V.19. Were the Chapter and Verse Divisions Always In the Bible?


Question: Are the chapter and verse divisions, as we have them today in our Bibles, the same as in the original manuscripts?

The answer is, “No.”  The books which compose our Bible were, when written, not broken up into chapters and verses as they are today.  The modern chapter divisions were probably made by one Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, England, who died in 1228 A.D.; although, they are sometimes attributed to Cardinal Hugo (died in 1263), who used them in the preparation of a concordance to the Latin Vulgate.  They are used in the English versions, from the Wycliffe’s Version (1382) to the present day.

The modern verse divisions were first made by Robert Stephanus (Stevens) of Paris, a printer, for his Greek New Testament published in 1551 A.D.

The first entire Bible where these chapter and verse divisions were used was Stephen’s edition of the Latin Vulgate in 1555.  The first English New Testament to have both chapter and verse divisions was the Geneva Bible in 1560.

These divisions are really convenient for reference, memory, and quotation purposes.  We wonder, today, how we could ever do without them.  It must be remembered; though, that they are man-made.  They should not be permitted to make the Bible appear to be made up of hundreds of detached fragments, independent statements, nor disconnected sayings independent of each other.  This would be misleading and lead to gross misconception.  The divisions were probably only put there for easier reading and memorization, which is a great help to those who want to study and learn God’s word.

 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs every Christian that they are to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  What Satan fears the most is you, knowing the word of God!


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