Page images
[ocr errors]

306.14 1908




HE design of this work is to furnish a comprehensive system of topical references covering the entire Scriptures, so arranged as to enable the reader desiring to know the teachings of the Word of God on any fundamental subject, to turn instantly from one to another of a series of the best passages on that subject.

The need of such a work will be apparent to all Bible students. The old references, although doubtless representing much research and labor, are indefinite and unsatisfactory. There is nothing to indicate what subject will appear in the verse or verses to which the reader is referred, and the citations are exceedingly meager. Under the former systems of Bible study, there is no method available by which a student can readily follow a subject from verse to verse in his own Bible, nothing to aid him in his progress; he must continually turn back to the subject-index, or consult some other topical help. This is a slow and laborious process, not adapted to the needs of Bible students in this busy age.

The superiority of the plan of this work lies in the fact, that not only are the references topical, following a definite line of thought, but each series is so united into a complete chain that the reader, having found the first text, moves steadily forward, with no necessity of retracing his steps or turning aside to consult reference letters or helps. Thus the time of the student is saved; the work has been done for him; he travels to the mines of truth over a prepared road, instead of building one as he goes along. The preacher in the pulpit, the Sunday school teacher before his class, or the devotional reader in the home, all alike are brought into immediate touch with the best thoughts of the Word of God on any theme. This Bible puts a mighty weapon into the hands of Christian workers, and instead of giving the opinions of men on any subject under consideration, all the infinite resources of the Holy Scriptures are placed at their command.



The Chain-Reference Bible is the product of fifteen years of topical study. The examination of every verse of Scripture in the different versions, to ascertain so far as possible its exact meaning, has been a task of no small magnitude; the preparation of topics and references with the view of covering substantially every important aspect of scriptural truth, and the condensation and arrangement of these topics opposite appropriate verses and within the limits of marginal space, have required a vast amount of study.

In connection with the above work, a new subject-index has been prepared containing all the important topics found in other topical text-books, and a very large amount of original material for use in Bible study.

It has been the constant aim of the author to keep the topics and references in harmony with the evangelical thought of the age, and to omit all doubtful and controversial subjects.

In using this chain-reference system, it must be remembered that the limited space upon the margin necessarily excludes all explanatory matter; this fact makes the references suggestive rather than exegetical or expository. By placing topics on the margin, in some cases opposite obscure texts, the author has not attempted to give a dogmatic or arbitrary interpretation of the texts, but has simply suggested a collateral line of thought, in the pursuance of which the reader must use his own judgment.

The author acknowledges his indebtedness to the great commentaries which he has constantly consulted, especially Matthew Henry, Lange, Meyer, Godet, Scott, Clark, Olshausen, Alford and Trench. He has also received much help from a large number of books, under various names, containing topical arrangements of Bible passages.

The completion of this book would have been well nigh impossible without the constant co-operation of the author's wife, Laura Boughton Thompson, who, through many years of indefatigable labor, has rendered invaluable assistance.

If there are any features of special merit in this Bible, they are not due to human wisdom or effort, but rather to the leadings of the Divine Spirit, and whatever imperfections are found grow out of human limitations.

With profound gratitude to God for the strength given to complete this work, it is sent forth into the world with the hope that it may encourage the study of God's Word by rendering its treasures more accessible to all readers.

GENESEO, N. Y., April 28, 1908.


« PreviousContinue »