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Unpack Scripture with 3 Layers of Study Notes

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The Faithlife Study Bible integrates seamlessly with your favorite Bible translations, giving you a whole new lens through which to study Scripture. One of the great things about it is how, with three layers of study notes, it connects you to exactly the information you need:

So, three layers of notes—what does that mean for your Bible study?

Say you’re studying Genesis, and you get to Genesis 2:9. If you just want to get the basics of what’s going on, the first layer of study notes is at the ready, right alongside your Bible. This layer helps you identify the basics of each verse—people, places, things. In this case, it provides a brief paragraph discussing the “tree of life”:

The wider garden imagery in the ancient Near East helps in understanding the tree of life. The ‘tree of life’ refers to two concepts: one earthly and the other symbolic of divine life and cosmological wellness. The tree is described as being located in Eden, which is a garden with abundant water and lush vegetation, paradise for those living in agrarian or pastoral settings. In the ancient Near East, garden imagery was used to describe the abodes of deities, representing luxury and abundance. The divine abode also represented the place where heaven and earth met. The OT often connects trees with divine encounters and sacred geography (Genesis 21:33; 35:4; Joshua 24:26; Judges 4:5; 6:11, 19).

If you’re trying to cover a lot of ground, or you just want to scan a passage long enough to get a grasp of it, this first layer of notes helps you get your bearings.

However, if you want even more, the “+” sign means that—lo and behold—there’s another layer. Click it to keep learning: the second-level notes are tucked away when you don’t need them, and they appear on command. When you click the plus sign, it becomes a minus sign, so you can hide the second layer again if you’d prefer to keep moving.

This second layer of notes continues the conversation, providing a deeper look at the concepts discussed in the first. In this case, the second layer digs into the ancient associations between trees and the divine, tying in relevant Scripture. Since this all happens within the Faithlife Study Bible, you can jump straight to these passages to take your study in a new direction, or simply hover over the verse to bring it up and stay focused on the task at hand. Either way, the FSB helps you see the connections throughout Scripture, and the second layer reveals even more about the particular verse you’re studying.

Sometimes, you’ll notice titles with an icon next to them. This is the third layer of study notes: links to articles related to the verse you’re studying, many of them written by prominent Bible scholars.

The third layer of study notes acts as a diving board—it’s waiting for you to jump into an even deeper Bible study. The note icon indicates that these articles were designed specifically for the FSB. You might notice that some of the links have abbreviations next to them in light gray text, with a book icon (as opposed to a “note” icon), like two of the links above. These links function much like the third layer of notes—they appear when the FSB is inviting you to take your studies even further—but they’re actually links to related resources. If you don’t own a resource, you’ll be able to access its articles right from the FSB when you add it to your library. (The Lexham Bible Dictionary is currently available for free with the FSB, and its links are included inline with the notes).

When you read the Bible with the Faithlife Study Bible, you get more out of your time in Scripture. When you have questions or you want to know more about a particular word, phrase, or person, the FSB lets you explore as deeply as you want. The Bible offers an ocean of knowledge: with the FSB, you’ll discover something new every time you dive in.

Don’t have the Faithlife Study Bible? Don’t worry—you can still get it for free! Download it today, and start your self-guided journey through Scripture.

Written by
Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson is a writer for OverviewBible, where he uses Logos to explore the characters, groups, places, and books of the Bible. He has served in a variety of volunteer ministry positions, primarily through Young Life.

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Written by Ryan Nelson