Seeking God in Scripture with the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

Thompson Chain-Reference Bible 2021

I was extremely enthusiastic when I was contacted through Bible Gateway as a Blogger Grid member to review one of the newly re-released editions of the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible. Both the solid history of this study Bible and my own memories of using the NIV version as a new believer made me want to jump at the opportunity. So I did!

The fact that I have not found a Bible with study notes recently that I have been ready to settle down with, was a contributing factor to my curiousty. The reality is there are many good options available with study Bibles in a variety of formats. But I have been on the hunt for quite sometime now looking for a Bible that is not too GIANT, which still allows for some study in a reasonable font. This has not been so easy! Obviously more study notes equals, more space, which means HEFT. My ideal Bible for regular study, is one that allows me to to travel from the kitchen, to the patio, or coffee shop (hooray and praise God- that is an option again!) without being too bulky. Simultaneously, I need a decent sized font for both the scripture and the study notes. Phew…meanwhile I can’t tell you how often I do use the available features from Bible Gateway online resource.

Years ago, I had a personal sized NIV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible. I loved it and especially appreciated the way the “chains” linked scripture and helped me make many important correlations between old and new testament as I studies and grew in my faith. One day as I stood having coffee after church service at the church I attended at that time, a “newer than me” New Believer was asking about the Bible I used and looked at it with such admiration, I felt led to give it to him and did so, with my blessing! I can still recall him carrying it and thanking me every time he saw me over the years. That Bible really made it’s mark. Who knows where it ended up next. I can only imagine it continued to bless and maybe sits, weathered and worn awaiting its next owner, even today!

The Details:

Let’s talk features of the Bible I am reviewing ( English Standard Version (ESV) Thompson Chain-Reference Bible ) for those who want these details and want to connect the dots. I have included the full list of features as presented through the publisher: Zondervan. At 6.88 x 1.75 x 9.5 inches and 2176 pages, this is not a small Bible. But the font-size, paper, and overall feel are actually, quite comfortable.

If you are unfamiliar about the history of this Bible and method of study, I highly recommend this article at BibleGateway which gives a great background history and how it all came to be: The Thompson® Chain-Reference® Bible: Where It Came From, How to Use It, and Where It’s Going

I was extremely happy to find that of the newly re-released Bibles, the ESV was included- as that is the version our Pastor uses. The following versions are all available:  King James Version (KJV) in three sizes and multiple bindings, the New King James Version (NKJV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and the English Standard Version (ESV).

Features of the English Standard Version (ESV) Thompson Chain-Reference Bible:

  • Full text of the English Standard Version (ESV)
  • Easy to understand Chain-Reference System with over 100,000 references in the margins
  • References cover over 8,000 topics, each with its own pilot number for exhaustive topical study
  • Complete alphabetical and numerical indices listing all 8,000 topics with corresponding pilot numbers and Bible references for comprehensive topical study 
  • Bible study aids such as biographical sketches of the most prominent people in the Bible, an archeological supplement, glossary, concordance, Bible harmonies, and outlines of each book of the Bible
  • Key Verses and Key Thoughts provide basic information you can use to develop your own study
  • Verse Analysis shows the topics and themes of every verse and provides easy reference to other verses with the same topics or themes
  • 16-page full-color map section
  • Words of Christ in red
  • Satin ribbon marker
  • Presentation page for gift-giving
  • 8.3-point type size

The study method itself is one I truly appreciate, again, having used it before, I have only positive things to say about this tried and true way of connecting with scripture. You can use this organized system of study to focus on: a theme or book, a specific chapter, a passage or verse, or focus on characters and life studies.

How It Works:

I’ve included the example from Bible Gateway’s You Tube channel for a quick sample of how this Chain-Reference works. It may appear a bit complicated by initial appearance, but honestly, you can start by just choosing a word study and jumping right in. Additionally, within the back pages you will find a plethora of excellent information, such as Aids To Memorization, Bible Marking tips, and wonderful sketches of biblical places of worship and helpful images clearly showing the layout and some of the important aspects of the Temple, and other archaelogical artifacts.

If there is a specific question you’d like me to answer, let me know in the comments. I’m hoping to utilize this Bible for my personal study time, so let me know if you want a future update!

Thanks to Jonathan and the Bible Gateway Team for making this Bible available for review.

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is a life enthusiast who loves to juggle words, chug coffee, and journal excessively. You can find her gathering stones on the beach most mornings. She enjoys hanging out with her hubby, daughter and family pets in Narragansett, RI and shares her passion, poetry and prose @Enthusiastically, Dawn.

One thought on “Seeking God in Scripture with the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

  1. Great review, Dawn! This is my go-to study Bible of choice and has been for several years. It is as marked up, highlighted, underlined, etc. as any of my planners or journals. It is a great study tool.

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