Greek Verse Divisions

The division of the books of Scripture into great and little sections, does, without doubt, contribute much to the clearing up of their contents; and for this reason, as well as because they found it practised in the synagogues, the Christians also divided the books of the New Testament into what the Greeks call pericopes, that is, sections, that they might be read in their order.

Each of these sections contained, under the same title, all the matters that had any relation to one another, and were solemnly read in the churches by the public readers, after the deacons had admonished the faithful to be attentive to it, crying with a loud voice, “Attendance, Let us attend.”

The name of titles was given to these sections, because each of them had its own title. Robert Stephens, the famous printer, who died at Geneva in 1559, gets the credit of being the first who made the division of the chapters of the New Testament into verses, and for the same reason as Rabbi Nathan had done before him as to the Old Testament; that is, for the sake of a concordance which he was then composing for the Greek Testament, and which was afterward printed by Henry Stephens, his son, who gives this account of the matter in his preface to the concordance. Since that time, this division of the whole Bible by chapters and verses, and the quoting of all passages in them by the numbers of both, has grown into use everywhere among us in these western parts; so that not only all Latin bibles, but all Greek ones also, as well as every other that has been printed in any of the modern languages, have followed this division. They who most approve of this division of the Bible into chapters and verses, as at present used, agree that a much more convenient one might be made; since it often happens that things which ought to be separated are joined together, and many things which ought to be joined together are divided.

An Illustrated History Of The Holy Bible;
Being a Connected Account of theRemarkable Events and Distinguished CharactersContained inThe Old and New Testaments,
- by John Kitto



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