Chapter and Verse?

Q. When and why were the Old Testament and the New Testament divided into chapters and different verses? When I look at many of them there seems to be no rhyme or reason why they stop or start. Some verses are short, others much longer.

Patti, via email

A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:

The Bible was divided into chapters and verses to enable readers to find their way in this large volume of material. The Old Testament now consists of 1,074 chapters and 27,570 verses, and the New Testament 260 chapters and 7,956 verses. Imagine trying to find your way in the Bible without these divisions.

Mordecai Nathan, a Jew, divided the Old Testament into chapters in 1445. He and another scholar named Athias generally are credited with the numbering of verses in the Old Testament.

Stephen Langton, an archbishop of Canterbury, worked out our present chapter divisions around the year 1227. In 1551, an English printer, Robert Stephens, subdivided the New Testament chapters into verses. His version has been further refined in modern versions of the New Testament.