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Article 0131 - Bible Chapters

When Was the Bible Divided Into Chapters and Verses?

Jon Gary Williams

When originally written the books of the Bible did not contain chapters and verses. Such divisions, of course, are not inspired yet they are extremely helpful in locating passages.

The modern chapter divisions of the Bible were created by Stephen Langton, "Archbishop" of Canterbury, and were completed in 1227 A.D.

The Wycliffe English Bible, completed in 1382, was the first to use Langton's chapter divisions. Since that time all English translations have adopted this pattern. Translations in other languages also chose to use this same chapter division system.

Bible verses were created much later. The verses of the Old Testament were developed in 1448 by a Jewish rabbi named Nathan. The New Testament verses were developed in 1551 by Robert Estienne (or Stephanus). His divisions were also used in the Greek New Testament published in 1551.

The Geneva Bible, completed in 1575, was the first Bible to include both chapter and verse divisions for both Old and New Testaments. Most Bibles published since then have continued to use this system of chapters and verses.