I love my Thompson Bible. I really do. There are few possessions that I value or cherish more than this gigantic, leather-bound, gilt-edged horse-choker. Seriously. I could rhapsodize at length about how using it has helped revitalize my quiet times, encourage my Bible-nerdiness, answer questions about Scripture, challenge my thinking. But let me just tell you a little bit about Frank Thompson, the man who dedicated his life to making a study Bible for the layman.
The Thompson contains over 100,000 references, over 8000 chain topics, outlines of each Bible book, an Archeology segment, and over seventy other kinds of study helps. It has been invaluable to my personal study. It's the classic layman's study Bible, but I relied heavily on it during my Seminary studies.
Dr. Frank Charles Thompson was a young preacher in the late 1800s when he became disappointed with the reference Bibles being sold to preachers. Dr. Thompson believed the Bible should be presented in a simple, but scholarly way. He saw the need for a well-organized reference Bible that would be of practical use to the layman as well as a minister.
In 1890, Dr. Thompson began the work he would continue for the rest of his life. He completed the "thought suggestions" opposite the verses throughout the Bible. These are what became the "chain-links" that are the heart of the Thompson system. Some of the men in Dr. Thompson's church saw his Bible and told him this would be a great help to them in their Bible study too. They encouraged Dr. Thompson to have his Bible, with marginal references, published so that everyone could enjoy the blessing of this helpful study tool.
I have other Bibles, including a good parallel (the Essential Evangelical Parallel Bible), a girly pink slimline ESV, a plain slimline NLT, and a Greek new testament. But the one I use for daily study is my Thompson. I highly recommend it.