August 7, 2014

Thompson Chain Reference Bible update


If you’ve read my earlier review of the Thompson Chain Reference Bible published by Kirkbride, you know it’s not only one of my favorites, but it’s been a highly favored edition of Bible readers, students, and scholars for more than five generations! Why? The unique chain reference system takes your topical search from its first entry in the Bible to the last, giving you a full biblical view of the subject you want to investigate.

Instead of offering footnotes and commentary throughout the text as most study Bibles do, the chain reference system lets the Bible speak for itself with each new passage shedding light on prior verses and those yet to come. Nevertheless, the back matter of this edition includes such helpful resources as outline studies of each book, character studies of Bible people, a thorough concordance, maps, and an “Archaeological Supplement “from 4320 – Abel-Beth-Maachah to 4450 – Zoan.

Those numbers can seem intimidating at first, but the “Alphabetical Index” breaks the code. Say, for instance, you want to look up Bible prayers as I often do for my blog by that name. To find the first link in the chain, you would go to “Prayer” in the alphabetical list and see 2816 as the place to start a search of general references, beginning with Genesis. Also, under the main heading, you’ll find subheadings such as “Intercessory” to lead you to a particular aspect of prayer.

These features occur in every Thompson Chain Reference Bible in your choice of several translations, all of which I have. However, this last edition in the New King James Version (NKJV) came to me as a free review copy kindly sent to me by Kirkbride in a nice quality bonded leather. Lord willing, I’ll provide an Amazon link below to the exact copy I’m looking at along with my highest recommendation.

Comparing this edition to the one published earlier and previously discussed, I find the text easier to read because of extra white space allotted in the layout. Also, the addition of subheadings in each chapter helps me to locate a passage more readily, especially when I know the book but am not sure of the chapter or verse.

Other updates in the Thompson NKJV include clearer photographs in the “Archaeological Supplement” – perhaps, not with as many pictures, but with the addition of new information or revisions of the text. For example, when Rev. Dennis W. Cheek revised “G. Frederick Owen’s Archaeological Supplement,” he began by defining archaeology and adding a word about its value in biblical research – an important word as people occasionally have strong views on this topic without adequate knowledge. As Rev. Cheek explains, however:

“Archaeology is a human science that attempts to uncover and interpret remnants from the past in order to gain insights into historical cultures and peoples. These remains, or archaeological artifacts, include buildings, city walls, pottery, metal objects, and records written on stone, clay, paper, and other materials.// For the Christian, archaeological discoveries in the ancient Near East make two main valuable contributions. They illuminate everyday life in biblical times, and they provide extrabiblical information that helps the modern Christian better understand the Bible.”

If better understanding of biblical topics is your goal, too, this encyclopedic edition will help you to dig into far more than archaeology and, for me anyway, provide a real “find.”


© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a traditionally published author of 26 books in all genres, including two poetry books: the Bible-basedOutside Eden and the environmentally-oriented Living in the Nature Poem.


Thompson Chain Reference Bible, NKJV, bonded leather



Thompson Chain Reference Bible, NKJV, regular size, genuine leather



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