The Zondervan Illustrated Collection combines three of the best individual Bible study titles together in one collection. This blog post will walk you through how to use these three resources to get more out of your Bible study. Here’s what’s included in the package:

Though these three volumes are available individually, by far the best deal is to purchase the collection. Let’s take a look at how these three volumes work seamlessly in the Olive Tree app. The Scripture we’ll be studying is John’s first vision in Revelation.

An Exilic Vision

After a brief introduction and greeting in verses 1-8, John describes the circumstances surrounding the vision he received of Christ in Revelation 1:9. “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

With this verse open in the main window, the Resource Guide shows two notes from the Zondervan Bible Commentary.

Tap on the resource and it will show you the larger section of the letter this vision is a part of (1:9-11:19) and the length of the inaugural vision (1:9-20). Tap on “I. The Inaugural Vision” and check out the commentary notes on verse 9.

John describes himself as a fellow companion to his readers in the suffering . . . kingdom . . . and patient endurance that they share together in Jesus. Let’s dig in here to find out more about what John is getting at.

Suffering for Jesus

Let’s do a word search on “suffering.” In the Resource Library tap on “Lookup.”

Type suffering in the Search Bar and survey the results that will auto-populate. There are ninety references to suffering in the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

Instead of surveying each of those references, let’s look for an article on suffering instead. Scroll until you see the “Articles” heading and tap on Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

Two separate articles are shown for the word suffering: persecution and tribulation. Tap on tribulation.

Now you can read all about tribulation and the following article on the great tribulation. There are several references to the tribulation in Revelation (Rev. 2:22; 7:14; cf. 6-19). The article doesn’t list verse 9, but it does give us a general reference to what John refers to. He was fellow companion in the suffering being experienced by all the other brothers at that time.

On Patmos

Another interesting feature of this opening verse to John’s vision is that he actually gives his location. He is “on the island of Patmos.” Since this is not as well-known as other places in the NT, this is where the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible comes in handy. We can search for Patmos just like we searched for tribulation.

If you tap on the first reference, you’ll see a picture of Patmos. Tap on the picture to see it open in the entire window. Doesn’t look like a very luxurious place! I can see why John referred to his time there as suffering for Jesus!

Or we can go back to the Resource Guide and scroll down to the Maps section. Here, we’ll find the maps available in our Library. John identifies the recipients of his letter by name. Let’s tap on the map that will show the location of Patmos and the seven churches in Revelation. Here we see the location of Patmos in relation to the churches that would receive this letter.

The Seven Churches

There is a great article in the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible on the seven churches in Revelation. Each of the seven cities where the churches are located are described in great historical detail. A remarkable photo of a stunning open-air amphitheater is included in the section on Pergamum.

Add the Zondervan Illustrated Collection to Your Library

These three resources give you and the depth and breadth you are looking for in your Bible study. We only scratched the surface with this brief “how-to,” so pick up the collection today and start discovering more of the biblical world!

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