” (v17). While the KJV translates “lovest” the same each time, Strong’s assigns a different root word to Jesus’ first two uses of “lovest.” Strong’s indicates a root word of agapao (which is assigned the number 25) in the first two questions and then phileo ( which is assigned the number 5368) to that last use of “lovest.” When Peter responds to Jesus’ questions, each time he he uses the word phileo (G5368) to convey his feelings for Jesus.

You could look at the definitions for these Strong’s words and find out what others say about the meaning of these two words. But you could also explore these words in context for yourself with PocketBible. How are these two forms of love used elsewhere in the New Testament? How were they used by Jesus and Peter elsewhere? While your dictionaries may cite some verses where these words are used, the PocketBible search feature will provide you with an exhaustive list of usage.

How can I use Strong’s Numbers in my PocketBible searches?

Simply input the Strong’s number (i.e. G25 or H157) into the PocketBible search field to search for occurrences of that word in a Strong’s-numbered Bible.

To continue with our example, let’s use the PocketBible search feature to find out more about the word “lovest.” The search results presented below are from the KJV and the search is limited to the New Testament since we are talking about a Greek word. The bolded text is what is entered in the search field in PocketBible (or the syntax needed to get the results mentioned).

  • lovest – PocketBible reports this specific word form occurs 4 times in the KJV New Testament (KJVNT)
  • lov* – a second search (with a wild card) tell us that there are 202 variations of the word lov* that occur in KJVNT. The asterisk that follows the letters “lov” is a wildcard which tells PocketBible to search for all endings of the word (wildcards are not needed in the Android and Mac versions of PocketBible as they automatically report all word variations).
  • G25 – 109 verses in the KJVNT use this Greek word with the Strong’s number 25 (which we know from our dictionary means agapao).
  • G5368 – 21 verses in the KJVNT use this Greek word with the Strong’s number 5368 (which we know from our dictionary means phileo).

Thus we now know that while a form of the word “love” is used 202 times in the New Testament, only 109 of those times is the root word agapao and 21 times, phileo. That really doesn’t tell us much except to say that G25 is more commonly used in the New Testament. Given that we also want to know context for these words and how Jesus used them, we could re-run our searches and limit them to the Gospels. From there we could browse through the list to consider how these words were used in the reported verses.

For example, PocketBible reports that G5368 is assigned to the word “kiss” in Luke 22:47, referring to Judas kiss. In addition, G5368 is the root used for the word “loveth” in John 5:20 – “For the Father loveth (G5368) the Son…” So phileo is the root word used for Judas kiss and also to describe how the Father loves the Son. Hmm…this is the time I would be checking Vine’s or the Complete Word Study Dictionary to see what they have to say on this.

You can also use PocketBible to find a particular English word only when it’s translated from a specific Greek or Hebrew word. For example, love:G5368 will find all instances of the word “love” where it is translated from the Greek word 5368. To find a particular English word only when it’s not translated from a specific Greek or Hebrew word, using the format, love:-g5368, will find all instances of the word “love” where it is not translated from the Greek word 5368. To find a particular Greek or Hebrew word only when it’s not translated as a particular English word, using the format, -love:g5368, will find all instances of the Greek word number 5368 where it is not translated into English as “love.” This last search should give us Luke 22:47 where g5368 was used for the English word kiss (as we found above).

Related articles: Accomplishing Word Studies in PocketBible, How can I use Strong’s Concordance in PocketBible? and Shortcuts for turning on/off Strong’s Numbers in PocketBible Bibles.

What can Cultural Background add to your Bible Study?

Posted on: February 24th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

Cultural bias refers to “interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one’s own culture” (wikipedia). Whether we like it or not. Whether we realize it or not. We see the world through a lens that is colored by where, and with whom, we live. Cultural background is designed to help remove that lens when looking at the Scriptures.

My husband tells a story of meeting with a group of IT contractors who were not from the US and their being asked to put together a ballpark figure of what their services would cost based on the discussion. The lead contractor had never heard that term and showed complete bewilderment as to what that could mean.

It is a reminder that we use words or phrases daily that don’t mean what they literally say (i.e. cold feet, green thumb, backseat driver). And if those of us living in the same era have challenges in communication, we can expect it to be challenging to understand what was written to a specific audience in the past that lived in a culture that is not familiar to most of us.

According to Craig Keener, author of the IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament:

“Knowing ancient culture is critical to understanding the Bible, especially the passages most foreign to us. Our need to recognize the setting of the biblical writers does not deny that biblical passages are valid for all time; the point is that they are not valid for all circumstances. Different texts in the Bible address different situations. (For instance, some texts address how to be saved, some address Christ’s call to missions, some address his concern for the poor, and so on.) Before we can determine the sorts of circumstances to which those passages most directly apply, we need to understand what circumstances they originally addressed.”

Cultural background attempts to put you in the place or time where the text was written. To give you insight as to how the events and words would have been understood by those who were there.

In John 4, Jesus talks to the Samaritan women at the well. We understand this is unusual because it says that right in the text: Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. But with the help of the IVP Bible Background Commentary, our understanding of this can be expanded:

“That this Samaritan woman comes to the well alone rather than in the company of other women (and at the hottest hour of the day, when she would not run into them) probably indicates that the rest of the women of Sychar did not like her, in this case because of her marital history (cf. comment on 4:18). Although many Jewish teachers warned against talking much with women in general, they would have especially avoided Samaritan women, who, they declared, were unclean from birth. Other ancient accounts show that sometimes even asking water of a woman could be interpreted as flirting with her; this might be especially the case if she had come alone at an unusual time. Jesus breaks various conventions of his culture here. In addition, Isaac (through his agent, Ge 24:17), Jacob (Ge 29:10) and Moses (Ex 2:16-21) met their wives at wells; such precedent created the sort of potential ambiguity at this well that religious people wished to avoid.” – comment on John 4:7 (IVP Bible Background Commentary NT)

Compare this to what an expository commentary like Bible Knowledge Commentary has to say on this same verse:

“With His disciples in the city buying food, Jesus did a surprising thing: He spoke to a Samaritan woman, whom He had never met. She was of the region of Samaria, not the town of Samaria. The woman was shocked to hear a Jewish man ask for a drink from her. The normal prejudices of the day prohibited public conversation between men and women, between Jews and Samaritans, and especially between strangers. A Jewish Rabbi would rather go thirsty than violate these proprieties.”

Background commentary is not meant to replace expository or explanatory commentary. Rather, you’ll want to use it in conjunction with your other commentaries so you get the meaning of the Bible text in light of what the original reader would have known or understood. While most commentaries sprinkle background in where needed, a background commentary provides greater depth on culture and history while leaving interpretation and application to the traditional commentaries.

Having this type of background information in a commentary format is especially helpful because you have pertinent information available for the verse or passage as you are studying.

We offer two background commentaries for use with PocketBible:

Another good source of cultural and historical background for the Bible are Bible dictionaries. For more in-depth treatment of the type of information mentioned in background commentaries, consider the following specialized dictionaries:

Finally, another good source for Bible culture is the New Illustrated Manners and Customs of the Bible.

Bible Study Basics: Start with the 4 C’s

Posted on: February 3rd, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 3 Comments

Bible study doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult.

When you want to explore a verse or passage in the Bible for deeper understanding, use the 4 C’s of Bible Study: Context, Comparison, Cross-Reference, Commentary.

Context

Start with the basics and read the verse and its preceding and following verses. In PocketBible, you can easily go to any verse to read it in context. If you have time, read the whole chapter or even better, the entire book!

You could also benefit from reading an introduction to the book from which the verse is excerpted so you know the audience, purpose, etc. for the book. Most Study Bibles, Commentaries and even Bible dictionaries available for PocketBible offer book introductions.

Comparison

Reading the verse or passage in multiple translations of the Bible can also shed light on the meaning of a verse. Alternative translations can give you insight into what the author is trying to say. Try translations like:

  • The Amplified Bible which includes synonyms and definitions to both explain and expand the meaning of words in the text
  • NET Bible which includes detailed information as to why verses were translated as they were
  • The Message which is a paraphrase but written in today’s language.

You can open multiple translations in PocketBible at once and tap on the title bar to switch between them (if they are all open in one pane). Or you can create your own parallel Bible by opening multiple panes with different translations.

Cross-References

Cross-references are designed to lead you to related verses. It is a way to interpret Scripture with Scripture and even show you where items are predicted or mentioned in other places in the Bible. If you take the time to review related verses, you’ll find that the Bible supports and sheds light on itself.

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is a free PocketBible book that offers an exhaustive collection of cross-references. You’ll also find cross-references included with PocketBible Study Bibles and Commentaries.

Commentary

While commentaries provide other people’s opinion about a verse, they are usually learned or scholarly opinions. Similar to Bible translations, you can use PocketBible to consult multiple commentaries to get differing thoughts on the meaning of a passage (depending on what is in your library). Knowing how to manage your books in PocketBible makes this easy to do.

AutoStudy puts the 4 C’s together for you!

The Advanced Feature Sets available for PocketBible on iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, Mac OS X and Android offer a unique ability to bring all this together for you in one step. AutoStudy the verse and tell PocketBible what you want to include from your installed books. You can include any or all of the elements mentioned above – Bible translations, cross-references, commentaries – and PocketBible will produce the comparison for you in one document that you can study or even print and save for later. (Advanced Features vary and are sold separately for each platform).

Choosing a Commentary for the way you study

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 10 Comments

Stack of booksFrom the early church fathers to Matthew Henry and beyond, Bible scholars and teachers continue to find different approaches for explaining the meaning of the Bible text to us. While we all appreciate their efforts, it can be difficult to choose from so many options. Here is a guide to help you easily navigate the commentary choices for use with PocketBible.

Concise Commentary

Brief but comprehensive is how the dictionary defines “concise.” You may see adjectives such as “overview,” “passage-by-passage” or “chapter-by-chapter” in the description for a concise commentary. Study Bibles generally fall into this category. As do Bible Handbooks which, among other features, offer brief commentary on the Bible text. The benefit of these types of commentaries is that they are brief and to the point. They either focus on the main or most important points of a verse or passage or provide overviews of Scripture in sections.

(more…)

3 Benefits of Listening to the Bible

Posted on: January 23rd, 2015 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

What keeps you from reading your Bible? Time? Ability to focus? You may find listening to the Bible a way to combat these issues and more:

  • Engage two senses – if you read through several paragraphs and can’t remember what you just read, try listening and reading at the same time. This will help you keep your attention on what you are reading.
  • Redeem the time – listen to the Bible while you clean the house, run, work or commute and put this wasted time to a good use.
  • Multi-front approach – if you are trying to memorize or meditate on a specific passage of Scripture, reading and listening separately can reinforce your efforts.

PocketBible offers text-to-speech capability with all but the Windows PC version. To listen with PocketBible, you will need to purchase the Advanced Feature set for the version of PocketBible you are using on your device (Advanced Feature Sets are sold separately for each operating system). Additionally for the iOS version, you also need to purchase a voice; Other versions of PocketBible use the built-in voice capability of the operating system.

Here’s how to use the audio feature in each version of PocketBible:

  • PocketBible for iOS – with the Advanced Feature Set and a voice installed, you can use the contextual menu to start the reading from any verse in the Bible. Or turn on the Audio remote (icon looks like megaphone) to easily stop and start the audio.
  • PocketBible for Mac OS X – with the Advanced Feature Set installed, use the right-click menu to start speaking from the current location of your Bible.
  • PocketBible for Windows Phone – with the Advanced Feature Set installed, select Menu | show audio controls and then press Play to start listening.
  • PocketBible for Windows Store – with the Advanced Feature Set installed, choose Audiobar from the menu and tap the play button to begin the audio.
  • PocketBible for Android OS – with the Advanced Feature Set installed, choose Listen from the menu.

Starting your Bible Reading Plan or Devotional Over for a New Year

Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 4 Comments

A new year is here and with it the opportunity for a fresh start on Bible reading efforts! Whether you are on track to make it all the way through from January 1 to December 31 or you got side-tracked at some point during the year, PocketBible makes it easy to begin anew.

Here are instructions for resetting your Bible reading or devotional tracking for the various versions of PocketBible:

  • PocketBible for iPad/iPhone/iPod touch – open PocketBible and go to the Bible reading plan you want to reset. Select the Today button | Devotional Settings and choose to reset your reading progress and change the start date to today’s date.
  • PocketBible for Android OS – if you are using PocketBible on your Android phone, you can change the start date for a devotional by tapping on the dove menu and choosing Devotionals. Then choose the correct book at the top drop down and then hit the Manage button. You can choose to catch up or start over on this page. If you are using PocketBible on a tablet, use the blue tab instead of the dove menu.
  • PocketBible for Windows Phone – select Menu | Daily Readings and tap and hold on the devotional book. From the menu select Remove daily reading. You can then go back and restart.
  • PocketBible for Windows Store (8/8.1) – select Daily readings from the application bar and select the devotional book. From the application bar select Remove Daily Reading. You can then go back and restart.
  • PocketBible for Windows PC – choose Devotional Reading | Book Options from the menu and select the Start Over tab. Press the Start Over button. Choose the Start Date tab to set a new start date.
  • PocketBible for Windows Mobile – Are you one of our few customers still using this older type of mobile device? You can find complete instructions here.
  • DailyReader for Palm OS – Are one of our few customers still using this older type of mobile device? You can find complete instructions here.

If you are looking for a different Bible reading plan this year, you’ll find help choosing one in our article on 8 Ways to Read through the Bible with PocketBible.

Installing PocketBible to a New Device

Posted on: December 25th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 4 Comments

Are you the happy recipient of a new phone or tablet? Or a new Mac or PC? Congratulations! Here is what you need to know to get PocketBible on it!

First an important reminder – you never have to re-purchase any Laridian Bibles or books when you move to a new device. You may have to re-install a new version of PocketBible and download your books again but that is all FREE and we’ll try to make that as painless as possible with the tips in this article.

Install Guide by Device Type

Find your device type in the list below and follow the instructions from there:

  • iPhone/iPad/iPod touch (iOS) – go to the App Store from your device and search for PocketBible Bible Study. Download the free app and register it using your existing Laridian ID (or email address on file) and password. Tap on the Menu icon and choose Add/Remove Books. Go through the list of your books (should include all your previous purchases and free books) and tap on any you want to download at this time (you can always return to this list and download more later). Hit UPDATE at the top of the page to start the downloads.
  • Mac OS X – you can download PocketBible for Mac directly from our website. Go here to download and here for detailed directions. The first time you open PocketBible on your Mac, register using your existing Laridian customer information. Then you can select Cloud Library from the Books menu to download your past purchased books.
  • Android OS – go to the Google Play store on your device (or Amazon App store if you prefer) and search for PocketBible Bible Study. Download the free PocketBible app. Register using your existing Laridian account information. Tap on the Dove icon and choose to Download Books. You should see your previously purchased titles along with all free books. Tap on each book you want to download (you have to do this one at a time). Check out our Android OS videos at our Youtube channel for some tips on using PocketBible for Android.
  • Kindle Fire – we are still working with Amazon to get our Android version of PocketBible to show up in the Kindle Store. In the meantime, follow the instructions at this link to download PocketBible from our site and install as a 3rd party app. HDX owners you can watch a video of how to install.
  • Windows Phone – go to the Windows Marketplace on your phone. Search for PocketBible Bible Study and download and install the free app. Register using your existing Laridian account information. Choose the Cloud Library from the menu. Tap on any title to download. Open downloaded books from the Device Library.
  • Windows Surface – go to the Windows Store on your tablet. Search for PocketBible Bible Study and download and install the free PocketBible app. Register using your existing Laridian account information. Choose the Cloud Library from the menu. Tap on any title to download. Open downloaded books from the Device Library menu.

If you have personal data (i.e. notes, bookmarks, highlights) to transfer, you can synchronize with our server to receive the data to your new device (assumes you have synced to our server/cloud from your old device first to get personal data there).

One final note – Advanced Feature Sets are the only items which are sold separately for each operating system. So, for example, even if you own the Advanced Feature Set for your iPhone, you’ll still need to purchase the specific Advanced Feature Set for your Surface Pro or Mac OS X. However, if you own an iPhone and iPad, since they are the same operating system, you only need one copy for both devices.

Find Your Ideal Bible Reading Plan

Posted on: December 10th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

scripture memoryThe primary goal of a Bible reading plan is to keep us reading the Bible. A Bible reading plan also organizes our reading and gives us goals to meet; usually a daily goal with the ultimate goal of finishing the plan in a specified time period.

Choosing a plan that is realistic for the amount of time you can devote to Bible reading each day will help you reach your goals. As will choosing a plan that presents the Bible in a way that will keep you motivated to read.

If you like doing things in order, then a Genesis to Revelation plan may be just what you are looking for. If you need variety to keep your interest, than a chronological plan or a New Testament/Old Testament plan might work better for you. Here are some tips on choosing a reading plan for use with PocketBible, based on your time and desire for variety.

(more…)

PocketBible for Mac OS X – Copy Passage Tips

Posted on: November 30th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin No Comments

I was taking notes in church this morning and realized I was making use of some shortcut keys and program capabilities that you may have missed when using PocketBible on your Mac. So when I got home I made this video to demonstrate two methods of quickly getting Bible text into the clipboard and from there into your notes. Of course you could use this same technique to paste into any other app.

I hope this helps you get more out of PocketBible on your Mac!

Setting up and Delivering a Message with PocketBible on your Kindle Fire (or other Android OS tablet)

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 3 Comments

One of the amazing uses of PocketBible is for delivering a message. It’s layout and features provide an excellent electronic Bible with its own built-in notebook, and it has all the tools you need to prepare your message, whether it’s for the classroom or the pulpit. This tutorial will look at setting up the message in PocketBible and then using the multi-screen feature for preaching and teaching.

Setting up the Message

There are several features of PocketBible that help in preparing sermons and classes. The features I like are Notes, Bookmarks, and Highlights. Here are a few of the ways that I use them together to prepare sermons.

NOTE – PocketBible has a lot of fine tools for the actual sermon prep itself including Bibles, dictionaries, commentaries, study Bibles, books, and more. We’ll go into detail about using them for sermon prep in future posts.

Notes

Tap on the verse where you want to place a note and select the notebook symbol on the Action Bar. In the notes area, you can type or paste in any kind of information you want. You can format your text to make it easy for you to use. Bullets are great for simple outlines. Add things that you want to make sure you remember to say. At the end of the note you can type the next verse. This will create a clickable link so you can quickly navigate to the next verse in your sermon.

Bookmarks

Once you’ve chosen the references you will use, you can bookmark them in a folder just for this message. I like to name the folder with the title I use for the message. If I need to, I can go to the bookmarks list and see every verse that I’m using in my sermon. This list can also be used to navigate to the next verse in your sermon.

Highlighting

This step is optional but I find it easier to see the verses I want to use if I’ve highlighted them. I like to use a different color for different topics. If my message is about the Scriptures, I like to highlight the verses green. This helps when navigating to the next verse. You can find it quicker because you know what color to look for. This is more effective when you’ve only colored the verses in your sermon that color. You might consider using a special color or marking just for this message.

Example


For my sermon I’ve created a bookmark folder called Sermon 001 The Word of God. It contains references to the following verses: Ps 119:11, Ps 119:16, Ps 119:80, Ps 119:89, Ps 119:105, 2Ti 2:15, 2Ti 3:16, 2Ti 3:17, 2Pe 3:16. I’ve colored all of these verse limegreen and each verse has a note with my primary point and a link to the next verse.

Ps 119:11 is the first verse I want to go to. It has a note that talks about the importance of memorizing Scripture. It also has a link to the next verse – Ps 119:16. The note on Ps 119:16 talks about how we should enjoy reading and studying the Scriptures, and how we should keep God on our minds and in our hearts by thinking and meditating on the Word. After this I have typed POINTS TO MAKE followed by two bullets:

  • Love the Word
  • Memorize the Word

After the note is a link to Ps 119:80, which contains a short note and the next reference. I continue this until I reach the end of the message. This can be as detailed or as simple as you want. If another point or verse comes to me during the sermon, I can navigate to it and still have my notes visible so I know where to go next.

(more…)

©2015 Laridian