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chapter and verse

The books of the Old and New Testaments were divided into chapters from an early time. The Pentateuch was divided by the ancient Hebrews into 54 parshioth (sections), one of which was read in the synagogue every Sabbath day (Acts 13:15). These sections were later divided into 669 sidrim (sections) of unequal length. The Prophets were divided in the same manner into haphtaroth or passages.

In the early Latin and Greek versions of the Bible, similar divisions were made. The New Testament books were also divided into portions of various lengths under different names with titles and heads or chapters. In modern times, this ancient example was imitated, and many attempts of the kind were made before the existing divisions into chapters were fixed.

The Latin Bible published by Cardinal Hugo of St. Cher in AD 1250 is generally regarded as the first Bible that was divided into our present chapters, although it appears that some of the chapters were fixed as early as AD 1059. These divisions into chapters came gradually to be adopted in the published editions of the Hebrew Bible, with some few variations, and in the Greek Scriptures. The division into verses came in AD 1551 when Robert Stephens introduced a Greek New Testament with the inclusion of verses. The first entire English Bible to have verse divisions was the Geneva Bible AD 1560.

 

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