Bible verses are evil!

Bible verses are evil! It is not that they don’t have some good uses. I uses them every lesson for my sacraments class. (It is extremely convenient to tell my class to turn to Luke Chapter x verse y. ) But overall, I wonder if Bible verses cause more trouble than good.

  1. They encourage taking verses out of context. Organizing the Bible into verses promotes the idea that each verse is its own entity separate from the context of the book and chapter it is in. We end up fighting about a what given verse means without referencing the context it is said in. The worst though is when two or more verses from different parts of the Bible are ripped from their context and combined together with the idea that this combination somehow has the same authority as the Bible. You might as well say that my music is just as good as Mozart’s because it uses the same 12 notes!.

  2. It encourages a lazy understanding of the structure of the Bible If verses did not exist we would be forced to say something like it is in Matthew just after the sermon on the mount. (Instead too many people don’t know that the sermon on the mount is even in Matthew)

  3. It discourages the use of common names for sections of the Bible I would rather someone ‘in the story of the prodigal son’ than give its book, chapter and verse numbers. If it is important enough to discuss than it is important enough to give it a descriptive name.

  4. Verse names obfuscate the content of the verse. Every time someone says simply Book:X,Y-Z I just want to pull my hair out because such labels don’t tell me what it is about. What is wrong with writing the verse out if it is short or giving a common name to it if it is longer (such as ‘the widows mite’).

  5. It discourages understanding in favor of memorization. Memorization too often becomes a crutch that keeps us from doing the extra work it takes to understand. When Paul and the other New Testament writers quote the Bible they very rarely get it word for word correct; word for word correctness is not as important to them as the meaning behind those words. Paul did not use Bible verses.

So please join with me in the fight against the evil Bible verses by writing out the verses instead. Even if it is not word for word correct it is still better. Maybe then we can stop fighting about trifle things like exact meanings of specific words and focus on the important things.

The inspired word of God isn’t ‘evil’.
Like everything else good and beautiful in Creation, biblical verses can be misused.

I think the OP was referring to the fact that the Word of God has been broken up into organized, enumerated bits as evil. In that respect, I agree somewhat, as they are often misused in the ways the OP mentions.

Hi, I understood his intention, but what I said still applies. :slight_smile:
God bless

I understand where he is coming from. For I have seen this happen, to take isolated verses for a tailored personal view.

When I read the bible, I read it carefully. Not to rely on individual verses by chapter and number. But read an entire passage for its meaning. And not use a single sentence or verse all by itself. But, some verses do stand on their own. One must be careful not to pick and choose a verse that only satisfies ones own personal view or philosophy…

I think that is the point of the OP.

Example of a fine isolated verse that stands on its own. But even then, the entire passage or chapter should be read in full.

John 16:33.

I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."

The rest….

So, the problem is not the Bible or its numbering system, but ourselves.

When I read the Book of John or Luke, I read it like any other book. Plot and storyline. Characters. And this should not be interpreted as disrespect. But, a method to read the Bible correctly.

You mention appending different verses to each other as being inferior to complete and contiguous passages. I invite you to look at any missal. Here’s an example, the readings from the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Parts of the reading from Genesis are “missing”, as is part of the reading from Ephesians. But it still has the same authority as the Bible, because it IS the Bible. In the case of Genesis, for example, it’s just that God’s words to Adam aren’t pertinent to the foreshadowing of Mary as the new Eve.

  1. It encourages a lazy understanding of the structure of the Bible

Not really. We’ve actually had similar divisions for a while. Open the Book of Psalms for a really good example. It’s divided into 5 sub-books, and one psalm (119) is even subdivided into 24 parts. Also, while parts could benefit from a “structureless” organization, it REALLY wouldn’t help with books like Psalms or Proverbs. (Or the start of 1 Chronicles)

  1. It discourages the use of common names for sections of the Bible

People do use the common names… Take, for instance, the Gospel reading from this coming Sunday. Yes, it’s in the missal as Mt 1:18-24. But we would all recognize the story in conversation as the Annunciation. And actually, verses BENEFIT the sections. It makes it easier to specify exactly what part you’re referring to with a common name.

  1. Verse names obfuscate the content of the verse.

There are 35528 verses in the RSV-2CE. Systematic numbering is a LOT easier than having short names for everything. Not to mention, there are a few verses that appear in multiple places. To illustrate, here are a few Bible passages:

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Either Ps 22:1 or Mt 27:46

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Either Ps 18:2-3 or 2 Sam 22:2-4

“You shall have no other gods before me” Either Ex 20:3 or Dt 5:7

  1. It discourages understanding in favor of memorization

I can guarantee you two things:

  1. People would memorize parts of the Bible, whether or not there were verse numbers.
  2. Memorization and understanding are not mutually exclusive. Understanding can even lead to memorization in many cases, as you start to remember the nuances more and more.
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