Showing posts with label Thompson Chain Reference Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thompson Chain Reference Bible. Show all posts

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



November 7, 2013

Thompson Chain Reference Bible

Bible lovers who study scripture and notice the sounds and nuances of words usually want The Word in a word-for-word translation with a rich vocabulary and musicality, making the King James Version (KJV) a traditional favorite even for readers who didn’t grow up with the KJV.

To test this supposition, I read aloud the same passage in several translations, ranging from thought-for-thought to contemporary versions to paraphrases, to see which one a poetry-minded, book-loving teenager would like best. Sure enough, the KJV won over all.

That teen had neither read nor heard the KJV, but Christians who know memorable, quotable verses almost always want their own copy of KJV to read, study, and compare with newer versions. Therefore, Bible publishers continue to release new editions occasionally, giving readers a wealth of choices.

Since I still have my reader edition of KJV from childhood days in Sunday School, I wanted a copy in a good quality leather but with no footnotes expressing theological views I don’t necessarily share. I considered a wide-margin edition with a concordance but wanted additional features, preferably in keeping with this word-for-word translation of The Word. The logical choice, then, became a Thompson Chain Reference Bible with its unique focus on A Word or phrase, starting with its first occurrence and ending with its last, thereby linking a chain of thought throughout the Bible.

A chain reference edition also works wonderfully well for those of us who like to study scripture by topic instead of by book. For example, writers or teachers who develop study materials or handouts for study groups can address a timely topic from a biblical perspective by picking a topic such as “Marriage,” looking up the word in the alphabetized index in the back of a Thompson, then going to the number beside the topic (in this case, “1620”) where you’ll find a list of Bible verses having to do with marriage. When you look up the first scripture listed, the next reference will be shown in the margin beside that verse.

Other Unique Features: The Thompson is not just a topical treasure, however. If you prefer studying by books or even by Bible people, this edition helps you do that too! Following the extensive but “Condensed Cyclopedia of Topics and Texts” previously mentioned, for example, you’ll find outlines and analyses of each book of the Bible, and after that character studies.

If, though, you want to study or write about biblical prophecies, you’ll find “Prophecies Concerning Jesus and Their Fulfillment” arranged chronologically. Events taking place and travels of key Bible people have been mapped out for you too. And, to better understand the times, just keep on reading and you’ll locate the lengthy “Archeological Supplement,” covering everything from “Absalom’s Pillar” in the Kidron Valley to “Zorah,” the home of Samson, 15 miles from Jerusalem.

A Hebrew calendar comes next with “An Abbreviated Glossary of Old English, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Words from the King James (Authorized) Version of the Bible with Present-Day Meanings” – an immensely helpful section, reminding readers that “Betwixt” is between and “Twain” is two. In addition to these study aids, the Thompson ends with a concordance and series of maps.

Quality Cover: As this Bible will surely be used for years, a quality cover in genuine leather sounds like a smart choice, and I found a good price in a large print edition, which I ordered, as shown below. (Incidentally, the “large” print is not too large or overbearing but easy to read.) Also, even the nicest cover won’t hold up to heavy use with glued-in pages, but the Thompson manages to include everything a serious student or Bible lover will love in a easily manageable size, so this edition comes with Smyth-Sewn pages, made and assembled in the U.S.A. as it’s most likely been done for over 5 generations.

©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler

Thompson Chain Reference Bible, KJV, large print, genuine leather



Thompson Chain Reference Bible, KJV, large print, genuine leather, index tabs


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