LCBP Thompson Chain Reference Bible – Review

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Local Church Bible Publishers has released the 5th edition, red-letter Thompson Chain Reference KJV Bible in a nice one piece black calfskin. Labeled the 365 Series, it includes everything you expect from a LCBP binding.

Pros

  • Thomson Chain Reference
  • Calfskin cover
  • Sewn binding
  • 2 ribbons

Cons

  • Any color you want, as long as it’s black
  • No thumb-index

Features

  • KJV
  • Calfskin leather
  • Leather liner
  • Parameter stitched
  • Edge lined
  • Smyth sewn
  • Raised hubs
  • 8-point font
  • Red-letter
  • Topical based
  • 100,000 chain references
  • Topical index
  • Topical helps
  • Archaeological supplement
  • Concordance
  • 2 ribbons
  • Gilted edges
  • 14 Maps
  • 9.75 x 6.75 x 1.5

Where to buy: LCBP Thompson Chain Reference Bible

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Cover

The cover is what sets this Thompson apart. There have been Thompsons in the past that were bound in premium leathers such as calfskin and goatskin. Those editions are no longer available, and when you do find them they are priced to show their value. I recently saw one for $140, and that’s the cheapest I’ve seen. The Church Publishers edition stands out from that crowd by offering a flexible calfskin leather, leather liner, perimeter stitching, edge lined, and raised hubs for $60.

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The cover is so flexible that it’s crazy. If I had one complaint it would be that it’s shinier than they used to be. Although this is a nice cover, I like the older cover on my original Note Taker’s better. It had a matte finish with a slightly more pronounced grain. This one, as well as my new Note Taker’s, doesn’t look as elegant. If I had never seen the covers from a few years ago I wouldn’t think anything about it. This cover is still nice and flexible, and unbeatable at this price.

Binding

Like every good Thompson Chain Bible, the binding is Smyth sewn. It has no problem lying flat. This is even true for Genesis 1, close to the area where the cover is edge-lined and the pages are glued together.

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Paper

The paper feels like the paper in the 400th Anniversary edition. This is the kind of paper I was hoping for. This is my favorite paper in any Church Publisher’s edition and any Thompson that I’ve seen. This paper is white, which makes the font look darker even though it’s the same boldness as my other Thompsons. I prefer paper that has a cream tint, but the cream-tinted paper also has to have a bolder text to be readable. The whiter paper works better for the Thompson in my opinion because it gives more contrast and allows for a smaller and thinner font. I would like the paper to be a little more opaque.

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There are two pages in the back that are labeled ‘NOTES’. My older Thompson had 18 pages. I wanted my 18 pages. The paper for this one is thick whereas the paper in my old one was thin. I don’t mind which it is, but the more paper for notes the better.

Print

The font is 8-point. This is a red-letter edition which includes the words of Christ through Revelation. The boldness is very consistent throughout. This is a self-pronouncing text, so there are pronunciation marks on difficult words. Some of the words that have the marks don’t really need them – like Jesus, Holy, Israel, and David. This was probably more necessary 100 years ago. There are not a lot of them, so the text remains clear and readable. There are no reference or note indicators in the text, keeping the text clean. Added words are in italics.

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Layout

The Thompson Chain Reference has one of the more interesting layouts of any study Bible that I’ve used. It has a list of topics for each verse in the margin, yet still keeps the text clean and without any distractions. All of this is done without commentary- allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. The page has four columns – two center columns for Scripture and two outer columns for chain references. The center columns have Scripture in verse format and chapter summaries. The columns on the outsides have the topic names and chain references, translation notes, alternate readings from the Hebrew and Greek, alternate translations from the Revised Version, dates, parallel passages, and bold section headings (in the New Testament), author name, and topic number for the analysis of the book. The only thing tying the references to the verses is the topic names. This keeps the text clear and readable. The top of the page includes the first (left page) or last (right page) chapter and verse number on that page and a page summary. Although the page layout looks technical it is easy to use and follow, and just as easy to ignore and just read the text.

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References

The Thompson Chain Reference system is the most unique in any Bible. Rather than having letters and numbers that key to the text, there are topic names in the margin with a reference to the next verse in that topical chain. The topics are numbered, so you can look these numbers up in the topical section in the back and see all the verses on that topic. Many of the verses are printed there, so you can read from that section. The references are not distracting at all and they’re easy to find and follow. My only complaint is that the last verse in a chain doesn’t take you back to the first verse in the chain. There are 100,000 chain references, making the Thompson Chain Reference Bible one of the most helpful tools for topical study.

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General Index

This is a 30-page index of topics. It gives the topic name and number. It even breaks the topics down into sub-topics. This is the first place to go for any topical study. Go to the index, find the topic you’re looking for, and then go to the topic number in the condensed cyclopedia to see the list of verses in that topic. I highly recommend using this index to find your topics.

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Condensed Cyclopedia

This is where the topics come together. The condensed cyclopedia is 224 pages and includes the reference list for every topic, whether it’s in the marginal chains or not. This is the primary section for topical study. The more important topics have the verses printed so you can read from this section. Other topics give you all of the references so you can go to the references to read them. Once you find the topic number in the general index, turn to this section and find the topic number to see all of the references for the topic and its subtopics.

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This section can be used for personal study, daily devotions, for finding interesting topics, and sermon and class prep. It is one of the most useful sections in the Thompson Chain Reference Bible.

Analysis of Books

This 44-page section is an in-depth analysis of each book of the Bible. Each book is different, so each analysis is designed for that book rather than following a common formula that doesn’t work for every book. Most have information that includes an outline, the author, theme, key characters, keywords, and key verse. Other information might include historical setting, spiritual message, style of writing, etc.

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Character Studies

The character studies have several different sections. The first section is 8 pages and includes biographical sketches of the prominent characters of the Bible. The next section is 3 pages and classifies prominent characters with the meaning of their names.

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Illustrated Studies

The illustrated studies are 46 pages of ‘life trees’, maps, charts, and outlines of prominent people and their journeys in the Bible. Characters include Abraham, Moses, the children of Israel, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and others in the early Church. There is a lot of historical information in this section. The maps are black and white but they are well-drawn and include lots of detailed information about journeys and events. They look like they might be hard to follow because there’s so much information, but they’re not hard to use at all. This section also includes a harmony of the Gospels.

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Archaeological Supplement

The archaeological supplement, by Frederick Owen, is 81 pages and includes lots of information about well-established places in the Bible. There are lots of pictures of places and objects, including the Rosetta Stone, the Potter’s Field, Assyrian artifacts, Egyptian artifacts, the Temple of Apollo at Corinth, Qumran, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Moabite Stone, Elba, Babylonian artifacts, Jacobs Well, the pyramids, Petra, the coffin of King Tut, and much, much more. There is also a bibliography so you can do more research. This section is amazing and fun to read. I like getting a deeper understanding of the Biblical setting. Although it hasn’t been updated for a while, most of the information still seems to be good. I think most of it is well-established. I’d like to compare this section to the information in the Archaeological Study Bible to see if anything has been changed.

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Glossary

The glossary is 8 pages of archaic words that are no longer in use or have changed meaning. The definitions include part of speech and Scripture references where the word is used. There are also topic numbers so you can look the words up in the topical section.

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Concordance

The concordance is 98 pages and has three columns per page. This is one of the most extensive concordances that I’ve seen in a Bible. There are 91 references for ‘God’. If you use a concordance a lot you’ll probably like this one.

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Maps

There are 16 pages of maps. The maps are colorful and the paper is thick with a matte finish. One of my favorite features with maps is here: an index to maps. The index is separated into 6 divisions: Archaeological Sites, Biblical Names, Cultural Features, Points of Interest, Land Features, and Water Features.

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Helps

This is just scratching the surface on the helps in this Bible. Other helps include study tips, Bible translations, Messianic stars, prophecies about Jesus and their fulfillment, outlines of the Old and New Testaments, harmony of the Gospels, missionary journeys, golden chapters, topical treasury, Christian workers outfit, memory verses with memory aids, marking tips, places for religious worship, a Hebrew calendar, and more. There’s a lot here to keep you busy studying the Bible for a long time.

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Ribbons

There are two standard Church Publishers’ ribbons. I love the idea of having a Thompson with two ribbons. I do wish they were thicker and maybe a touch longer, but they do work just fine. Thicker ribbons are more elegant, but they are also more expensive. I would have paid more for better ribbons.

How I will Use the LCBP Thompson Chain Reference Bible

For a while I’ve wanted to try a different marking technique with a Thompson. My original technique is to color a verse according to its topic. I love topical study, but I don’t always like reading a verse that I’ve colored. So, I’ve been considering highlighting the topic name and reference in the margin. This would allow me to see a specific topic quickly and still have a clean text for reading. I might color-code all of the references first, and then I can color the verses if I really feel the need to. I really think that coloring the topics will be enough.

I will also consider using this as my primary carry Bible. I really like having a good reference system and a good concordance in my carry Bible. I don’t need a lot of room for notes, but I do like to write a few references and definitions here and there. I don’t really need my carry Bible to be hand-size, so the size of this Bible is fine. I don’t need a larger text as long as the font is bold enough and the paper isn’t too thin. Another Bible that I like for carry is the Cambridge Concord. There’s a lot to like in that Bible for its size. I really like having topical lists and being able to find topics quickly, so the Thompson might win. We’ll see. I’ll let you know when I write my upcoming post on carry Bibles.

Conclusion

If you want to buy a regular size KJV Thompson Chain Reference, then buying this one from Local Church Bible Publishers is a no-brainer. Calfskin leather for the price of bonded leather, leather lined, perimeter stitched, Smyth sewn binding, 2 ribbons, a standard Kirkbride text-block with nice paper, and a price of $60. If you’re looking for a study Bible that’s not filled with someone else’s opinions then the Thompson is one of the top choices; and for a KJV Thompson, the Thompson Chain Reference Bible from Local Church Bible Publishers is THE top choice!

Where to buy: LCBP Thompson Chain Reference Bible

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.

30 Comments

    • Butch Holladay

      Whoops meant to reply..Yes this is a very nice bible…Not as big as I would like…It is the size of the Handsize Thompson KJV…but this one is pretty soft…and managable in the hands…

  1. Robert Nacci

    Randy, how much larger is it compared to the 400th Anniversary Edition? Think you could do a size comparison? Thanks!

    Reply
  2. norm

    NICE REVIEW BUT, CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK.

    Reply
  3. Don Denison

    Dear Friends:

    THIS BIBLE IS NO LONGER OUT OF STOCK! Just this morning the OUT OF STOCK notice was removed from the listing. I called and spoke to a very nice lady at LCBP who confirmed that it was just this morning put back on sale. If any of you all want one of these Bibles, it would be prudent to order right away! I recall that Randy had just got his review posted a few days before the last lot sold out. The Thompson Chain Reference is a popular Bible, so if anyone is planning to order they should do it as soon as it is possible.

    I failed to ask when the large print version will be ready, perhaps this is the large print edition, I will just be glad to have it for study. The 365 Thompson is large enough in any case that it probably requires a table rather than a recliner for proper handling. I’ll post when my order arrives as to whether or not it is large print. My guess is that it is the mid-size but it really doesn’t matter to me, the mid size is on the cusp of being to large for general carry or reading in an easy chair, I might need a table for proper handling. I’ll just have to wait and see.

    By the way, LCBP is a ministry that produces first quality Bibles at COST for those of us who are in straightened circumstances, if you can, you should click on the Love Offering icon for at least $5.00, we want this publisher to continue providing products at low price for those who can’t afford a top quality Bible otherwise.

    God Bless LCBP!

    Sincerely Yours

    Don Denison

    Reply
  4. Don Denison

    Dear Friends:

    My LCBP shipment of the Thompson Cahin Reference arrived today. It will probably take a few weeks to become accustomed to using the many references and helpful sections. The materials, printing, and binding, are top notch. I purchased this Bible, and the TBS Westminister Reference Bible based on Randy’s reviews. I am happy with both, and will surely use them in my study of God’s Word. One can’t go wrong with the Thompson’s or the Westminister, only use will determine what is best for each person.

    Don Denison

    Reply
    • Randy Brown

      Hi Don. I’m glad you like them. Thanks for letting me know. These are two of my favorite Bibles available.

      Randy

  5. Jacque

    I am thankful to find a Thompson Chain on here for such a reasonable price. I just hope to have one purchased when I get paid. Is the Mid size good for carry? Is there a Small in the Thompson Chain?

    Reply
    • Don Denison

      Dear Jacque:

      The answer for is it good to carry is hard to answer. If you are looking for something that can easily put in a pocket or a bag this is not the Bible for that. Large Bibles are easily damaged rumbling around in a bag or pocket even if they fit inside. This Bible would work quite well for hand carry if you are going to church. I’ve been using mine just trying to become familiar with the many features contained in the Bible. I’ve found that it can be used seated in an easy chair but not for long and not easily. Supporting the Bible with one hand becomes fatiguing after more than a few minutes. For me it works best supported by a table or desk so that fatigue and concern for damaging the bottom of the pages and cover becomes distracting. The type needed for a smaller size would have to be in a font of 6 or smaller to get all that information inside the covers. That is OK if you have young or perfectly corrected vision, but it brings up the possibility for eye strain. I believe the font size for the LCBP Thompson is 8,a good compromise resulting in a Bible that can be used for a few minutes seated in an easy chair held in your hands. The old saying “There is no free lunch” is perfect for describing the size of type vs the size of the Bible situation. I have found there is no one Bible suitable for all uses in all situations.

      Sincerely Yours

      Don Denison

  6. Don Denison

    Dear Friends:

    I hope everyone who wanted this LCBP Thompson Chain Reference Bible purchased what they needed. I visited the site this PM, and noticed that it is sold out once again. I didn’t call to find out but my guess is that they will do another batch. I knew it would sell quickly, but not this quickly. Congratulations to LCBP for selling out both lots so easily. Either the Market is hot, or the lots were small, my guess is the item is hot, and that they could easily sell a 3d and perhaps a 4th lot pretty quickly. This Bible is a great value.

    Yours in Christ

    Don Denison

    Reply
  7. norm

    Randy,
    First of all I would like to thank you for another great review and also for one of the most thorough pictorial outlays of a bible that I have ever seen. I can only imagine how much work that goes into all the information that you’ve been kind enough to provide to others, who also happen to have an appreciation for GOD’s word, thank you!
    I was originally introduced to the Thompson Chain Reference Bible over 25 years ago by a gentleman who owned and operated a Bible Bookstore. This gentleman ended up befriending me and later he and his wife hired me to work in their Bookstore. My friend had used the Thompson Chain extensively since the 70’s and he was quite knowledgeable of the layout. I had seen him on numerous occasions walk people through the Thompson Chain’s Reference System explaining in detail each section. But, personally speaking I had always found the Thompson Chain Reference Bible a little intimidating, so at that time I just never really took to it. I believe I ended up with a NKJV Open Bible which was the first study bible I had ever purchased/owned, which I still do. Years later I think I purchased a couple of handy sized Thompsons, one in Hardback and the other in Calfskin which I also still have in my possession. About 10 years ago I purchased a regular sized Thompson Chain in King James which up until recently had served as my daily reader and in 2010 I purchased one in NIV.
    Randy, your photographic layout provides an excellent pictorial of the contents of the LCBP KJV Thompson Chain. Although, the information presented in the study helps of the KJV and NIV Thompson Chain appears to be the same in both translations, but I wonder if most people are even aware that there are differences in the graphics and illustrations. I’m not trying to create a debate, but generally speaking I really don’t care much for all of the imagery in bibles, however in my opinion the graphics in the NIV Thompson Chain are more modern in appearance. For example: In the KJV the portraits of Christ are photocopies of traditional paintings, which offers a visual illustration of various events from scripture. The NIV on the other hand uses very tasteful penciled sketches, which I actually prefer over the paintings. The drawing of the tree of Jesus’ life in the KJV is rendered more closely in appearance to an actual tree, whereas the tree in the NIV conveys a better impression of an actual chart, which I find gives a clearer presentation of the information. In short, the illustrations and graphics in the KJV are more traditional or old school in appearance, while in the NIV the presentation is more modern and in my opinion conveys the information more clearly.
    The following comments are in relation to LCBP’s first and second batches of their 2013 rebinds of the 2012 Kirkbride Thompson Chain Text blocks: After ordering one of the bibles out of the first batch I received a copy with a minor defect in the text block. There were several pages with a small hole in the book of John very close to the gutter. Although, LCBP appeared happy to exchange it they were already out of stock on the Thompson Chain from their first batch. When LCBP was restocked I returned my bible for an exchange and within 3-4 weeks my new Thompson Chain arrived. At present I haven’t noticed any issues with the new text block; however I do have what appears to be an imperfection in the Calfskin binding. The imperfection thankfully is located on the back cover and is about the size of a ½ dollar coin which could be just a natural blemish in the hide. I’m also experiencing a strong chemical type odor that I’ve never noticed with any other LCBP bible that I’ve owned, which hopefully will dissipate in time. Also, I’ve noticed that the Calfskin binding on my replacement has a “very slight” pebble grain pattern; whereas the first LCBP Thompson that I received was smoother. As usual LCBP has done an excellent job on the construction and I do appreciate their binding skills. The cover on the LCBP is very flexible and the gold gilding on the edges also appears typical of the bibles from LCBP. Personally, I would have preferred a Thompson Chain Reference covered in LCBP’s designer cowhide along with the paper that LCBP uses in their Note Takers edition. But, for the price one can’t be too picky and overall the LCBP Thompson Chain is a great value with the bonus of having such a durable binding.
    Including the new LCBP/Kirkbride Thompson chain I now own 4 different examples of Kirkbride text blocks. The paper in each edition is similar in appearance, although each one slightly different. The largest outlier of the bunch is my 1984 Handy sized edition with the 1978 NIV text, which I can no longer read comfortably. I actually prefer the look and feel of the paper in my ‘84 Thompson which is also whiter/brighter, but the pages are finer, which accounts for an increased amount of ghosting (bleed through of the print from the opposite side of the page). Randy, I agree with your assessment between the 2003 Text Block and the recent 2012 Text Block. Although, in my opinion the 2010 NIV text block I believe comes closest to the 2012, but as you said the 2012 is slightly whiter in appearance, which highlights the print. In comparison with the 2003 KJV the 2012 text block uses a heavier photo quality stock of paper for the Map section and the Map Index. This information indicates to me that Kirkbride over the past 10 years has made some effort to improve upon the look and materials of their text blocks.
    Maybe it’s because I’ve become more accustomed to the Thompson Chain, but overall I prefer the layout of the Thompson Chain Reference to the ESV Study Bible, which appears to have a similar pattern that many other study bibles have followed. Randy, I also find that the Thompson Chain Reference system is less distracting, which makes the Thompson Chain Reference more unique and user friendly. However, if possible it would be interesting to see Kirkbride make available a single column text in the Thompson Chain Reference. I believe a single column text would create a lot of renewed interest, along with an increase in sales. And whether or not it’s good business for Kirkbride to sell their text blocks to another bible bindery remains to be seen. But, if sales are a good indicator it would appear that LCBP, who is more of a ministry than a business, as Don previously indicated is already out of stock on their second batch of Thompson Chain Reference Bibles. Apparently, there is a market for reprinting/rebinding these older Study Bibles and I just hope the other bible publishers are paying close attention. I’ve also noticed that R.L. Allan has scheduled a release of an Allan printed and bound ESV Study Bible due in September. Now, if we could just convince Schuyler into doing a print run of the original NKJV Open Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers and I would also love to see an R.L. Allan NIV Thompson Chain Reference in the very near future, or vice versa.
    Norm

    Reply
    • Randy Brown

      Hi Norm. I’m glad you like the reviews. Thanks for your comments and insights. Kirkbride has mentioned interest in an ESV edition of the Thompson. I’d like to see that. Another Bible I would like to see LCBP, Schuyler, or Allan reprint is the Topical Reference Bible Complete Analytical Study Edition KJV: http://biblebuyingguide.com/topical-reference-bible-complete-analytical-study-edition-kjv-review/

      I’ve mentioned this to Allan and LCBP. Maybe I should mention it to Schuyler.

    • Don Denison

      Dear Norm:

      It was good to read your detailed comments on the Thompson Chain Reference Bibles in their different variations and printings. I have been getting acquainted with my LCBP (2nd issue LCBP) copy, and find the number of reference helps almost overwhelming, but it seems to be coming into focus after a few weeks work. One thing I don’t like about the LCBP offering is the cover, it is soft, flexible, and lovely, yet this (to me) large Bible needs something stiffer to support the text block while it is being held in hand for reading. I have been using the Cambridge Personal Concord for reading while seated in a chair, and this works very well. What happens though is that I sometimes will have a question that needs more reference than is available in the Personal Concord, and reach for the Thompson, I get the information I want, but after about 5-10 minutes find that fatigue sets in. I also worry about damaging the Bible on the bottom margins while holding it. I usually end up getting up and going to a table, or waiting for a more organized study session to answer that particular question, and just continue reading with the Personal Concord. Perhaps LCBP will consider a more substantial cover if they issue a new run. The softness of the cover is the only criticism that I have about this Bible so far. I am sure that LCBP has worked hard to provide soft, supple, attractive covers and are a bit frustrated by people like me who ask for something a little firmer.

      Sincerely Yours

      Don Denison

    • Don Denison

      Dear Norm:

      I’ve thought the on the same lines, and may buy the hardcover for better results while it is being hand held. I have though been surprised with the utility of the Personal Concord for general reading it is the true workingman’s Bible you referred to earlier. It is easy to hold, has a good supporting French Morocco cover that protects the text block, and is attractive. I find that I use the Thompson mostly on a table or desk, or to carry to church, I’m just getting familiarized with all the different reference material. The king of the lamp table next to my recliner however is that humble Personal Concord I bought on sale for $49.99 at Evangelical Bible to use until I found “a good one”, it has a surprising amount of reference material, and has print just large and clear enough for easy reading, if I use my glasses. I haven’t tried a Brevier Clarendon from Allan’s yet, it is about the same size, comes in the French Morocco I like, and has I think, a 9 point type font. I decided against the Longprimer due to its lack of Italics for supplied words. Next stop will probably be the Concord in French Morocco or split calfskin. I keep telling myself that I will find the ideal Bible for all purposes for me, perhaps there is no such thing. Best regards to you and yours.

      In Christ

      Don Denison

  8. norm

    Randy,
    An ESV Thompson Chain would make perfect sense, as they already have the KJV, NKJV, NIV and the ’77 NASB; although to me it would make more sense, at some point, if Kirkbride would release a single column edition. Based upon your photos I happen to like the look of the layout in your Analytical Topical Reference Bible and I do remember seeing literature on either the Dugan or the Jubilee back in the late 80’s. I just don’t remember it being as popular or as accessible as the Thompson. In your opinion what is it about the Dugan/Jubilee that sets it apart from the Thompson, being the Thompson is also a Topical Chain Reference with over a 100 thousand references, which are also keyed to a wealth of Study Helps? What I tend to use most are the Chain References, although I would find a Hebrew and Greek key word dictionary helpful. The problem that I have with most Study bibles such as the ESV Study Edition is that the main text tends to take a back seat to the notes, so on numerous pages what you have is mostly notes, but very little text. Whether or not the bible is a single column or double column the main text should remain consistent throughout the center of the page, while the notes and the references should remain within the margins to the left and right side of the page. But, like the ESV Study Bible many publishers have opted for what I call a split page type format such as the Companion Bible, the Ryrie, The NET, the AMG Hebrew Greek Key Bible and the list goes on. There’s a mass of information in these bibles, but in my opinion the layout doesn’t exactly make for an enjoyable reading or study experience. Although, not regarded as study bibles per se, the TBS Westminster and the Cambridge Clarion are two very good examples of a proper layout. But, I don’t think one bible will suit everyone, which is why we have so many choices, although many of the existing Study bibles in my opinion are redundant in style and some of the older ones are long overdue for a facelift. A big part of the problem for publishers might be trying to include too much information into a single volume. The amount and the type of information being provided leaves one flipping pages, comparing scripture with scripture in an attempt to gain a little more clarity. As a result, I feel as though I get lost in the amount of information and what could have been a simple message becomes more complex. I think the old adages “keep it simple” and that often times “less is more” would address many of the layout issues that exist with current Study bibles. Trying to comprehend a translation of a foreign language while attempting to relate to a culture thousands of years removed from our own might be a larger part of the problem. The idea that any translation can convey a foreign language completely has probably led too much of the misunderstandings of scripture. Without any knowledge of the original languages, the intent of the original is lost and in most cases people end up interpreting scripture at face value. I believe with the proper study helps, to an extent, many of these issues could be resolved.
    In my opinion the perfect study bible would be one with a paragraph style layout to bring more attention to the context of scripture, which would include references located in the margins like in the Thompson Chain Reference. These references would include information that conveys key differences in translation from the original languages along with Hebrew and Greek words keyed to a dictionary at the back of the bible. It would also include references keyed to glossaries that highlight the culture and also defines the different Hebraisms (Idioms) found throughout scripture. One of the better bibles I’ve seen is the Delitzsce Hebrew Gospels published by Vine of David (link below). The information located in the back of this edition is reminiscent of the type of helps that I’m referring to. After its release I had hoped that Schuyler, R.L. Allan, or Crossway would have reached out to Vine of David with an offer to work together on a Study/Reference Bible that would convey as best as possible the original intent of the scriptures and would appeal to both Jew and Gentile followers of Christ Jesus.
    http://www.bibledesignblog.com/2012/07/the-delitzsch-hebrew-gospels.html
    http://vineofdavid.org/resources/dhe/

    Reply
    • Randy Brown

      Hi Norm. Thanks for the links.

      In your opinion what is it about the Dugan/Jubilee that sets it apart from the Thompson, being the Thompson is also a Topical Chain Reference with over a 100 thousand references, which are also keyed to a wealth of Study Helps?

      I use the helps in the back of the Dugan/Jubilee more that I do the Thompson. There are a few things that set the Analytical Topical Reference Bible apart for me:

      1. Dictionary
      2. Cruden’s Concordance, Thompson has one of the best concordances available, but it can’t hold a candle to Cruden’s.
      3. 100,000 cross references
      4. Every verse is keyed to the back where it is printed under a specific topic.
      5. The topics in the back are presented as books that are outlined for excellent Bible study.

      What I like better about the Thompson is the topics listed in the margins and chain referenced. It feels more like using a wide-margin Bible with notes that I’ve added. I would love to see a combination of the two Bibles. I prefer both of these Bibles over study Bibles with commentary. I think the better Bible for study is the one that gives you the tools you need to do your own study. Greek and Hebrew dictionaries would be the main thing I would add.

      The Westminster and the Clarion are two of my favorite Bibles. Lately I’ve been carrying the Concord and reading the Clarion. My wife carries the Westminster.

  9. Don Denison

    Dear Norm and Randy:

    What a lot of information to absorb, Norm, and Randy have given us the benefit of a lot of thought. I have done the same, but perhaps I’m trailing behind in my thinking. I originally only wanted to replace a well used Schofield Reference Bible left to me by my father that needed conservation.

    The church in which I grew up during the 40’s and 50’s, regarded the Schofield Reference Bible as the only Bible, occasionally someone would have a Cambridge Concord or if really adventurous, an RSV or an old American Standard. Such individuals were of course viewed as a little off. The theme was Dispensational, and no one even questioned that aspect of their faith. There are so many choices to make now, that it can be, and often is, confusing. Perhaps what is needed is a basic reference Bible with a size and cover that will support the kind of reading one does. This Bible should contain basic helps according to taste and study habits of the reader. For me, it must be small enough to be read while sitting held in one hand, it must have a basic Concordance, a basic dictionary with some charts on time, money, measurement etc., some maps with an index to them, and perhaps chapter summaries like the Westminister heading each chapter. I am using the Cambridge Personal Concord for these needs now, but the type is a little small. I originally bought it as an inexpensive stand in until I found a “Good” Bible, it is well printed, and is clear enough for my 72 year old eyes, for now. I have been thinking about the Allan Brevier Clarendon bound in French Morocco, or Calfskin as the type is a little larger. The Westminister from TBS almost fits all these requirements, especially in the way it is laid out and with its numerous cross references, its concordance, its charts, etc. It is though, for me, a little large for extended reading while seated, this is because I will spend 2-4 hours at a time reading while in my recliner. Living alone gives me lots and lots of time to read and learn. I’ve found though, a need for more information as my study of the Bible progresses. I have the latest Cruden’s Complete Concordance, (I think it is the easiest to use) I also have on hand Strong’s and Young’s both of these unabridged. I have also two commentaries, one is very general, the Wycliffe, and Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible also unabridged (don’t you love his use of the language), and some good dictionaries including Smiths Bible Dictionary. A recent addition has been the Carta Bible Atlas 5th edition, it is the finest of its type I have ever seen. I have consigned the Thompson, the Naves Topical, and all the other reference material to my desk. I expect that as I mature in my studies that I will add commentaries, topical references, dictionaries and other aids as they are needed.

    I do believe that what is most important though is a Reading Bible that is comfortable to use for long periods of time that includes a collection of basic helps for quick reference. Trying to get every thing into one Bible and still have something that is easy to handle seems to me akin to chasing after wind (as has often been said, “there is no such thing as a free lunch”). The Westminister by TBS is only a little to large for me, I may still learn to adapt to it, I expect to try the Brevier Clarendon in a cover that is sufficiently firm for one hand reading. For now, that humble little Personal Concord is working out quite well, though the font size is on the small side, it is adequate, and at $49.99 at Evangelical Bible, it is a real bargain.

    Bit by bit I’m putting together a desk/study area/library for serious research that is expandable for additional resources as I find the need, perhaps this would be a good topic for an article at some point. What is most important is that God’s Word is read, anything that promotes that is a good thing, no reference or commentary will substitute for the actual reading of his Word.

    My best regards to you both

    Yours In Christ

    Don Denison

    Reply
  10. Nathaniel

    Could I buy this bible from you?

    Reply
    • Randy Brown

      Hi Nathaniel. I’m keeping this one but I’ll see if I can find another one. If I do I’ll send you an email.

    • Nathaniel

      Thanks

  11. Don Denison

    Dear Friends:

    I was just looking over this excellent review in hope of more information on how to best use all the reference material. I did notice a post on the publisher’s site stating that LCBP will no longer be producing their binding of this bible. I know that both lots sold out very quickly, and I’m guessing that the publisher of the text block decided it was not in their best interest to continue the arrangement with LCBP. I have no information from LCBP that this is the case, but it is the only thing that makes any sense to me. I’m sure that those of us who were able to buy a copy of this LCBP Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible will treasure it. I plan to have a firmer cover installed, something that will better support the large text block while it is being read held in one hand. Whatever the reason for LCBP’s inability at the present to publish this bible we evidently can assume that there will be no more of them from this source unless the situation changes in the future.

    Yours in Christ

    Don Denison

    Reply
    • Randy Brown

      Hi Don. For a rebind you might even consider getting one of Kirkbride’s Mirage, Kirvella, or bonded leather editions. I’ve thought about doing this.

    • Don Denison

      Dear Randy:

      If I hadn’t already owned the LCBP edition, I would have considered buying that edition for that specific use. The edition you mentioned is quite reasonably priced and is a good source for someone willing to pay for a premium binding of it. My LCBP is going out for binding next week, I’ll keep you all informed about the results. God Bless You and your work.

      In Christ

      Don Denison

  12. Tom

    So sorry I didn’t see the LCBP Thompson Chain printing before they disappeared. The Kirkbride bindings are SO much inferior. A shame to see such a great Bible presented with such poor quality.

    Reply
  13. Jeff Puha

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
    Just a “heads-up” concerning the availability of the LCBP version of the KJV Thompson Chain Reference Bible. I spoke to LCBP today, 2/10/14, and they told me they stopped making their lovely version of this Bible because the text had a lot of notes that favored the RSV Bible rather than the KJV. LCBP publish only KJV Bibles and they felt the Thompson cast some aspersions on the KJV, which they didn’t want to tolerate or endorse. It’s a shame because their calfskin leather and binding is far superior to the best you can get the Thompson in now. May God bless you all.
    Yours in Christ Jesus,
    Jeff

    Reply
    • Randy Brown

      Hi Jeff. I noticed that they pulled it from their site but I didn’t know why. Thanks for letting us know. The LCBP is an amazing edition of the Thompson. It’s a shame it’s no longer available.

  14. B

    Does anybody have one of these Bibles they would be willing to sell me?? Would gladly pay for it . . .

    email me:
    bmwhite1611@yahoo.com

    -B

    Reply
  15. Terry

    Church Bible Publishers is now offering the Thompson Chain Reference Bible in Large Print ($85) and in Mid-Size (brown, red or black for $80). The Mid-size was just released on March 29th.

    Reply

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