NASB Thompson Chain Reference Bible Premier Collection Review

Zondervan’s latest edition of the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is the 1995 NASB. This is the first time the 95 NASB has been available in the TCR. It is typeset with the NASB Comfort Print typeface designed by 2K/Denmark. Unlike the other translations in the Comfort Print, this edition will not replace the older version of the TCR. The 1977 NASB TCR will remain in print as it is (from the Kirkbride files without a Comfort Print typeface). The 95NASB TCR is available in several cover options. I’m reviewing the Premier Collection in tan goatskin, printed in China.

Zondervan provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.


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Table of Contents

    1. Video Review
    2. Goatskin Cover
    3. European Paper
    4. Typography
    5. References
    6. Book Introductions
    7. Comprehensive Bible Helps
    8. Concordance
    9. Maps
    10. Comparing with the Original
    11. Conclusion

Video Review

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Goatskin Cover

The goatskin on the Premier Collection NASB Thompson is a dark tan with a slightly orange hue. The leather is thick and looks and feels luxurious. It’s slightly shiny and has a pebbly grain. It has a 1/2″ yapp (overhang) and includes perimeter stitching. There’s nothing printed on the front. The spine has 5 thick raised hubs and text printed in gold.

The liner is edge-lined leather with a gold gilt line around the inside perimeter. The edge-lined tab isn’t too stiff and stays open in Genesis 1 with no trouble. The text block is sewn and includes overcast stitching. The Premier Collection NASB TCR has three ribbons: black, red, and gold. They’re double-sided, angle-cut, and than long enough to pull to the corner to open the Bible easily. The overall size is 6 3/4 x 9 3/4 x 1 7/8″, and it weighs 3 lbs, 15 oz.

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European Paper

The paper is the same 36GSM premium European Bible paper that’s used in all the other Bibles in the Premier Collection. It’s slightly off-white in color and highly opaque. It has a smooth texture that’s just rough enough to turn easily. The page edges are art gilt with red under gold.

In the back are nine ruled 36GSM pages for notes. This is excellent for sermon notes, lists, events, important dates, references, topic information, journaling entries, prayers, songs, etc.

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The 95NASB text is presented in a double-column, verse-by-verse layout with poetry in stanzas and OT quotes in all caps. Thompson’s chain references are printed in the outer margins next to the verses they correspond to. The header shows the book name, chapter, and verse numbers in red in the outer margin, page numbers in black in the center, and a page summary in red in the inner margin. Section headings are in red in all caps. This edition includes the reduced set of translator’s footnotes in the footer in a smaller font.

The font is the NASB typeface designed by 2K/Denmark for HarperCollins NASBs. The print size is 9.5, black-letter text. All other editions of the NASB TCR are in red letter. It has around 6-7 words per line on average with extra space between the lines and the text. The text is dark and easy to read, study, and preach from. It was printed with line-matching, meaning the lines of text are printed in the same location on both sides of the page. This reduces show-through and makes it easier to read and use. Supplied words are in italics.  I like this typeface, but the N and M are my least favorite of the Comfort Print typefaces. They’re not bad. They just stand out to me as the most unusual.

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Thompson Chain References

The 100,000 chain references are placed in the margins next to their verses. The font is 6-point. The topic name is printed first and the topic number is in red. Triangles show the start of a chain, and squares show the end of a chain. All the chains found in the back are completed, and all have been added to the margins. They’re justified to the text rather than the margins to bring the focus to the text.

Chain Reference Examples

Here are a few examples of the margins of specific verses. The complete list of each topic is found in the Numerical Index. Some of the words are specific to the NASB, but the topic numbers are the same for all translations. For example, the NASB uses “Listen and Understand” instead of “Harken”, which is used in the KJV. I like this because it’s easier to use the translation you’re used to.

  • Genesis 1:1 – p.p Jn 1:3; Heb 1:10; Family Bible Readings 3:1-6; Creator 2:3; Heavens (1) Chr 16:26
  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – Listen and Understand 1185; One God 32:39
  • Isaiah 9:6 – Births Foretold Mt 1:21; Incarnation 11:1; Christ’s Dominion 9:7; Christ’s Wisdom 3838; Christ Divine Lk 22:69; Christ’s Names 3632; Wonderful Name Lk 1:31; Prince of Peace 2865; Peace (3) 3014
  • Mark 12:29 – The Great Commandment Mt 22:36; Listen and Understand 1185; One God 1 Co 8:4
  • John 1:1 –  Christ Eternal 8:58; Christ The Word 1:14; Christ’s Names 3632; Christ Divine (2) Rom 1:4; Christ Eternal 709
  • Acts 2:38 – pp Rom 6:4; Promises to Penitent 3:19; Repentance (2) 2707; Repentance (3) 2708; Baptism Directed 10:48; Wonderful Name 2516; Remission of Sin Rom 3:25; Spirit Promised 1603
  • Romans 10:9 – Confess Christ Phil 2:11; Christ, Lord 1 Cor 1:9; Faith (6) Tim 3:15; Resurrection (8) 1 Cor 15:4; Salvation (3) 1 Cor 1:21
  • 1 John 1:1 – p.p. Lk 24:39; Experience (2) 2030; Witnesses (2) 3855a; Christ the Word Rev 19:13

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NASB Thompson Book Introductions

Book Introductions include the author, date written, purpose, to whom it was written, main theme, key words, key verse, synopsis, prominent people, and major chains. The list of major chains was added by Zondervan, but the rest of the material is from the Book Analysis (which is now here instead of in the back) and the short introduction that used to be at the top of the first page of each book.

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NASB Thompson Comprehensive Bible Helps

The Comprehensive Helps includes the new illustrations and charts. The typeface is 6-point sans-serif. It also includes the short articles Principles of Bible Study and Best Methods of Study. The tools are the same as those in all the other Comfort Print TCRs.

Alphabetical Index of Topics

This index lists every topic alphabetically. It includes the topic numbers to find the topics in the other resources. It’s printed in three columns per page with the topic number in red. Sub-topics are indented.

Numerical Index of Topics

This index has every topical chain and shows the topic names, primary verses printed in full and their references printed in red, and a list of suggested topics for most of the topics. It’s printed with three columns per page with the topic numbers and prominent verse numbers in red. Topic names are in bold. Words are specific to the 95NASB, but the topics themselves are the same as all the other translations.

Condensed Outline of the Bible

This provides a short description of each book of the Bible. They’re identified according to their genre. Book names and their topic numbers are printed in red.

Periods of Biblical History

This is an interesting table that shows the date along with Old Testament and secular history. They have a modern design with red titles, stripped gray backgrounds, and red backgrounds for the major titles.

Bible Character Studies

This shows the prominent biblical characters and includes maps and outlines with Zondervan’s new drawings and maps.

Prominent Characters Classified

This provides an outline of the prominent men and women in the Bible. It includes their names with a short description and includes a topic number for each.

Outline History of the Apostles

This is a table with the names with information about each of the apostles.

Messianic Prophecies and Their Fulfillment

This is a table that shows the prophecies, a summary, and the fulfillment of each Messianic prophecy. Summaries are in red while the backgrounds are stripped in gray.

Bible Harmonies and Illustrated Studies

This shows life overviews, maps, charts, illustrations, and outlines of Moses, Jesus, and Paul. The maps are gray with red highlights.

Table of Weights and Measures

This translation includes several tables for weights and measures. The first shows weights and includes the unit, weight, and equivalent. The second shows land measure and length and includes the unit, length, and equivalents. The third shows liquid and dry measures, with the unit, measure, and equivalent. The fourth shows money in the Bible and includes Hebrew, Persian, Greek, and Roman money with their monetary value. These are excellent for study.

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It has a 98-page NASB dictionary/concordance/thesaurus from the Lockman Foundation. This is the same concordance used in many Zondervan NASBs. It includes names, alternate words to look up, and parts of speech. It’s large enough for study and sermon prep. Here are some example entries with their number of references to help you compare:

  • Christ (Messiah) – 17
  • Christian follower of Christ – 3
  • Faith believe, trust – 36
  • Faithful loyal, trustworthy – 15
  • Faithfulness loyalty – 7
  • Faithless unbelieving – 4
  • God Deity, Eternal One – 37
  • God false deity, idols – 8
  • Goddess female diety – 3
  • Godless pagan, without God – 5
  • Godliness holiness – 5
  • Godly holy – 6
  • Praise (n) acclamation, honor – 10
  • Praise (v) extol, glorify – 12
  • Pray ask, worship – 19
  • Prayer – 15

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In the back are 13 Zondervan maps printed on thick, semi-glossy paper. They include topography, elevation, distance, routes, borders, possible locations of lost places, battles, cities, cities of refuge, empires with dates, locations of events of prophets, locations for the events of Jesus’ ministry, and locations for the events of the apostles and missionaries.

It also includes a Color Map Index with 6 divisions. They’re in alphabetical order within the divisions and include the map number and the grid location on the map. The divisions include:

  1. Archaeological Sites in the Holy Land and the Bible Lands
  2. Biblical Names of cities, Towns, and Villages
  3. Cultural Features: Regions, Tribal Names, Places, and Countries
  4. Points of Interest in Jerusalem
  5. Land Features: Mountains, Hills, Valleys, Islands, Desserts, and Wildernesses
  6. Water Features: Oceans, Seas, Lakes, Rivers, Brooks, Springs, and Wadis

Maps include:

  1. Archaeological Sites in Ancient Israel
  2. Archaeological Sites in the Bible Lands
  3. World of the Patriarchs
  4. Exodus and Conquest of Canaan
  5. Land of the Twelve Tribes
  6. Kingdom of David and Solomon
  7. Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
  8. Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
  9. Holy Land in the Time of Jesus
  10. Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus
  11. Paul’s Missionary Journeys
  12. Roman Empire
  13. Apostle’s Early Travels

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Conclusion on the NASB Thompson in the Premier Collection

Zondervan’s 1995 NASB Thompson Chain Reference Bible is the first time the 95NASB has been published in the TCR. This is a welcome translation to the TCR family, making the TCR even more valuable as a study Bible. This edition includes all of the same tools and features as the other Comfort Print TCRs. This Premier Collection edition is made well and is easy to recommend to any TCR or 95NASB fan.

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This Bible is available from





Zondervan provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

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.

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