Tag: Thompson Chain

Thompson Chain Reference Bible by Zondervan

Thompson Chain Reference Bible by Zondervan

 

 

Thompson Chain Photos

 

Before we even begin the review I want to share that I have a very special connection to the Thompson Chain Reference Bible and I want to disclose that it is one of my most highly recommended tools for Bible teachers. In October of  1996, I taught my fist Bible lesson from my grandfather’s Thompson Chain Reference Bible. Nearly 25 years later, it is one of two Study Bibles that I recommend, almost to the point of insistence.

 

This will be a simultaneous review of three of the four TCR currently offered by Zondervan. Zondervan Publishers sent me KJV and NASB Editions and Bible Gateway sent me the New King James Version. Note: All three Bibles were sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review (even though I am definitely going to give a positive review) simply an honest one.

Translations offered:

Currently, Zondervan publishes the Thompson in the NKJV, NASB, KJV, and ESV. The NIV will follow very shortly.

NKJV-  New King James Version is far and away my most used translation. It Is very literal, much like its predecessor though it is, oddly not as popular.

New American Standard Bible- Considered to be the most literal English Translation currently available, The NASB is the heir of the most literal English translation that has been made, The American Standard Version.

King James Version- The definitive English Bible, the standard for more than 400 years. The Thompson Chain has been continually offered in the KJV for over 100  years.

 

What makes the TCR unique?

Complete alphabetical and numerical indices listing all 8,000 topics with corresponding pilot numbers and Bible references for comprehensive topical study. It happens that this is the feature which causes me to say that the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is one of the only two Bibles you will ever need.

If a pastor were to take one topical chain per week, it would take just under 154 years to preach all 8000 topics. You would quite literally die before you ran out of things to preach, Were you to preach one topical sermon every Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening, and Wednesday Evening Worship Service, there is 51 years worth of material.

 

Bible study aids:  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.

If you thought the Topical Chains were impressive, these additional helps essentially put a seminary grade library in you backpack.

I will just address one of these, the analysis of each book of the Bible. These are presented in an Expository Outline Format.  Each outline presents the minimum necessary to understand each book.

Key Verses and Key Thoughts provide basic information readers can use to develop their own study

Paper, layout and font

The font comes in at 8.5 which is a little smallish for me. The paper is crisp white but there is not a lot of glare, even in the unforgiving Arizona sunlight. The red-letter section is much better than in older editions. Unlike earlier editions, where the red letters were rather pinkish, the red letters here are a deep rich cranberry.

The text is laid out in  a quad column format. Scripture texts are in the center two columns and the reference chains are in the outer columns.

Cover and Binding

I am reviewing the jacketed hardcover but the TCR is also available in a a very nice imitation leather and a bonded leather. I a told that when the Comfort Print Editions release next year, there will genuine leather options and a Premier Collection Edition,

Thompson and Key Word Bible, Perfect Together

The Thompson Chain Reference Bible pairs perfectly with the Keyword Study Bible. Most of the world’s pastors have no seminary training and so these two work together as the perfect study library for a pastor. I wish it were possible to merge the two into one physical book but that massive tome would be too much to try to carry. I have said that there are only two study bibles that you really need and these are it.

 

For Every Day Carry

The Thompson is a fairly standard size Bible. It is fairly easy to use for every day carry. In my case, it stays on my desk with my =magnifier. In most cases, though, you will not have any issues using it for daily carry.

For preaching and teaching

The TCR is not designed for pulpit use. However, it is ideally suited, more so than any other, to lesson prep. As I mentioned earlier, the Thompson chain is absolutely the perfect choice of lesson preparation.

What about the NIV Thomason Chain?

Fear not, the NIV Thompson Chain will return in the Comfort Print Edition. I believe that the new edition will be the 2011 NIV despite the fact that Kirkbride only published the NIV TCR in either the 1978 or 1984 NIV.

From what various sources tell me, the NIV will remain in paragraph format as per Biblica’s requirements. I am also told that, at the very least, the NIV will be the Premier Collection Offering for the Thompson Chain

Do I recommend it?

I sure do! For nearly 25 years, the Thompson has been on my desk and has been a primary choice for lesson preparation. Like I said, there is between 41-134 year’s worth of preaching material

 

 

CBP Large Print Thompson Chain Bible Review

CBP Large Print Thompson Chain Bible Review

 

 

Thompson Chain Reference Bible (TCR). It is one of the top two pure study Bibles that you can buy today. When I say it is a pure study Bible, I mean that it is free of any commentary and comes as close to not having any denominational bias as is possible, which is an amazing feat because Fran Thompson was a Methodist Minister.  The TCR has been around for a little over an hundred years and my family has trusted TCR for almost 60 of those years. My grandfather studied and taught from a TCR and, even though it is not my primary preaching Bible, I also study from the TCR; nearly every pastor that I know references it as well. We will talk about why TCR is preferable in a minute. Since we are doing our first review of a Bible from Church Bible Publishers, I want to give you some background and then we will talk about the features of the Bible. (Note: CBP did not provide this Bible and they did not solicit this review.)

Based in Cadillac, Michigan, Church Bible Publishers (CBP) is a true not for profit Bible publisher. CBP sells their Bibles at cost to make it more readily available to average Christians. In addition to making high quality, low cost Bibles available, CBP also provides Bibles for jail/prison ministry and they also support World Missions/Bearing Precious Seed to provide Bibles overseas. I would liken CBP to my dear friends at the Trinitarian Bible Society and I would love to see them cooperate since they have the same stated goals and both publish some amazing editions of the KJV Bible.

Now the review…

 

Translation Choice

CBP only publishes the King James Version of the Bible. Because they use the Cambridge Text Block and not the Oxford, they can rightfully say that they publish the Authorised Version (I used the Anglican spelling on purpose as Cambridge is Her Majesty’s publisher and holds letters patent to print the KJV.) I will say two things about the choice to only print KJV and I am sure that I will anger some of you in so saying: 1. I am not a King James Onlyist which means I do read other translations. 2. I am grateful that CBP has chosen to only publish the KJV. If you are scratching your head right now, those are not contradictory statements. I love the KJV and read from it often but I also read other translations. More importantly, when you focus on a single translation, you can focus more on putting a quality, enjoyable product into the hands of your customers. I say, regularly, that the entire Bible experience should be a joy and that includes the choice of translation and publisher.

Cover Material

The Large Print TCR that I was able to acquire is bound in black ironed calfskin. “Ironed” means that the grain has been pressed out and that it is very smooth. To give you an example of how smooth, I told a friend it is like touching your face after a professional hot lather shave. It is luxuriously soft and nearly as touchable as velvet or silk. I love the way the leather feels and smells. There is nothing quite like a nice leather and CBP has found excellent stock.

Binding

All CBP Bibles have a sewn binding; this fact is so important that I endeavor to not purchase any Bibles that have a glued binding. By using a sewn binding you guarantee some very important things will happen. You guarantee that the Bible will last a lifetime (my grandfather’s Thompson lasted him 40 years and 17 years later it is still going strong for me. You also guarantee that the book itself will open and lay flat regardless of where you open the Bible.

Paper and Ink

The paper is a crisp white and gloriously opaque. I am not sure how CBP does it, but it looks as though they have a darker ink that is much easier on the eyes. Even in the severe Arizona sun, I had no issues reading my TCR.

Price-point

The large print TCR is listed as $85.00 USD on the CBP website. This is important because it is nearly $30 lower in cost than the top tier offering from Kirkbride, the normal publisher of the TCR and Kirkbride does not even offer calfskin.

Warranty

Not finding any warranty information on the website or in the Bible itself, I called CBP to ask about the warranty. It was explained to me that they handle each warranty claim on a case by case basis to ensure that each customer has the best overall experience possible.

TCR Edition and Features

CBP is printing the 5th Improved Edition of the Thompson Chain. Each TCR includes the following features:

* Over 100,000 topical references * Over 8,000 Chain Topics * Updated Archaeological Supplement with photos and maps * Outline studies of each book of the Bible * Journey maps and Bible harmonies * Biblical Atlas * Bible Book Outlines

Detailed Features of a TCR (From my review of the NASB hardcover)

  1. Every Thompson Chain Bible has over 8,000 completed chain topics. These topics take every important verse of scripture and codify it into topics that can be traced from Genesis to Revelation. Operating under the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture, these chains take you through each topic in such a way as to allow the Bible to illuminate itself and guide you into deeper understanding of the Bible.
  2. Outline Study/Analysis of each Book. In the Helps Section, found in the back of the Bible, every book of the Bible is presented in outline form. Each outline serves as an excellent guide to expository study of the Bible.
  3. Updated Archaeological Supplement. The Archaeological Supplement brings the Bible to life in a new and exciting way. Each article is keyed to the Thompson Chain Reference System allowing you to see how recent discoveries support and affirm the truths of the Bible.
  4. Character Outline Studies. Character studies not only highlight the major players of the Bible, they also provide background information as to the condition of the society at their time, and how the character relates to God and to redemptive history.
  5. Harmony of the Gospels. The Harmony of the Gospels Supplement is as straightforward as it is useful. Each story from the life of Christ is listed along with the corresponding passages from the Gospels. This is an excellent resource for an in-depth study of the life of Christ.
  6. Portraits of Christ.  Portraits of Christ provide 7 different views of the Lord’scharacter as seen by Isaiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Revelation.
  7. Bible Atlas (13 maps). Many of the maps in the Bible Atlas are keyed to the Thompson Chain. You not only get to picture the lands of the Bible, you can also easily trace the journey of many of the key players.

 

 

Product Specifics

Weight 3.60 lbs
Dimensions 10.75 x 8 x 1.5 in
Products Bibles
Size Large Size
Cover Type Ironed Calfskin
Cover Styles 1 Piece
Cover Colors Black
Features Concordance, Large Print, Maps with Index, Red Letter, Self-pronouncing text, Study Bible
Font Size Bible Text – 9 pt, Center Reference – 6-7 pt
Margin Size Bottom – 0.25″, Inside – 0.5″, Outside – 0.625″, Top – 0.5″
Thumb Indexed No
Add Gift Box No

Final Thoughts and should you buy this Bible?

How could I not recommend that you buy this Bible? The TCR is one of the best study Bibles that you can buy and, unless Cambridge, Allan, or Schuyler release one in goatskin, this is the best TCR you can get. TCR is also available from CBP in a “midsize” which we would normally call the standard size TCR, no doubt in the same high quality leather. If you want the best study tool you can have and you want it in a format that will last a lifetime, this is the TCR that you want.