Talk:Chapters and verses of the Bible

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I have attempted to make the Pitfalls section sound less like a street preacher on his soapbox and more like a neutral description of the issue. It's not enough, but if you saw the previous version, then I hope you'll agree that it's a start. If someone would like to take on the next stage of this editing job, I'd appreciate it. (Being bold, as the author notes below, is a Wikipedia value, but being biased or preachy is not. Please use calm facts, and cite your sources, instead of dumping your polemical rantings here.)

"Chapters came about after the Bible had been divided into verses. Chapters were added by Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro between 1244 and 1248 A.D. He did this when he was preparing a concordance of the Bible."

"The modern chapter divisions came about through Stephen Langton, a professor at the University of Paris and afterwards an Archbishop of Canterbury. He put the modern divisions into place around 1227 A.D. Since the Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 this pattern has been followed."

These two paragraphs seems a bit incoherent.

If you feel a change is needed, feel free to make it yourself! Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone — including you — can edit any article by clicking the edit this page tab at the top of the page. You don't even need to log in, although there are several reasons why you might want to. Wikipedia convention is to be bold and not be afraid of making mistakes. If you're not sure how editing works, have a look at How to edit a page, or try out the Sandbox to test your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. — Matt 20:10, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Verification of verses, etc.[edit]

I removed the following line from the first paragraph, on the basis that it should be assumed that we've checked our facts: "A computerized check plus manual verifying have shown these values to be correct." It seems weird to have that in there, but if there's a good reason I won't object to it being put back in. Seqsea (talk) 05:43, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

a) There are a number of sources that claim that there are 31 173 verses in the Protestant Bible. I _think_ that either the talk page, or the main article should explain the discrepency. [Half the reason I am on this page, is to find out how people get 31 173 verses.]

b) Versification Schemes are the bane of Computer Bible Study Programmers. There are number of different v11n schemes. AFAIK, none of them have 31 173 verses. It might be useful to list the different v11n schemes, and how they differ. Or point to an external site that has that information. joanthon

Worldwide view[edit]

The article repeatedly cites English scholars and translators. Do other translations of the Bible use chapters and verses at all? Do they use completely different systems of versification? Or did everybody adopt the English system? Fishal 14:52, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Point taken, but please note that this is the English Wikipedia. In my understanding, "worldwide view" means that the article should not be limited to just one country (e.g. the UK or Australia) while ignoring other countries. On an article concerning literature in the English Wikipedia, giving precedence to English-language views is entirely appropriate. Thus, I'm removing the warning notice.
However, I do agree with you that we should add perspectives from other languages, all the same, as soon as we can get them. So far, there are Suomi and Hebrew versions of this article. I can read a little bit of Biblical Hebrew, but not modern Hebrew, so unfortunately I can't benefit from their featured article to make improvements here. ~ Chitu 12:40, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Do you wnat the discussion of Chapters and Verese to be limited to the protestant Bible, or include the Bible as used/defined by the different branches of Christianity? How fast will the article be vandalized/edited/deleted, if books like 3 Corinthians, or 2 Clement are included/discussed in the main text?

1 Enoch is more likely to make the article volatile. Clinkophonist 21:48, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

1 Thes. 5:17 changed to 1 Thes. 5:16[edit]

According to the Textus Receptus and the 21st edition of Nestle's Greek text, verse 16 is shorter.

Number of Books for the Orthodox[edit]

According to the Wikipedia article on the Old Testament, the Orthodox have more books of the Bible than the Catholics. According to the list on the right, the Eastern Orthodox have 4 more books than the Roman Catholics. The Russian Orthodox have one more book than the Eastern Orthodox because of 2 (or 4) Esdras, and the Oriental Orthodox have 2 more than the Russian Orthodox because of Jubilees and Enoch. All of these mean that the Eastern Orthodox have 77 books, the Russian Orthodox 78, and the Oriental Orthodox 80. (The figures for all of the Orthodox may be one less than real, though, because that list on the aforementioned article says that the Letter of Jeremiah is considered as part of Baruch in Roman Catholic Tradition. Does this mean that it is an extra book in the Orthodox traditions?)

I'm removing the statement that the Eastern Orthodox have 73 books in their canon for now. I'll add the above figures or their corrections in a few days or as soon as I find out where the Letter of Jeremiah is placed in the Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox canons. Hairouna 03:50, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

According to the article Books of the Bible [as it currently stands), most Orthodox have 5 more books than Roman Catholics, so I'll put 78 into this article. - Fayenatic london (talk) 18:19, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

There may need to be some more clarification for "most orthodox Christians". "Orthodox" carries more than one meaning (as the link "orthodox" leads to proves) and the wording as is can make it difficult to determine which "orthodox" is meant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:23, 6 May 2010 (UTC)


Two problems with this section. One, the example of "There is no God" isn't as relevant as it could be (also, I'm not aware that it's "oft-quoted"). It would be better to give an example of a verse that, without context, is easily misinterpreted, or just not to bother with an example. Two, the last sentence:

"However, when the Bible was written, it was meant to be deeply pondered, sequentially studied, and fully considered."

A little preachy and unnecessary. FAL 17:57, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

And long overdue, this POV-pushing lecture is now gone. - Jason A. Quest (talk) 13:53, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
The "last sentence" quoted above was removed some time ago. The remainder was long overdue for sourcing, but what POV did you consider it was pushing? - Fayenatic (talk) 18:31, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Semi Protection[edit]

I think that this article should have semi protection as it is often subject to vandalism, by non-registered users. Bballoakie 23:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)



External links[edit]

Here is the list of external links that were in the article until today, when I deleted most as unnecessary (similar to each other and not adding to the specific subject of the article). I kept only Jewish, Vulgate, and one multilingual bible site. Please discuss here before adding any such links back into the article. - Fayenatic london (talk) 20:26, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I deleted the following links, on the grounds that they do not discuss the specific subject of this article:


I thought this article was very useful, important, and of a pretty good level. I was just wondering if we could get some more references to many of the things in here. It would give it more foundation :-) JeopardyTempest 08:07, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Question about different numberings[edit]

As the introduction to this article correctly states, there are scattered places where the verse numbering in Christian Bibles differs from Hebrew editions.

An example is Jeremiah chapters 30-31, where the verse בעת ההיא ("At that time") is counted as the first verse in chapter 31 for Christian editions, while numbered as the last verse in chapter 30 in most Hebrew editions.

My question: Does anyone know of a complete, accurate list of these sorts of differences between the editions? I ask because we require such a list for technical reasons in our current attempt to set up an edition of the Bible at Hebrew Wikisource.

My thanks to anyone who can provide a reference! Dovi 07:16, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

The versification data in the documentation for STEP and OSIS specifications is probably the most comprehensive authoritative reference you'll find. jonathon 05:24, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, but I have no idea what there are. Could you explain and add links? Dovi 08:26, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
STEP documentation can be found at jonathon 18:45, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
OSIS documentation can be found at

jonathon 18:45, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

I found some info on OSIS, which is relevant to add to this discussion page anyway:

Open Scripture Information Standard (OSIS) is an XML schema for marking up scripture and related text.[1]

CCEL/OSIS Reference Systems gives examples of other variations between numbering systems in Christian bibles. Psalm 9:22-39 in the Vulgate is Ps 10:1-18 in modern English bibles.

The OSIS Manual[2] includes:

Every osisText also needs to specify what reference or versification scheme any osisRefs within it refer to. This may or may not be the same work. Depending on how finely you distinguish things, there are several major versification traditions, and countless finegrained variations. For the present, we identify and reserve names for these major traditional reference systems:

  • NRSVA New Revised Standard Version with Apocrypha
  • NA27 Nestle-Aland, 27th Edition of the Greek New Testament
  • KJV King James Version or Authorized Version (AV)
  • LXX Septuagint
  • MT Masoretic Text. Hebrew tradition varies in several respects, the best known being that it numbers what is given as a title for Psalms in most English translations as verse 1, and the beginning of the psalm in such a translation as verse 2.
  • SamPent the Samaritan Pentateuch used a quite different numbering system.
  • Synodal Russian
  • Vugl Vulgate
  • Loeb This system is used for most classical literature, though many major works have other systems as well.

So... the plot thickens! I have not yet located a list of the major differences, which I think would be of encyclopedic value. - Fayenatic (talk) 09:53, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

That list was/is part of The e-Sword Utility Program FAQ. There are copyright, author's rights, and similar intellectual property rights issues that would have to be dealt with, prior to putting it up on Wikipedia. jonathon 18:45, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Jewish Tanakh[edit]

The opening statement is in error. ("Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures, The New Translation" published in 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society of America contains all 39 books of the Protestant 'Old Testament,' but organized differently)RodMorgan (talk) 16:26, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't think anybody is claiming that the content of the Tanakh and that of the Protestant Old Testament is different. However, those two works use different versification schemes. Part of that difference is whether or not a book is counted as chapter in another book, or as a book in its own right. Trei Asar is one book, using the traditional Jewish versification scheme, but 12 books using the KJV versification scheme. Such differences is why it is correct to say that 24 books for Jews. jonathon (talk) 21:49, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Rabbi Isaac Nathan[edit]

Does anyone know whether the "Rabbi Isaac Nathan" referred to, but not linked, in the text, is the Rabbi Isaac Nathan ben Kalonymus, on whom we do have an article? (obviously, if it is the same person, it would be good to have the link). seglea (talk) 16:00, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes - and both refer to his work on the first Hebrew Bible concordance. Well done. - Fayenatic (talk) 18:19, 20 May 2010 (UTC)


The Statistics section was deleted by user:Jnothman on 1 December 2009, with the following edit summary: Having discussed the variability in chapter and verse divisions, let alone canon, in different bible versions, statistics are not appropriate.

I beg to differ with his conclusion, and believe that many readers will find some of these facts and the cited sources useful. - Fayenatic (talk) 22:51, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

The statistical data is meaningless, because it omits up to 30 books, 600 chapters, and 10 000 verses, depending upon which Canon one uses, and which v11n scheme for that Canon is being used.jonathon (talk) 13:40, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Maybe "arbitrary", but not "meaningless", as it states which canon and translation is used. As for v11n, please could you add an explanation of it to this article or to versification? - Fayenatic (talk) 22:31, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

v11n is a numeronym. DFH (talk) 15:41, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
"arbitrary" is probably not the right word either. It's just one "particular" v11n; there being no agreed "universal" v11n. DFH (talk) 15:44, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Length of Chapters[edit]

As far as I can see, most chapters are far less than "a page or two." Unless somebody can come up with statistics, I think this part of the sentence should be removed. (talk) 22:13, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

There are 1189 chapters in a Protestant bible. Looking at various popular editions on Amazon, these are usually printed on 1150-1300 pages. The average chapter is therefore just over one per page. I'll change it to "a page or so". - Fayenatic (talk) 19:12, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Merged sections[edit]

On 5 June 2009, an editor (who has since been blocked) moved a section into this article [3] from Bible translations [4]. It is probably right to have only one article on the subject, but the material now needs to be rewritten and merged into the article, rather than going over similar ground again. - Fayenatic (talk) 19:04, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Table of biblical books is 1.) in need of cleanup and 2.) doesn't really belong here.[edit]

The table of the biblical books at the beginning of the article is in need of cleanup. In some places it leaves empty lines to align corresponding books, in some it doesn't. The ">" marks in the otherwise empty second columns (in the Maccabees part of the table) make no sense - the Roman Catholic Maccabees books are NOT combinations of several books from the Orthodox list. Or what else are those marks supposed to mean?

More importantly, the table doesn't even really belong here. This is supposed to be an article about chapters and verses in the bible, not about the differences and similarities of the biblical canon in several denominations. Therefore I'd suggest removing it and all info on the canon question from this article, except as far as it is really needed for the subject. What do you think? -- (talk) 18:22, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks – other editors agreed with you and this was done. – Fayenatic (talk) 09:20, 13 September 2011 (UTC)


Someone needs to compile the statistics of the Catholic Bible as well, as it's used by the vast majority of Christians around the world. As the King James is used for Protestantism, the statistics should be taken from the equivalent Catholic version, the Douay-Rheims Challoner revision. Also, statistics should be compiled for the Eastern Orthodox Bible (that is, the Septuagint combined with the Ecclesiastical Text, which is much like the TR, a Byzantine type-text) with 3,4 Maccabees, Esdras A, etc., although I don't know which version should be used (the Orthodox Study Bible has notoriously bad versification, and the EOB is turning out poorly, and only the NT is done). Maybe the use of the New English Translation of the Septuagint combined with the KJV NT? If no one takes this up, I'll eventually get it done, but I could use some help.JohnChrysostom (talk) 01:36, 14 December 2011 (UTC)