The Bible: morphing into verse

The books of the Bible were written like most literature: in sentences and paragraphs.

However, chapter divisions were added to texts in the 12th century, presumably to make things easier for scholars. The average person wasn’t reading the Bible at that time.

Verse divisions came in the 1500s.

Those divisions are helpful when trying to direct someone to a specific phrase in a text. It’s complicated to tell someone, “See the third sentence in the fourth paragraph on the page? Yeah, the one that starts with ‘And.’”

But those divisions have hurt us in reading the Bible as literature. We focus on a verse and miss the story.

Sometimes the verse starts in mid-sentence and ends before the sentence does. And we read that one verse and think we’ll gain great meaning.

Try reading a biblical narrative as the author wrote it. All the paragraphs and all the sentences. Just like you read a magazine article or a novel.

Sometimes reading a single verse gives us incorrect meaning. Sometimes it limits the meaning or directs it down one path when the author had a wider and richer meaning in mind.

Look for sentences and paragraphs. Ignore the chapter/verse markings when reading.

You may be surprised at what you read.

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