The Bible: Chapter and Verse Part 2 - by Ps Michael Podhaczky

Last week we looked at how the Bible came to be broken into chapters. Hopefully,this was helpful in understanding the God-givenbook that we read daily. This week we will lookat how we got verses from the chapters of the Bible. Was it a natural follow on from having divided the Bible into chapters, or was it more random?

The short history of the verses (esp. the New Testament), is as follows. The obvious reason verses were added was to separate the Bible text into lengths suitable for referencing, quotation and memorisation. But when did this happen? Well, it has been suggested that the first verse divisions were added early in the piece by the Ben Asher family of scribed about 900 A.D. They used the use of a large colon (:), to distinguish the end the verses.

One R. Nathan is said to have divided the Latin Old Testament into verses in 1448. Then a French printer named Robert Estienne (Robert Stephanus in Latin and Robert Stephens in English) is believed to have divided the New Testament into verses in 1551. The first Bible thought to have been printed with verses was an Old Testament Latin edition by one Pagninus (an Italian scholar), which was printed in 1528. The first complete English version of the Bible divided into verses was the Geneva Bible, printed in 1560. However, it was Robert Estienne who in his Greek New Testament first divided the New Testament into verses in 1551. While in 1560, the Geneva Bible (an English translation of the Bible made by the English persons in exile in Geneva), was divided into verses as we have it today.[1]

There are some New Testament quotes from the Old Testament that would appear to set the configuration for the length of a verse. For example, Matthew 1:22-23 gives an example where Isaiah 7:14 is quoted as a promise of the virgin birth.
22 “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,’ which being interpreted is, God with us.”
So, the Bibles that we have today still have this Chapter and verse breakdown. Do you find that it helps or hinders how you read the Bible?

Hmm, something to mull over as we read the Bible.

[1] Wegner, Paul D. The Journey from Tests to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible. (Grand Rapids, IL: Baker, 2000), 214, 267-269.

The Bible: Chapter and Verse Part 1 - by Ps Michael Podhaczky

By way of introduction let me say that a majority of the present generation of Bible readers would favour the Bible without the breaks into chapters and verses. Well, originally there were no divisions as we have it today. It was written in larger sections that flow between plots, just like other letters or narratives. The only division would have been sections like the Psalms and Proverbs. So where did the division into chapters and verses come from in our Bibles?

The brief history of the chapters (esp. the New Testament), is as follows. These were not added until late in the medieval period. The Bible is said to have been first divided into chapters about 1250 by Cardinal Hugo, for references in a Latin concordance. Although there may be more evidence for the Bible being divided into chapters first by about 1228 by Stephen Langton, the archbishop of Canterbury.

It is believed that the Bible was dividedinto slabs of words, which became chapters, as they were more suitable for public reading, study or teaching. The purpose of the present division into chapters was to favour reference finding. These divisions sometimes (but not always), ignore logical and natural plot flow and division.

Down through the ages, it has been asked if this chapter division has had an unintended effect and hindered the fuller meaning of the text. It could be asked, was the idea of chapter divisions based on an Old Testament biblical practice? For example, we see some of this in the Old Testament. 
·         The Psalms are individual songs and were separate from the beginning. 
·         In a sermon, Paul quotes from the ‘second psalm’ (Acts13:33).
·     Lamentations wasdivided into five separate poems. Four of these five poems are 22 verses each (the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet).
It seems clear that this size of text was conveniently chosen for reading, study, etc. Next week we will take a look at breaking the Chapters into verses.

Hmm, something to mull over as we read the Bible.

Easy to Please but Hard to Satisfy by Ps Michael Podhaczky

When growing up did you try to please your parents by being good? I wasn’t very good at this; I always seemed to get it wrong and was forever in trouble. It just didn’t work for me, so, I was either grounded, got a beating, or had things taken away as punishment. The harder I tried to please them by being good - well, let’s just I couldn’t seem to get it right.

Many can have this attitude towards their Heavenly Father. They try to please Him by being good. But, the truth of the matter is, as Christ-followers He has already accepted us in Christ. This happened when we were not good, were broken and in sin. As Paul has said,
“But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Rom 5:8 NLT)

There is a passage in the Bible that, if taken out of context, may seem to be saying that we need to try to please Him by being good. That is,
“But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt 5:48 NLT)
But if we read this passage in context (verses 43-48), it is talking about being mature in loving your enemies. It is within this context that we are to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect. That is perfect in heavenly love.

I finish with a quote from one George MacDonald, amentor of C.S. Lewis. He picked up this idea and said that we need to be growing in love of others,
“Every father is pleased with the baby’s first attempt to walk: no father would be satisfied with anything less than a firm, free, manly walk in a grown-up son. In the same way, he (MacDonald) said, ‘God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.’”[1]

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

[1] “God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.” (22nd March 2018).

Better is One Day in Your Courts by Camille Cunningham

'One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. Id rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be
honored as a guest in the palace of sin.' (Psalm 84:10 MSG)

I love how David speaks about the importance of the house of The Lord. David would rather be a
doorkeeper, or scrub floors in the house of The Lord than be on any Greek island that's a

I remember when Jacob and I first bought our home - it was such a
special moment as we made it our own and began to build our lives
within it. I also remember the first day I walked into the house of God and the eternal impact that has forever had on my life.

God spoke to me many years ago saying that just as I am responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and care for my own house, I am equally
responsible for the care and condition of the House of God. I truly believe that as I care for His House (the Church), He cares for my house.

As this revelation began to sink in I began to see The Church differently. I now see myself as being responsible for straightening the cushions on the couches, packing up the toys in the parents room or picking up the rubbish left at the bathroom sink as this is my house and I am created to care for it.

Likewise I now begin to understand why David would rather spend one day in the House of God, then a thousand elsewhere.

May we together make Gods house famous and care for it, as we would our own.

Pray About It Part 2 by Ps Michael Podhaczky

Have you noticed that when hard or challenging things happen in own lives and the lives of those around us, we can tend to lose our peace? You know what I mean - we know all the stuff, but it appears that sometime we tend to react instead of remaining in the peace of God. We can all find ourselves in this place. When we think we have it all together, it all falls apart.

In the previous blog Philippians 4:6 was quoted, but here I would like to connect it to the result of praying and not being anxious.
6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 7 Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7 NLT).
You will notice that Paul said it is His peace and not ours that will guard our hearts.

So, when things happen to you, or those around you, rest in Him and enjoy His peace. This peace exceeds anything we can understand. It is an unchanging absolute in a world where everything changes. On this matter, Francis De Sales (a Christ-follower from the 16th century) said:
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”[1]

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

[1] Morgan, Robert J. Mastering Life Before It's Too Late: 10 Biblical Strategies for a Lifetime of Purpose. (New York, NY: Howard, 2015), 142.

Pray About It by Ps Michael Podhaczky

When you find yourself in a challenging or trying situation, what is the main thing you do? Many of us will talk about it with as many people as we are able. We can find comfort in telling others what we are going through at that moment. Sometimes things may even go downhill and slip into a comparing match as to who has the greatest challenge, and if we win,we may take solace from winning.

But let’s ask a question here, “Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?”[1] We know this truth, but it is still good to be reminded from time to time. Now, we all go through our challenges or trying situations, but we need to go to God first and talk with Him. It is not wrong to talk with others - in fact,it is very helpful and quite a necessary part of being human. But God needs to be the One that we turn to first and then others. As Paul said to the local church in Philippi,
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done” (Phil 4:6 NLT).

Paul says to pray about everything. This can be done at any time, and anywhere. Then we come together with othersthat we trust to talk about things. So, let me come back to the question, “Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?”

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

[1] “Have You Prayed about it as Much as You’ve Talked about It?” (13th March 2018).