If you pick up a Bible you will find that some of it was written by Stephan Langton. To be precise he wrote all of the chapter numbers, not the most interesting thing you'll ever read in the Bible but indispensable for finding your way around the Bible or referencing it. Concordances or indeed the internet would be of no use without the chapter numbers.
Stephen Langton was a native of Lincolnshire but became a lecturer at the University of Paris at a time before Oxford and Cambridge Universities existed. He was a teacher of the Bible writing commentaries and a preacher of sermons, hundreds of which have survived over eight hundred years. For those of you who enjoy medieval latin jokes, he was nicknamed Stephen Linguatonam meaning tongue of thunder, Linguatonam being a word play on the name Langton.
It was probably because of his own need to find his way around the scriptures and reference them that he divided the Bible up into chapters. It is often said that he did this in the year 1205. This chapter numbering was so useful that it stuck making its way into protestant translations such as Wycliffe's hand written one, as well as being in the latin vulgate.
In time the chapter numbers even made their way into the Hebrew text used by Jews. Such a system was clearly needed as it seems even the writers of the New Testament understandably struggled without a reference system.
The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote 'pou tis legon' literally, 'someone somewhere saying' Heb 2:5. The quote he was searching for is Psalm 8 4-6. What is man that You are mindful of him.
If you want to know what the Bible was like without chapter divisions try the following exercise and try not to think of chapter and verse if you happen to know them. The questions get progressively more difficult. Answers are further down the article. Without using a concordance or indeed the internet, find the following in the bible:Questions:
The first printed translation with the chapter numbers in was Tyndale's New Testament of 1526. The verses were added later and were the work of a printer Robert Estienne who added them in the evenings in inns he stopped at travelling from Paris to Lyon. He didn't do it on horseback as is sometimes stated. The verses first appeared in Estiennes Greek text of 1550. The first English Bible with the verses was the Geneva Bible 1560. From there they made their way into the Authorised Version a revision ordered by King James I because he hated the Geneva Bible. James holds the distinction of being the last monarch to have someone - a Baptist - burnt at the stake for their religious beliefs.
We take the Chapter numbers in the Bible for granted. It was Stephan Langton that gave the world this very necessary tool. Well done Steve!Answers: