Should chapters and verses be in the Bible?
This is not a trivia question. It goes to the heart of what underpins our faith. The Bible was written by 40 different authors, over a 1,600 year period. Why is it that these particular writings were chosen, and drawn together? And then, more than a thousand years later, men added chapter and verse divisions. Was that something artificial? Answer these questions and we lay a solid foundation to be strong in times of uncertainty.
Should chapters and verses be in the Bible?
Should chapters and verses be in the Bible? Yes. It's not simply that the divisions allow us to quickly find certain passages. It's that God created a numeric structure in Scripture ... a framework that allows us to look for patterns, and through those patterns to identify the original writings.
There are 1,533 verses in Genesis. 1533 is 3 x 7 x 73. 3 7 7 3.
And the first verse of the Bible highlights this pattern ... 3 7 7 3. Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
In Hebrew it's seven words (with three words here, and three words here): בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ
Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numeric value. So, each word in Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew has a numeric value. The total value of all seven words is 2,701. And 2,701 is 37 x 73 ... 3 7 7 3.
Also, there are 3 letters here and 7 letters here and 7 letters here and 3 letters here.
The Hebrew words in this middle block are: ברא אלהים את השמים ואת “… God created the heavens and (alef tav)”. There are 18 letters in the five words. 18 is the numeric value of the Hebrew word חי. “chet” = 8 and “yud” = 10. 8 + 10 is 18. חי means “life” in Hebrew. In Jewish thought 18 is symbolic of life.
God created the heavens, and God created life. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)
Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life …” (John 14:6)
Life, the life, everlasting life, the life that is truly life, is found in faith in Jesus.
Also, Jesus said: “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” (John 10:38, John 17:21). Then Jesus said, those who believe in Him will be in Him and He will be in them (John 14:20, John 17:21).
This Truth was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Psalm 118:8 says: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” Jesus is the LORD. Take refuge in Him. In faith, we hide ourselves in Him.
Note: That's chapter 118 of Psalms. And verse 8. Chapter and verse are not here by accident. 1 1 8 8. 18 inside 18 ... it's a symbol ... life within life. You in Him. He in you. Through faith.
Now, to the New Testament. The New Testament has 7,938 verses. 7,938 is 3 x 7 x 7 x 3 x 18. 3 7 7 3 and 18 ... the pattern from Genesis ... 3 7 7 3 multiplied by 18 ... the number that symbolizes life. Life, in Him, is revealed in the 7,938 verses of the New Testament. If we didn't have this exact number of verses in the New Testament then we couldn't be talking about a relevant pattern.
There are 1189 chapters in the Bible. There is a middle chapter, the shortest chapter in the Bible … Psalm 117, which is a psalm of praise for the LORD. Jesus is the LORD. There are 594 chapters before the middle chapter, and 594 chapters after the middle chapter … a total of 1188 chapters. 18 inside 18. The life of Jesus, inside the one who trusts in Jesus. And Jesus is revealed in all the chapters of the Bible.
By the way, 1,188 is 66 x 18. 18 ... Life. And life in Jesus is found in the 66 books of the Bible.
There are 66 books in the Bible … 39 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament. The first book of the New Testament is the Gospel of Matthew. It is the 40th book in the Bible.
40 is a number that shows up in the plain text of the Bible in many places. At the flood it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses was 40 years in Egypt, 40 years in Midian and 40 years leading the Israelites in the desert. Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. The periods of time were literal, but 40 shows up so often in the Bible that we have to conclude that 40 is also symbolic … of a period of testing.
There are 31,082 verses in the Bible. That’s an even number … so, in the middle, are two verses. They are in Psalm 102. It means that before the middle two verses and after the middle two verses there are a total of 31,080 verses. 31,080 is 37 x 7 x 3 x 40. 3 7 7 3 and 40. The pattern from Genesis (3 7 7 3) and the same pattern in the number of verses in the New Testament … 3 7 7 3 ... multiplied by 40.
The 1000th chapter of the Bible is John 3. In John 3 Jesus says: “You must be born again …” Then He makes plain, for the first time, how someone comes to be born again: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone believing in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). It’s a promise. Meet the condition … be believing in Jesus … and you receive the promise … you will live forever.
Important chapter … the 1000th chapter. There are 999 chapters before the 1000th chapter, and 189 chapters to the end of the Bible. 999 is 3 x 3 x 3 x 37. 189 is 3 x 3 x 3 x 7. That's a pattern. It confirms the number of chapters in the Bible. And it confirms the 1000th chapter.
The 66 books of the Bible are in our Bibles, in a specific order, that was pre-determined by God. The chapters of the Bible are there, a specific number, in a specific order, pre-determined by God. And verses are pre-determined by God. Book, chapter and verse divisions are the framework of the Bible.
The numeric patterns in Genesis, patterns that flow into the New Testament, prove that God set up a mathematical structure in the original writings. If there is a book out of place, or if there is a chapter out of place, or if there is a verse out of place, then it will show up in the patterns.
The starting point for identifying the original text of the Bible is to see if book, chapter and verse divisions conform to patterns. If they don't then something is wrong. Maybe, just maybe, something was added to what was in the original writing. We can find out..... by examining the numbers. It's not mysticism. It's to verify what's right.
Do you see enough to allow yourself to believe that God has sealed the Word with an underlying numeric structure? There's more, much more. The Bible is amazing.
To check verse totals go to this website … LivingGreekNT.org. At the top of the Home Page is a tab for “Resources”. It’s a drop-down menu. Click on the link to “Verses in the Bible” and you can download a PDF with the totals, book by book, and all you need to know about the original writings, and what's meant to be there.
- Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness.
- There were forty days from Jesus’ resurrection to His ascension to heaven.
- Before the flood, it rained for forty days and forty nights.
- Moses was forty years in Egypt and forty years in Midian, and he led the Israelites for forty years in the wilderness
- Moses was forty days and forty nights on Mt Sinai receiving the tablets of stone from God. Moses broke the tablets in the face of Israel’s rebellion. Then he was a further forty days and forty nights on Mt Sinai receiving the Law.
- The twelve spies were in Canaan for forty days.
- For forty days Goliath challenged Israel each morning and evening.
- David reigned over Israel for forty years.
- Solomon reigned over Israel for forty years.
Why the emphasis on forty?
The Bible doesn’t say. But it’s reasonable to make an assumption.
These are literal periods of time, but it seems that forty also symbolizes a period of testing. The hand of God is on view.
Now, every letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numeric value, and the Bible phrase יד יהוה means “the hand of the LORD”, and יד יהוה has a total numeric value of forty. That seems to be by design.
Numbers in the Bible are symbolic.
Fifty is another number that stands out.
- The Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers on the Day of Pentecost.
- Pentecost was 50 days after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
- Under the Old Covenant, the 50th year was a Jubilee year.
- In the 50th year slaves had to be set free.
- The Law was given to Israel 50 days after the Passover and the Exodus from Egypt.
- In the Law, a feast was set for Israel, 50 days after Passover. It was called the Feast of Shavuot. It was to commemorate the new harvest. Shavuot means “sevens”. “… count seven sabbaths … and the day after the seventh sabbath (the 50th day) you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD.” (see Lev 23:16)
50 represents freedom … power … harvest.
But 50 is expressed here as 7 x 7 … seven sevens … and then the day after is the 50th day. Why the emphasis on seven?
Seven gets a lot of emphasis in the Bible. It seems to be a special number to God.
- There were seven days of creation
- There were seven good years and seven years of famine in Egypt.
- In the seventh year, Hebrew slaves were set free.
- There were seven feasts for the LORD, and seven days for each of the two main feasts.
- Seven priests with seven trumpets went ahead for seven days, and on the final day, Israel marched seven times around Jericho.
And when we come to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, sevens are on view everywhere.
- Seven churches and seven spirits before the throne
- Seven golden lampstands.
- Seven stars, being the seven angels of the churches
- Seven torches of fire.
- Seven seals
- Seven horns
- Seven trumpets
- Seven thunders
- The dragon has seven heads and seven crowns.
- There were seven golden bowls, seven plagues, and seven times we find the expression, “Blessed is …”
Then there is the number eight.
Jewish males are circumcised on the eighth day after birth. Jesus was circumcised when He was eight days old.
Eight follows seven. Seven days in a week. Eight is the day after the Sabbath. Jesus rose from the grave on the day after the Sabbath … the eighth day.
Eight seems to represent … new birth … new beginnings.
We are touching on a few significant numbers in the Bible. But there are many numbers … seemingly random, but they aren’t ...
David had 37 mighty men. Jesus told the disciples where to fish and they pulled up 153 large fish. Does 153 represent something?
The Bible doesn’t waste words. The Bible speaks in practical, but also in deeply spiritual terms, and the Bible records that the catch was exactly 153 fish.
666. In the book of Revelation we learn that the number of the beast is 666, and we are told to calculate his number. If we are wise … if we have understanding … we will calculate his number.
Two is an interesting number. In God’s view there are two groups … Jews and Gentiles. In Christ, the two become one … one new man. Israel divided into two … the tribes in the south (Judah) and the tribes to the north (Ephraim). Then the LORD told Ezekiel to act out a prophecy (see Ezek 37:15-23). A day was coming when Judah and Ephraim would become one, again.
It’s like marriage … “… a man shall … be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
There seems to be something symbolic in the number two.
- Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- Peter James and John.
- “There are three that testify … the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three agree in one.” (1 John 5:8).
There were twelve tribes of Israel. And twelve apostles in the New Testament.
But it gets a little complicated. And as it was for Israel, so a pattern repeats in the New Testament.
Out of the twelve tribes, Levi was set apart. Levi had no inheritance of land. The LORD was his inheritance. Twelve became eleven, by one count.
But Joseph married outside the land, and Joseph had two sons, and Joseph’s father, Jacob, brought the two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to the fore, to receive an inheritance. Twelve became thirteen, by a different count.
In the New Testament, Judas betrayed Jesus and was lost. Twelve became eleven.
A replacement was chosen, Matthias, (Acts 2:23-26), so eleven became twelve, again.
Then the LORD chose Paul to be an apostle … someone chosen, after the others (Acts 9). Twelve became thirteen.
We’d hardly notice these things, except that there’s a symmetry between the Old and New Testaments. Is that symbolic?
There are 66 books in the Bible … the complete revelation of God.
27 books in the New Testament. That’s 3 x 3 x 3 = 27. Three symbolizes testimony. 3 x 3 x 3 seems to be testimony emphasized.
Out of the 66, there are 39 books in the Old Testament. That’s 3 x 13.
Some people are superstitious about the number 13. But Jewish males become men … they have their Bar Mitzvah at age thirteen.
In the Old Testament, the four-letter word that represents the name of the LORD is יהוה in Hebrew. The numeric value of the word is 26. 26 is 2 x 13.
Is 13 bad? Where does the idea come from?
Every letter of the Greek alphabet has a numeric value. The expression … “… who is called the devil and Satan …” in the New Testament (Rev 12:9), in the Greek is: Ο ΚΑΛΟΥΜΕΝΟΣ ΔΙΑΒΟΛΟΣ ΚΑΙ Ο ΣΑΤΑΝΑΣ. It has a total numeric value of 2197, which can be expressed as 13 x 13 x 13.
The devil is evil, and the Bible emphasizes that. 13 x 13 x 13.
But, in the same Greek New Testament it says that there was a notice on the cross, above Jesus’ head, that read: “Jesus the Nazarene”. In the Greek: ΙΗΣΟΥΣ Ο ΝΑΖΩΡΑΙΟΣ. hat name and title also has a total numeric value of 2197, which equals 13 x 13 x 13.
That could be confusing. But, the Bible says, “… Jesus, who knew no sin, was made to be sin on our behalf, that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (see 2 Cor 5:21). Thirteen represents sin. But thirteen also represents atonement.
God loves us. So He reached out to rescue us. He bought us … through the blood of Jesus … if we accept that.
What is stated in the plain text of the Bible is more than sufficient to find salvation in Christ.
But, just out of sight in the Bible, is a watermark of God … a seal of His hand of design ... a mathematical structure in the Hebrew and in the Greek.
One day, it’s going to be plain for everyone to see.