Thompson Chain Reference Bible, NASB Edition (Brief Review)
What happens when you have been setting the standard for excellence in Bible Study for over 100 years and you add in the most literal English Translation of the Bible? Well, you get the Thompson Chain Reference Bible in the NASB (1977) Edition. Few Bibles, if any, deserve to sit on the same shelf as the Thompson Chain because so few have what it takes to open the Scriptures up for us.
What makes the Thompson so outstanding?
“A Thompson® is the only true “Influence-Free” Study Bible. This is the one very important difference between a Thompson® and most other study Bibles. Most study Bibles fill their margins with another person’s commentary. These are notes from a knowledgeable author who tries to explain the text to you. Commentaries can be useful, but every author has his or her own view and biased agenda. Commentaries offer wide and often opposing influence. Your Thompson® Bible is “influence-free,” because instead of commentary, our margins are filled with thousands of chain-references® that propel you ahead into Scripture. Scholars agree that the Bible is its own best commentary, and no other study Bible helps you go deeper into the Scriptures than aThompson® Chain-Reference® Study Bible.”
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’s character 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.
As with all Thompsons, The NASB Edition is smythe sewn to lay flat. This is important for those of us who write in our Bibles. This is a Red Letter Edition, which is uncommon for the NASB. The red is quite crisp and is easy to see in any lighting condition.
Ordinarily, an 8-point font would pose a problem for me but in this edition, the typesetting, page coloration, opaqueness, and quality of the black ink make the text very easy to read. The paper is around average in its opaqueness; you will be able to mark in this Bible with minimal bleed through, if any.
A word about the NASB: The NASB is widely regarded as the most literal English Translation available. This leads to some people accusing it of feeling wooden. The Lockman Foundation acknowledged this with the 1995 update and the new slogan that “the most literal is now more readable.” It’s difficulty is around a 10th-11th grade reading level. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a liturgical sounding text. It does feel academic when reading. For those that do not enjoy a text like that, the Thompson is also available in NIV (original 1978 Edition), KJV (The original offering), and NKJV. At this time an ESV is not available and it is not known whether or not Kirkbride Bibles intends to offer the ESV.
The Thompson is the student’s Bible. The only thing it lacks is a Hebrew/Greek Lexicon. This, however, is not an issue when using the NASB as the extensive notes include lexical helps. An affiliate link is provided for those that wish to purchase.
I must confess that I am a little enthusiastic about Thompson. I have two Thompson Chain Reference Bibles, 1 that is over 40 years old that was passed down to me by my grandfather (this was the first Bible I taught from.) and this edition. Note: this Bible was purchased for my own personal use; it has not been provided to me by the publisher.