How To: NIV Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible

God’s inspired word is a complex tapestry of themes woven together. The development of these themes can provide insight into the relevant message of the Bible. However, learning how to use these themes in studying the Bible can be daunting with the variety of subjects covered in Scripture. A word search is helpful, but it can give an incomplete picture due to the complexity of language and context.

The great news is that you can use tools like the NIV Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible. This resource 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.

The Thompson Chain resource is also a great study Bible, offering cross-references, book outlines, book introductions, maps, and harmonies to aid in studying Scripture. This article will walk you through how to use the NIV Thompson Chain Study Bible in the app.

How Study Bibles Appear in the App

In the Olive Tree app, study Bibles are made up of two files: the Bible text and the Study Bible Notes. Downloading the NIV Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible in the Purchased tab in the Store will download both files. Here is what the files look like in the Library when the NIV Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible has been downloaded:

  • New International Version (NIV)
  • NIV Thompson Chain Study Bible Notes

Using Study Bible Notes in the Resource Guide 

One way to view the study notes in the app is through the Resource Guide. First, open the New International Version (NIV) in the main window. Tap the Library icon and choose the Bible from the list of downloaded resources. 


Next, tap on the green bar at the bottom of the screen to open the Study Center. If you don't see the green bar at the bottom, tap once in a blank space on the screen. 


You will see relevant entries from the NIV Thompson Chain Study Bible Notes in the Resource Guide that correspond to your location in the Bible text in the main window.


If you tap on the results for Related Verses, you will see many cross references to review:


If you tap on the results for Commentaries, you will see the chains related to the Scripture that is open in the main window:


Tapping on one of the chains will allow you to start digging in deeper:


You can now choose the theme you want to explore in the list under the verse header. I chose 2175, Enlightenment, under John 1:5, which brought up the following results:


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


When you are done with this chain, you can tap the back arrow in the upper left corner of the split window to return to an earlier screen.


There are also some other gems available that are a little less obvious. For this example, I have moved to 1 Samuel 17:1. In the People section, you will see David listed.


When I tap on 'David', the Resource Guide automatically shows 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:Map_Enlarged.jpg

Setting Up Your Study Bible for Parallel Reading

Another way to use this resource is in the Parallel tab. Using the steps above, I have once again chosen  the New International Version (NIV) in the main window. 


Tap on the green bar at the bottom of the screen to open the Study Center:


Tap on the Parallel tab and choose the NIV Thompson Chain Study Bible Notes from the list:


When you have followed the above steps, you will see the Bible text and Study Notes open side by side like in the screenshot below. When using this method, the app will save your place and allow you to focus on just these two resources.


When you scroll in the Bible text, the study notes will follow along. You may notice the icons in the lower right corner. These control how the Parallel window links to the main window. 

Unlinked - This icon indicates that the windows are currently unlinked. If you scroll in the main window while this icon is showing, the Resource Guide/Parallel window will not scroll along. Tapping the Unlinked icon will Relink the windows.
Linked - This icon indicates that the Windows are currently linked. If you scroll in the main window, the Resource Guide/Parallel window will follow along. However, if you scroll in the Resource Guide/Parallel window the link will be broken. If you tap this icon, you will lock the window link. 
Locked Link - This icon indicates that the Window Link is locked. When the link is locked, the link will not break, unless you tap this icon again to unlock the link. 

Accessing Additional Maps, Charts, and Content

Study Bibles often come with additional content like articles, maps, charts, concordances, etc. You can find that content using the list view in the Verse Chooser. If you are not seeing the list view, tap the Settings icon in the upper right corner and select "Use List Layout".



Using the Study Bible Notes with Other Bible Translations

Another great thing about using a study Bible in the Olive Tree Bible App is that the Study Notes can be used with any Bible translation! You can pair the NIV Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible with another translation like the NKJV or The Message or you can pair the notes with a Strong's or Word Study Bible.

To do this, simply tap on the Library icon and select your desired Bible. It will then open in your main reading window.

If you have more questions about how to use this resource, e-mail Customer Support at

Have more questions? Submit a request