Bible commentaries and study notes are great tools for understanding what the Bible has to say to us today. Often overlooked, however, is the value that using scripture to understand scripture can bring. God’s inspired word is a complex tapestry of themes all woven together, and the development of those themes can provide us with insight into the relevant message of the Bible for today’s readers.


Finding our way around these themes can be a daunting task, especially given the variety of subjects covered in the Bible. A word search can be helpful, but it can give an incomplete picture due to the complexity of language and the context in which words are used.

The great news is that you can use tools like the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible. It links various themes together as they are mentioned and developed throughout Scripture.

The very heart of this product is the thematic chains that number in the thousands and people at all stages of learning about the Bible have used it in the 100 years since its initial release. The Thompson Chain resource is also a great study Bible, offering cross-references, book outlines, book introductions, maps, and harmonies to aid us in our study.


We’ve put quite a bit of attention into converting the rich topical content so it can be used in the app. Our goal was to make navigating the famous topical chains easy and intuitive and to allow quick access to the additional materials as well.

We’re going to walk through a quick example of how the Olive Tree Bible App can make navigating the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible enjoyable and easy. The example uses and refers to the iPad version of our software. We’ve designed this resource to work seamlessly with the built-in resource guide


If you want to follow along with the example, bring 1 Samuel chapter 17 up in your Bible. With everything set up, the screen will look similar to this, depending on what resources you have:

To see the chains, tap the name of the Thompson Chain under the commentaries section of the resource guide. Your split-window view will change to a listing of verses directly related to your location:

Choose the verse you want by tapping on it in the split window. In this example we’ll choose 17:4:

You can now choose the theme you want to explore in the list under that verse, for instance, choosing 1409, Descendants of Rapha results in the following:

Now it’s as easy as tapping on each verse reference to get a popup where you can read the appropriate Bible text.

When you are done with this chain, you can tap the back arrow at the upper left corner of the split screen to return to the verse menu.


There are also some other gems available but a little less obvious. For this example, tap the David entry under the People section. After you’ve tapped on it, the screen will look like this:

The Resource Guide automatically shows you that there is an article on David available in the Thompson Chain resource. Tap on the article to read it.

There is also a map on the Journeys of David under the Maps section that you can open.

Tap the map to make it full screen, and pinch and zoom to make the image larger:


We hope that you’ll start learning about the value of using scripture to interpret scripture! And that, as you grow, you’ll find the right resources to help you along the way.

Write A Comment