There are many dangers in ministry. Jesus warned about the yeast of the Pharisees. Paul warned about engaging foolish controversies. But what about enumerated chapters and verses in the Bible-are those numbers added by editors a threat to sound teaching? John Dunham from the International Bible Society addresses their unexpected impact.
What was the last thing you ate? If it came from a package, you could probably scan down the list of ingredients and find high fructose corn syrup. What is that stuff anyway? Suffice it to say, it's a readily available, cheap substance that makes food taste good. A manufacturer's dream. But is it good for you? Does it harm you? Think for a moment how ubiquitous this stuff is. We take for granted that our food will have high fructose corn syrup, so we eat it without a second thought.
You know what else is like that? The chapters and verses in the Bible. What was the last Scripture passage you read? While you were reading, you probably encountered various numbers strewn throughout. If you had seen those numbers in any other book, it would have seemed odd. But chapter and verse numbers have become part of the fabric of the Bible over the last few centuries. Are these numbers good for you? Will they harm your Bible reading? Chapter and verse markings have become ubiquitous, and people rarely stop to question the ramifications of their inclusion in the sacred text.
So why do we have them anyway? Chapter numbers were first added to the Bible in the 1200s to facilitate the process of reading Scripture publicly. The breaks were inserted to make the readings approximately the same length. Verse numbers entered in the 1500s in order to help scholars locate specific phrases as they worked in the burgeoning ...