In the year 1227, a professor at the University of Paris named Stephen Langton added chapters to all the books of the Bible. Then
Ephesians is actually a hair longer than Galatians, but the books were misarranged due to a scribal gloss. This is not surprising since the difference in length is so slight (Murphy-O'Connor, Paul the Letter-Writer, 124).
See Guthrie's New Testament Introduction, revised edition; F. F Bruce's The Letters of Paul: An Expanded Paraphrase (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965); F. F. Bruce's Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free.
in 1551, a printer named Robert Stephanus (sometimes called Robert Estienne) numbered the sentences in all the books of the New Testament."
According to Stephanus's son, the verse divisions that his father created do not do service to the sense of the text. Stephanus did not use any consistent method. While riding on horseback from Paris to Lyons, he versified the entire New Testament within Langton's chapter divisions.'
So verses were born in the pages of holy writ in the year 1551." And since that time God's people have approached the New Testament with scissors and glue, cutting and pasting isolated, disjointed sentences from different letters, lifting them out of their real-life setting, lashing them together to build floatable doctrines, and then calling it "the Word of God."
Seminarians and Bible college students alike are rarely if ever given a panoramic view of the free-flowing story of the early church with the New Testament books arranged in chronological order.' As a result, most Christians are completely out of touch with the social and historical events that lay behind each of the New Testament letters. Instead, they have turned the New Testament into a manual that can be wielded to prove any point. Chopping the Bible up into fragments makes this relatively easy to pull off.
Was this article helpful?