How to use the KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

Feb 2, 2023

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There are many Bible study tools and methods out there and it can be challenging to decide which method is right for you and each study you dive into. One tool I have found incredibly helpful for studying the Bible is the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible. This helpful resource comes in several translations of the Bible. The NKJV is a wonderful literal translation that has been updated with more modern English, and the KJV offers a slightly different feel with its older English. It also comes in other popular translations such as the ESV, NIV, and NASB. With more than 8,000 topic chains and over 100,000 total references, the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible allows you to follow a topic all throughout the whole Bible and explore topics in scripture more thoroughly.

I received a free copy of the newly revised KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible in exchange for an honest review as part of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. All reviews and recommendations are based on my personal experience with the product. #BibleGatewayPartner

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What features does the KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible have?

According to, the newly revised KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible includes the following key features:

  • Complete text of the King James Version (KJV)
  • Easy-to-understand chain-reference system with over 100,000 references
  • Alphabetical and numerical indexes highlight study materials for over 8,000 topics, each with its own topic number, for exhaustive topical study
  • An extensive study resource section includes biographical sketches, illustrated studies of the Bible, a concordance, Bible harmonies, and many other helpful study tools
  • Fresh, two-color page design
  • 66 book introductions
  • 16-page full-color map section with map index
  • Line-matched text for enhanced readability
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Two double-sided satin ribbon markers, each 3/8-inch wide
  • Exclusive KJV Comfort Print typeface
  • Print size: 9.5

This extensive Bible study tool not only comes in several popular Bible translations, but it also comes in a variety of cover options, as well as with and without thumb indexes. The resources within the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible are well organized, and I appreciate the cleaner, easier-to-navigate feel of the newly revised KJV translation of the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible.

Thompson Chain-Reference Bible is a challenge worth accepting

When I first received a Thompson Chain-Reference Bible it was such a unique study Bible that it took me a while to navigate. I immediately saw its value and knew it would add a lot to my Bible studying and was determined to figure out how to get the best use out of it.

The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible has a learning curve – there is no getting around that. I recommend grabbing your own copy and spending some quality time getting to know it. In the meantime, I want to take some time to teach you how to get started with it to help you decide if this is a Bible study tool you want to add to your bookshelf.

Learning a new Bible study method can be a challenge, and for some of us it is daunting. While learning to use the patented chain-reference system is no exception, this is a challenge well worth accepting and taking full advantage of. Let’s explore how to use it to help you decide if the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible is right for you, and to help you navigate it if you have your own already and are wondering what to do with it.

How to use the KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

No matter the type of Bible study you are doing, the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible is sure to be a welcome addition that will help you grow in your faith and relationship with the Lord, as you grow in your understanding and application of His Word.

Thompson Chain-Reference Topic Number Study

The primary method of using the Thompson Chain-Reference system is through Topic Numbers. Along the margins on each page of the Bible, there are topics listed next to passages within that topic. Toward the back of the Bible, after the book of Revelation and a handful of other helpful study tools, there is Numerical Index of all of these topics.

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Start with the Numerical Index

Using the Numerical Index you can search for the topic you would like to study and then find the passages that correlate with that topic. To learn how to do this, let’s use the topic of Prayer to give it a try using the newly revised KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible.

  • Within the entire Prayer category, locate the specific sub-category you would like to study. We will look at Prayer Postures for this example.
  • Once you’re at the correct sub-category, make a note of the verses referenced there and flip to them within the content of the Bible.
  • Once you have located the verse in the Bible’s pages, look at the margins right next to the verse. You will see the sub-category “Bowing” with the Prayer Category Index Number, 2829. Right after this, you will notice a different verse listed. This is the next verse in this particular Bowing Prayer Posture chain.
Thompson Chain-Reference Genesis
  • Next, head to the next verse in the chain, which in this instance is Exodus 4:31.
    • Exodus 4:31 can be found on page 76 of the KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible.
    • In this next verse of the chain, the reference in the margin directing you to the next link in the chain is 12:27, indicating that it is also within the current book of Exodus.
    • To continue locating and studying the passages within this chain, you just continue to follow along these chain links in the margins to find the next passages.

Start with a verse or passage

Studying the Bible based on a specific topic you already have in mind to delve into is not always what you are looking for. Another option is to begin with a verse. To learn this method of studying using the KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, we will head to page 1175 and find Matthew 28.

Studying an event throughout scripture

Once you locate Matthew 28, check out the chain reference in the margin. There is a red reference that says “The Resurrection of Christ”. This is followed by several verse numbers, each in one of the gospel accounts. If I am reading through the gospels of Jesus and want to easily locate the passages in the other accounts that line up together, I would be able to find these kinds of references and follow their chains. Starting at Matthew 28, I can find all of the gospel passages that tell about the Resurrection of Jesus.

From Matthew, I can head to the coordinating passage starting at Mark 16:1, then Luke 24:1, and finally John 20:1 and read each account of the Resurrection consecutively. This would work for a study such as chronological gospels, and I could also use it as I am reading any passage in which I want to explore more relevant scriptures on the same theme.

Resurrection of Christ Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

Studying a topic throughout scripture

To use the chain-reference system while you are reading any passage in the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, let’s go back to page 1175 and locate Matthew 28 again. Next to verse 16, where Jesus begins giving the Great Commission, the verse begins with “Then the eleven disciples went away…”. Lets look up who the 11 disciples are, and read more passages about them. On the right-side margin next to this verse there is a chain-reference which says “Apostles’ Names 2081”. This tells me that there is a chain of references for the Apostles names, and the Numerical Index identifier is 2081.

From here, I could head to the Numerical Index and find number 2081. Once there, I can find a list of verses that tell me about the Apostles names. I can also find other types of passages that have to do with the apostles. There are additional sub-categories here such as general references to them, and then passages about apostles being called to do special work. The chain-reference system allows me to dive into whatever specific theme I want to explore deeper.

Thompson Chain-Reference Bible Apostles Names

Other ways to use the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

Using the Numerical Index in one of the ways explained above is how I recommend beginning your adventure with this incredible Bible study tool. With that said, the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible not only utilizes these methods for studying the Bible, but also offers a handful of other helpful Bible study tools and resources. Among these tools are character profiles for studying Bible characters more specifically, detailed explanations of major Biblical journeys, such as Moses, the Israelites, Jesus’s life, Paul’s many ministry journeys, and more. Additionally, there are a plethora of helpful maps, Messianic prophecies and their fulfillments, unique book and Bible history overviews, and much more.

Within the pages of the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible you will find an impressive toolbelt of resources to take your Bible study deeper, helping you to draw closer to the Lord and what He wants to reveal to you through His Word.

How have I personally used the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible?

Some of the ways I have personally benefited from using the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible are as follows:

  • Creating Bible reading plans. Many of our free Bible reading plans were made using the chain-reference system to help me find the right verses for the topic of the reading plan. You can make your own Bible reading plans using the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible as well!
  • Book Overview Studies. I have definitely benefited from the Book and Bible character overviews in the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible and have used them when doing my Book Overview studies for the blog and printables.
  • Character Studies. When I want to know more about a character in the Bible, I will use the character profiles in the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible as one of my key resources. In 2022 I studied Jesus in depth all year long, and this year I am revisiting the Epistles of Paul at a deeper level and the information in this Bible is incredibly helpful to understanding their journies and the chronology of many different events.
  • Word Studies. I love to nerd out in some word studies. Often I find myself diving deeply into a particular word that stands out to me in a passage I am reading. I love to use the Thompson Chain-Reference system alongside my Exhaustive Strong’s Concordance as well as my Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Together these are a powerful trifecta!

There are many other ways I have used the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, and I am sure there are many more ways I will use it over time as well. It has transformed my Bible study time and helped me launch deeper into the Word. It has actually been a really helpful stepping stone, taking me from basic surface-level reading and studying into deeper waters of what the Word of God is saying and means. If you are looking to take your Bible study deeper, I cannot recommend this Bible enough.

Who would benefit from the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible?

If you are ready to dive into the meat of scripture and further quench your thirsty soul with a deeper understanding of the Bible, then the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible is for you. The KJV is a wonderful option, and there are several other translations available for you to choose from.

If you would like to get a copy of the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, you can do so at the following locations online. I highly recommend it to help you take your time in the Word to the next level.

How to use the Thompson Chain Reference Bible

Have you accepted the grace of God?

If you have not accepted the grace of God and chosen to believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I encourage you to pray to God now and invite Him in, accept Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins, and repent of your sins. Submit it all to God, lay it at His feet, seek the forgiveness of God, welcome Him into your life, and believe that Jesus died and rose again to save you from your sins.

If you would like to learn more about salvation, you can find a couple of studies that may help here:

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