Here’s a question I get on occasion, about where the Bible’s chapters and verses came from (did the original authors write that way???). I’ve drawn my answer from my textbook on the NT, and since the answer is so brief, I’ll attach another couple of paragraphs drawn from a nearby page in the book, dealing with another somewhat related and even more important (for many people) problem: when did scholars start to think that the differences in our manuscripts were a VERY big deal?
About the numbers of the verses, who put them? Who divided the text in verses and chapters, and when?
Here is my answer taken from The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings:
Given the fact that ancient manuscripts did not use punctuation, paragraph divisions, or even spaces to separate words, it will come as no surprise to learn that the chapter and verse divisions found in modern translations of the New Testament are not original (as if Paul, when writing Romans, would think to number his sentences and call them verses!). In order to facilitate the reading of these books—especially in public—scribes began to make chapter-like divisions as early as …
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