The Bible consists of 66 distinct books that were written in different times and places. When originally compiled, the books of the Bible did not include chapters and verses. As such, these divisions are not inspired, yet are very helpful in quickly finding and citing biblical passages.
When were the books of the Bible divided into chapters and verses? Who did the dividing?
Our modern chapter divisions of the Bible were created by Stephen Langton and were completed around AD 1227. Wycliffe's Bible (completed in 1382 before the printing press) was the first Bible to use Langton's chapter divisions. Since this time, English Bible translations have followed the pattern, with other languages adopting the same division system.
Bible verses were created much later. The verses of the Old Testament were developed by a Jewish rabbi named Nathan in 1448. The New Testament's verses were developed in 1551 by Robert Estienne (also known by the name Stephanus). His divisions were first used in the Greek New Testament published in 1551 and were used again in a French Bible in 1553.
The influential Geneva Bible from the sixteenth century was the first Bible to include both chapter and verse divisions for both Old and New Testaments. Most Bibles published since these times have continued to use this system of chapters and verses. Biblical citations generally follow the book name followed by the chapter number, a colon, and the verse number or numbers (such as Genesis 1:1). Some interesting chapter and verse statistics of the Bible include:
-In total, the Bible includes 1,189 chapters (979 in the Old Testament, 260 in the New Testament; Apocrypha not included).
-The Bible consists of 31,173 verses (23,214 in the Old Testament, 7,959 in the New Testament).
-The longest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 119 (176 verses). The shortest chapter is Psalm 117 (2 verses).
-The shortest verse of the Bible (in English) is John 11:35: "Jesus wept." The longest verse of the Bible (in English) is Esther 8:9.
-Five books consist of only one chapter (Obadiah, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, Jude). The book with the most chapters is Psalms (150 chapters).
The canon of Scripture - What is it?
Were there different authors of the books of the Bible? Who were the authors?
How is the Bible inspired? What does it mean for the Bible to be inspired?
Is the Bible still relevant today?
What are the different English Bible translations?
Truth about the Bible