NASHVILLE (BP) -- Like the fellow who thought he'd be crossing visible longitude
lines on his ocean voyage to Europe, some may think that the chapter and verse
divisions were on the sheet when apostles such as John (or psalmists such as
David) wrote down Scripture.
But no, they wrote letters and poetry and Gospels and other history without
numbering. Those markers were added centuries later. Indeed, when Jesus referred
to Exodus 3:6 in Mark 12:26, He simply located it in "in the passage about the
burning bush." Neither the "12:26" nor the "3:6" were yet in place.
To make a long story short, biblical scholars were making divisions of one sort
or another in the centuries following the books' original composition, but it
wasn't until the early 1200s that we got our current chapter setup, thanks to
Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton. As for the verses, Jewish scribes had
already done work on the Old Testament around the year 900, and their work was
wedded to Langton's. But the church had to wait another 300 years for its New
Testament breakdown, performed by a French-born printer, Robert Estienne or
Etienne (also know by the Latinized version of his name, "Stephanus").
The entire post, "Who Put the '3:16' into John 3:16?" can be read here.