My older sister gave me my first Thompson Chain Reference Bible in 1979, or early 80s. I literally wore it out. Then the youth group I was serving gave me my second Thompson Chain in 1988. I saw those Bibles as what I would call “glorified concordances”. There is this amazing system (chains) of references and topics. I did not wear out the second one, I simply moved on to other study Bibles.
Just a few weeks ago I attended a workshop put on by my good friend, Chuck Ballard on how to use the Thompson Bible. Chuck was the first pastor to welcome me to Flagstaff 25 years ago next month. We’ve remained good friends ever since. He has since moved on and is now leading a ministry called African Pastoral Training Ministries in which he trains African pastors how to study and prepare sermons using only the Thompson Chain Bible. This is an amazing ministry because most of these pastors will have no other resources. Through the conference they receive a new Bible and three days of training.
I was amazed both by the use of the Thompson Bible and specifically how Chuck teaches the students to study the Bible using ONLY the Bible! Dr. Frank Charles Thompson did the world a great service in 1908 when he put together this massive system of studying scripture with scripture using over 4200 chain topics and 100,000 topical references. It’s actually pretty simple to use once you understand the system.
Chuck did a great job leading this four-hour workshop. I plan to invite him to our church to do the same in the near future. The Bibles are available most anywhere. You may want to check out the dedicated website for Kirkbride or do what I did and find your favorite version on Amazon.
Though I have no plans to abandon my Logos Bible software or get rid of any of my favorite study Bibles, I am enjoying getting familiar again with my new ESV Thompson Chain.
I highly recommend Chuck and his ministry.