I understand why they added chapters.  I get why they later added verses.  However, at times I wish they didn’t.  You see your Bible was not original penned with chapters and verses.  Paul, or Matthew, did not put 2:1 out in the margins.  Instead later people added these to make it easier for others to find their place in the Bible.

This helpful tool, however, has caused real problems in Bible Study.  We assumed (wrongly!) that a verse is self contained.  This has left us with all kinds of abuses.  Ripping verses from their context we make them say things they were never meant to say.  We also misrepresent truth.

This has affected  how we do Bible Study.  Instead of learning to study through a book, we jump from verse-to-verse, from one book to another.  This is a horrible fallacy.

If people would realize that a book of Scripture is just that, a book, then I think we could go a long way toward being better Bible students.  This would mean that we would not attempt to use or interpret any section of Scripture until we have first understood the general argument of the book.

So my Bible study tip is quite simple:  Before you interpret any single verse within a book take the time to read through the whole book.  Then take the time to read through it again. Again. And Again.  Once you have an idea of the flow of thought and argument of the book, then (and in my mind only then) are you prepared to start interpreting any particular section of the book.

Read the earlier posts in this series here, here, and here.