The Cambridge edition of the King James Bible that I have shows passage (or paragraph) divisions throughout. I used to think that these were related to the Eusebian Canons, but this doesn't seem to be the case. Matthew 14:6-12, for example, belongs to Canon VI.145, but my Cambridge edition (which I think is a reprint of a c.1900 edition) shows paragraph markings at 14:3 and then at 14:13.

Who determined these markings and how?



... Today’s Chapters and Verses

Eventually, the Christians developed a need for a more precise way of citing scriptural passages for the Old and New Testaments, especially in the creation of concordances. The Christians incorporated in their biblical texts the Jewish paragraph and verse divisions of the Old Testament and the medieval chapter system of the New Testament.

The creator of the system of chapters that is used to the present time is Stephen Langton (1150–1228), a professor of theology in Paris and later the archbishop of Canterbury. [20] Langton introduced his chapter numbers into the Latin Bible—the Vulgate—in 1205, from which they were transferred in the ensuing centuries to Hebrew manuscripts and printed editions of the Old Testament as well as to Greek manuscripts and printed editions of the New Testament.

The system of verse divisions that has prevailed to the present was the work of a Parisian book printer, Robert Estienne (Latinized as Stephanus; 1503–59). In the printing of his fourth edition of the Greek New Testament in 1551, he added his complete system of numbered verses for the first time. For the Old Testament, Stephanus adopted the verse divisions already present in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible, and within Langton’s chapters, he assigned numbers to the verses. Following his own sense of logic as to the sense of the text, Stephanus took it upon himself, also within the framework of Langton’s chapters, to divide and number the verses in the New Testament. His son reported that he did this work as he regularly traveled between Paris and Lyon. Whereas he probably did much of the work in his overnight stays at inns, his detractors spread the story that he did it while riding on his horse, and they attributed what they thought to be unfortunate verse divisions to slips of the pen when the horse stumbled. In 1555, Stephanus published the Latin Vulgate—the first whole Bible divided into numbered chapters and verses. Soon, those divisions became standard in the printed editions of the scriptures in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and eventually in all of the modern languages. The first English Bible to have the numbered chapters and verses of Langton and Stephanus was the Geneva Bible in 1560.

Some scholars have criticized Stephanus’s verse divisions as seemingly arbitrary, citing the fact that although they often coincide with a single sentence in English, sometimes they include several sentences, sometimes they divide a single sentence, and sometimes they separate direct quotations from the situation of the speaker. But clearly the advantages of organizing the text for reading and finding passages far outweigh any disadvantages.

In the King James Bible, the translators typographically created a new, separate paragraph in each verse by indenting the verse number and first word and captitalizing the first letter of the first word, even if it was in the middle of a sentence. [21] ...

[Images of the original KJV 1611 showing the above:

https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/wall-decorations/prints/beginning-genesis-1-1611-king-james-bible/id-f_10903621/?utm_content=test&gclid=CjwKCAjw06LZBRBNEiwA2vgMVVcmPSgNcmQLqRUYV633ZPx2gpyHdhWkBhfECJ2lCl11XUIIMg_OrBoCDN4QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds ]

Thanks for the question. Interesting info found.

  • I think OP was asking about passages (groups of verses), not just verse and chapter divisions.
    – Kevin H
    Sep 18 '18 at 13:08

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