Where did Bible chapter and verse numbers come from?
Mark Driscoll and Gerry Bershears (Doctrine, 42-3):
Chapters and verses were added to provide addresses (not unlike those on our homes) that help us find particular sections. In 1205, Stephen Langton, a theology professor who became the archbishop of Canterbury, began using Bible chapters. In 1240, Cardinal Hugo of St. Cher published a Latin Bible with the 1,189 chapter divisions that exist today. Robert Stephanus, a Protestant book printer, was condemned as a heretic for printing Bibles. As he fled with his family to Geneva on horseback, he arbitrarily made verse divisions within Langton’s chapter divisions. His system was used for the first English Bible (The Geneva New Testament of 1557) and became today’s system of 31,173 verses. It is important to realize that the Bible’s chapters and verses were not applied with any logical or consistent method and, while helpful, they are not authoritative. Because the Bible was not intended to be read in bits and pieces, reading verses out of context can lead to serious misunderstanding. Thus, rightly interpreting particular sections of Scripture requires paying attention both to the immediate context and the overall context of all of Scripture.