Zondervan’s KJV Thompson Chain Reference Bibles

Zondervan has just released their editions of the Thompson Chain Reference Bible in multiple translations. I recently looked at their NKJV, ESV, and NASB editions in multiple cover options. The KJV is a little different in that it’s also available in a large print and a handy size edition. In this review, I’m looking at the KJV in three different covers and three different sizes. All are made in the USA.

Zondervan provided these Bibles 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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This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Christianbook

and local Bible bookstores

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Video Review

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Binding

I’m reviewing three different covers and three different sizes. All have a sewn text block. The Kirkbride editions were known for the spine’s v shape, but the Zondervan editions keep the spine flat. This makes the text curve further into the gutter. It’s still readable, but the chain references can be a little difficult to see in the inner margin. The regular size and handy size have cockling issues. It isn’t bad enough to keep me from using them, but it is noticeable. The large print edition doesn’t have it.

Hardcover

My regular size edition is hardcover. It includes a dust jacket. The KJV has a yellow color scheme with brown text. The cover is coated board and it’s the same color as the dust jacket. It stays open perfectly to any page. It has a honey-gold ribbon that’s extra-long and easy to use. The head/tail bands are gold and the page edges are white.

Leathersoft

My large print edition is brown Leathersoft. The Leathersoft is a medium shade of brown with some color variation. It has a grain that looks like real leather. It has perimeter stitching and no printing on the font. The spine has four printed rib indications, the title printed so it’s upright when the Bible is lying on the table, and the translation and Zondervan logo printed in gold. The liner pastedown with brown vinyl. It stays open at the beginning of Genesis with no trouble. It has an extra-long honey-gold ribbon. The head/tail bands are brown and the pages are gold-gilted. This is my favorite of the three.

Bonded Leather

My handy size edition is bonded leather. The bonded leather is black with a smoother grain. The grain isn’t as pronounced as the Leathersoft and it looks similar to ironed-calfskin. It has perimeter stitching. There is no printing on the front. The text on the spine is printed in gold with four stamped rib indications, the title printed so it’s upright when the Bible is lying on the table, the translation, and the Zondervan logo. The liner pastedown with black vinyl. This cover is stiffer and will stay open somewhere in Leviticus. It has an extra-long red ribbon and black head/tail bands. Page edges are gold-gilted.

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Paper

The paper is 30gsm. This is the same paper that Zondervan uses in their lower-priced Bibles and is the typical paper at this price range. It’s off-white with no glare under direct light. The show-through is noticeable but it’s still readable. It’s mostly noticeable on the blank portions of the page such as the end of the book. The paper is smooth to the touch. I had no trouble grabbing the pages to turn them.

The Zondervan KJV Thompson Bibles have 18 lined pages in the back for notes. This is the regular Bible paper. I’m glad they’ve included this. I prefer reference and study Bibles to have pages for notes.

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Print

The layout is from the Kirkbride files. It includes the lightweight font that Kirkbride used, which has a medium darkness. Zondervan has darkened the red-letter. It’s still not a bold font, but I do prefer this darker red. It’s especially good in the large print edition. The black letter is consistent while the red has some noticeable variation.

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Content

The Zondervan editions use the same files as the Kirkbride editions with the addition of note pages in the back. If you’ve seen a KJV Thompson from Kirkbride in KJV, then you’ll be familiar with the content of the Zondervan edition. It includes the chain reference system, indexes, outline studies, character studies, harmonies, illustrated studies, archaeological supplement, Hebrew calendar, glossary, concordance, maps, etc.

You can see more information in the original reviews here:

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Comparisons

Here’s how the Zondervan Thompson editions compare with editions by Kirkbride. The Kirkbride editions include the KJV in genuine leather that’s made in china. The handy size is bonded for both editions. My Kirkbride large print is hardcover.

Regular Size Thompson

The regular editions are comparable. I prefer the inner margin space of the Kirkbride, and the red letter of the Zondervan.

Handy Size Thompson

The handy size Zondervan is the most difficult to use because of the lack of inner margin space. It’s still usable, though, making it excellent for carry.

Large Print Thompson

The large print edition is where Zondervan shines the most. The font is darker for both the black and red text. The print and construction seem to be better than the other two sizes.

Zondervan vs Kirkbride Thompson

The paper is brighter than the Kirkbride and doesn’t have glare as the Kirkbride does. The show-through is a little more pronounced in the Zondervan. The print is slightly lighter for the handy and regular size, but the Zondervan large print is darker. The Zondervan red is a little darker and looks better to my eyes. The Zondervan KJV Thompson editions lose some space in the inner margin because of the spine staying flat. The tools are the same. Zondervan has added note pages, which is always welcome in my opinion. Both have the same maps. The paper for the maps is the same, but the colors in the Zondervan are slightly bolder.

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Conclusion on the Zondervan KJV Thompson

The Thompson Chain Reference Bible is one of the best study Bibles in my opinion because it allows Scripture to interpret Scripture and gives you tools for topical study. I’m glad to see that Zondervan has acquired the TCR in order to keep it in production. Although I’m looking forward to the Comfort Print editions, which I think will be a higher quality Bible, the current Zondervan editions are worth their price and are a great choice for anyone wanting a KJV Thompson made in the USA, or wanting a TCR to use until the Comfort Print line is available.

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_________________________________________________________

This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Christianbook

and local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

 

Zondervan provided these Bibles 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.

1 Comment

  1. Robert Millison

    Have you heard if Zondervan is planning on adding the extended/completed chains to the KJV in the future like the NKJV and ESV have?

    Reply

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