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  • John Lenschow

The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible


As a Bible Gateway Blogger Grid member, I received a complimentary copy of The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible (ESV) in exchange for an honest review.


I first encountered The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible when I was a Bible major in college. I immediately saw its value for various forms of in-depth Bible study and devotional reading.

The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible has a rich history dating back to the scholarly and pastoral work of Dr. Frank Charles Thompson in 1890. Several people in his congregation observed the notes he placed in the margins of his own Bible. They desired to use these notes in their own Bible study. The first edition of the Chain-Reference Bible was published in 1908. Initially, the King James Version was the English text used. Other English texts are now available through Zondervan Publishing, including the ESV, an "essentially literal" translation emphasizing a “word-for-word correspondence.


The strength of the ESV translation, combine with the features of The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible(including 8,000 topical listings and 100,000 marginal references), make this an ideal study Bible.

Essential features of The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible:

1. Margins (within the text of Scripture)

· The Topical Number-Each topic has a distinct number found in the margins to the left of the topic.

· Chain Verses-key verses associated with a specific topic

· The Forward Reference-The Scripture reference listed to the right of the topic leading to the next verse in the chain.

· Parallel Passages-found in the margin with the indication “p.p.”

· A Number in Parenthesis-to the right of the topic indicating a subdivision of the topic.


2. Indexes (following the book of Revelation)

· The Alphabetical Index-When the topical number is unknown, readers can use the alphabetical index, then the number index.

· The Number Index-This allows readers to discover all the Scripture references of a topic, including the first chain verse.


3. Other Biblical Helps (following the Indexes)

· Outline Studies of the Bible

· Character Studies-of prominent people in the Bible

· Bible Harmonies and Illustrated Studies

· Archeological Supplement

· An Abridged Concordance to the ESV


All these features are listed and explained in the introduction.


I highly recommend The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible for all readers and students of God’s Word. This Bible enables readers to trace the development of various biblical and theological topics as they progress throughout the entirety of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. The chain-reference system and numerous additional helps make this a great study Bible and a valuable resource for every Believer. You can order it here. #BibleGatewayPartner

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