Now, don’t you just love the way that I’ve provided access to every line of this post. I can just tell you to go to Pontifications 22:4 to understand where my information came from. Pontifications 22:1 is a command. Right!? Okay. Ponti. 22:6 is a little awkward, but…
International Bible Society’s John Dunham unpacks the Chapter & Verse problems of reading the Bible.
Some people have recognized the deleterious effects of these numbers over the last few generations. (See for instance The Message or The Bible to Be Read as Living Literature.) Sometimes sentences are broken in unnatural places. Verse numbers cause oral readers to insert breaks where none was intended. And perhaps worst of all, the story of God and his creation becomes chopped into little bits as “God’s Owner’s Manual for Life” or “Bible Promises for Expectant Mothers Named Cathy.” People naturally look to their favorite verses to provide comfort or instruction without regard to the author’s point in the surrounding context. Similarly, chapters tell me where to stop reading, sometimes at the most inopportune times.
Verse jacking, taking verses and using them for something other than what was intended, is endemic to our culture. I hear people quote from Isaiah (55:11, for those keeping score at home) all the time saying, “God says his word won’t return to him empty.” I too have used that sentence to assure people that their quoting a Bible “verse” will surely be effective given this promise. But what happens if we look at the context? When you read the surrounding stanzas of the oracle, it emerges that God is foretelling his people’s return from exile, and further, even the removal of the curse from the creation. From Genesis and John we see that the very word of God is effective in creation. Isaiah says that God’s word will bring about re-creation, restoration and renewal.
Make a point of reading Dunham’s entire post @ Out of Ur, please.