Why the Bible Has Verses

When reading any early text written around the first to 5th century a lot of writers used to put verses in the their text. The idea was to help someone study the writing and make it easier to quote or look up later. It was a writing style no one uses any more after around 400 ad. We can see this example in ‘Against Heresies” by Irenaous “The Volsungs” or “The Origins and the deeds of the Goths”. It wasn’t just the bible, there’s a slew of early first millennium texts written this way, most people just never read them as often as the Bible.

I remember reading when scholars were translating the King James Version there was a short debate if they should exclude verse numbers. They decided to keep the verse numbers since it was already in the original Textus Receptus and other texts.

Never on my blog when I quote multiple verses in succession will I ever include the verse number to break up the quote. It’s just irrelevant to do so, and I’ve come to believe it’s more a distraction then a asset in modern writing.


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”- John 3:16-18

It’s meant to be read with out the verse numbers. The numbers are only there to help categorize the thought so it’s easy to look up later.

I feel like today verse numbers are more a distraction because people get caught up in them. Either that or they pick and choose what ever sentence they want never reading the whole chapter. They think they understand what the Bible is saying, but often they dont because they lack context.

Imagine if I quoted snow white the same way some people quote the bible… I could essentially change the whole story couldn’t I?

However that’s why there’s verses in the bible and that’s how easy it is to abuse them.


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