Using Bible Handbooks

A Bible handbook is a resource that gives an overview to each book of the Bible with a wealth of details to help you understand the cultural and biblical context. Many Bible handbooks also include maps, illustrations, images, and more to help you visualize the world of the Bible.

If you haven't downloaded your Bible handbook yet, you will find the download steps for your device(s) here. The images below are from an iPad, though the functionality will be similar in all of our app variations.

In this Help article, you will learn several ways to use your Bible handbook in the app for your Bible study. The Bible handbook we are using as an example is the Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook.

Open in the Main Window

The first way to view the Bible handbook is on its own in the main window. This option will allow you to navigate to the handbook's Table of Contents. First, tap on the Library icon and choose your Bible handbook from the list of downloaded resources. 


Once the resource is open in the main window, tap on the navigation menu at the top of the screen.


Select the three-dot Options icon.


Select 'Use List Layout'.


This will reveal the Table of Contents, so you can navigate anywhere in the resource.


Open in the Parallel Window

If the Bible handbook you purchased has Commentary/Study Notes as a feature, this is what you will see on the product page at


This means that you can scroll in the Bible text in the main window and the Bible handbook will follow along in the Parallel window. Once you have checked the product page, return to your app and tap the Library icon to open a Bible.

Tap the green box at the bottom of the window to open the Study Center.


Tap Parallel at the bottom of the screen. Scroll through the list of resources here and tap on the handbook you want to use. 


Now, as you scroll in your Bible text the Bible handbook will follow along. 

If the Bible handbook you're using does not say 'Commentary/Study Notes' as a feature on the product page, you can still open the Bible handbook in the Parallel window. The only difference is that it will not follow along as you scroll in the Bible text.

You can navigate in the resource independently by opening iti n the Parallel window (as shown above) and tapping at the top of the screen to open the Table of Contents:


Open in the Resource Guide

If the handbook you purchased has been enhanced for the Resource Guide, you will see this on the product page on


Once you have ensured that your Bible handbook is enhanced for the Resource Guide, return to the app and open your Bible in the main window. Open the Study Center by selecting the green 'Open Study Center' tab.


Select the 'Resource Guide' tab (lightbulb icon) to make sure you have the Resource Guide open. 


As you scroll through the Bible, the Resource Guide searches through the books in your Library for content related to the Scripture passage in the main window.

For example, the Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook shows up in the Introductions section when the Bible text is on John 1.


By clicking on this resource, I can see that there are five introductory articles on the Gospel of John in the Baker handbook, and I can click on any article in the list to read the content.



We hope that this introduction to using Bible handbooks in the Olive Tree Bible App has been helpful for you. You can find all of our Bible handbooks on our website by searching for 'Handbook'. 

If you have any more questions, please submit a request to our Customer Support team here. They are happy to help!

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