Book, Chapter & Verse by Mark Ward

Did you know that the chapter and verse divisions in our Bibles were not always there?

History tells us that chapter divisions were added to Bibles in approximately 1382 and the verse divisions were put in around 1560. This is certainly helpful in locating particular passages of Scripture. Imagine trying to do so without the chapter and verse divisions that exist! Also, with the advent of “Computer Bibles” and even Apps for cell phones and tablets, we really have great access to God’s Word and should be able to give book, chapter and verse with ease when discussing religious matters today.

When Jesus Christ was tempted by the Devil (please read Matthew 4) our Lord responded to each temptation with, “It is written...” As we strive to be like Christ, we should take the same approach in our lives when we are tempted to sin. I am afraid that, generally speaking, we don’t spend enough time reading and studying God’s Word, and therefore cannot give an “It is written...” as we should. Colossians 3:17 teaches us that whatever we do in word (our speech) or in deed (our actions), we should do by the authority of God. This authority can only properly come by our having “book, chapter and verse” for what we do (i.e. Biblical authorisation coming either through specific authority or generic authority). I challenge us all to read and study God’s Word more!

This raises a very important issue. Many people today do not believe that we must have Bible authority for all that we believe, teach and practice in religious matters. Is this true? The Scriptures tell us the answer to this vital question. Passages such as Col. 3:17 and 2 John 9 teach the essentiality for having a “thus says the Lord” authorising our religious actions. 1 Peter 4:11 states, “whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God…”

Let’s resolve to be like our Lord in this matter and be ready to give an answer from God’s Word for what we teach and practice. As 1 Peter 3:15 teaches, “but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

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