Friday, May 1, 2020

Verse Numbering: Boon or Bane?

By Ron Adams

     The Bible is a marvelous and inspired book. It has been translated into many languages and many English versions are available. To make it easy for the readers to find certain passages or statements, the text has been divided into chapters and verses. This makes it very convenient for referencing a particular passage.
     In doing so, it has opened the door to what I call “verse plucking.” That is, one may find a numbered verse and take it out of context. Then draw ideas or teachings based on the isolated verse. The findings are not found or supported by any other verse or verses in the Bible. And often, they conflict with other passages. The ideas “found” in isolated verses have been championed by many and have convinced others that what they say the verse teaches is Bible truth.
     I have coined a phrase, “When you find a verse, put it back where you found it.” The context is so important in determining what is being said. Quite often when the verse is put back in its setting the things “found” in the isolated verse are determined to be the product of a fertile imagination or personal biases.
     Everyone who teaches or presents lessons based on the Bible must be very careful when connecting individual verses found in various passages in the Bible. The teacher must be sure that each verse referenced clearly supports what is said in the context.
     You know, sometimes it’s best to read the Bible without paying attention to the numbers.

- F.Y.C. is a monthly publication by Ron Adams. Bible references are from the NASB except where another translation is referenced. Back issues are archived at Be thoughtful and kind. All rights reserved. © 2017

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