Bible without verses?

I remember the last time I got some of my church members to read Winn’s article on Story. many of them got “puzzled” by his challenge on “scripture memorization” 🙂 Somehow, many missed what he was really trying to get at.

Reading his Verses Quoting Sucks! (there’s a specific context that helps me see why he’s emphasizing STORY so much!) Allow me to take the middle chunk of his post to get our brain juices bubbling, but at the end it’s better to read the whole post to get the full story!
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The Bible is God’s story. It is not God’s promise box full of little nuggets to rip out of context and quote at will. Fragmented memorization and quoting of verses produces fragmented followers of Jesus. The many and varied Bible programs both online and desktop only exacerbate the problem by the endless algorithms for searching and then presenting one with verses as a result (of course they can do more than that in most programs). You would have thought that God would have been smart enough to have written us a versified Bible or maybe even a topical Bible which is the child of versification, maybe God should have just skipped all the authors of the Old and New Testament, those poor shmucks who didn’t know anything about the joy of fragments, and had Nave born centuries earlier and had him produce his topical Bible. Wonder why God didn’t just give us a group of propositions like 7,777 of them so we could just mark off the ones we have “applied” to our lives. Yep, that would have done the job.

Hooray for Eugene Peterson, may his move to have Bibles without verses conquer the publishers of the world.
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An interesting comment on the post was “Winn…how the heck are we suppossed to find something without the verses? ” which was quite a touch of humor. Thus, I still appreciate the chapters and verses purely for reference, but I do get what Winn is trying to get at and it has helped me become less fragmented. It has definately helped me get the flow of the story better and the message too! And I like the idea of “story memorization” … a good alternative 🙂

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6 Responses to Bible without verses?

  1. Good post! I find it ironic that dividing scripture into verses was originally done by monks in the 13th century in order to help scripture memorization. It was never meant to decontextualize any scripture passages. Modern teachings now seem to do the same thing that the news media is often accused of by taking splices of something someone said in order to make it appear that they are saying what they want them to say. How horrible it is to try to make the bible appear to say what we want it to, instead of us saying what it wants us to.

  2. Ben says:

    Another face of modernism: reductionism. Matter into atoms, living creatures into cells, the greatest story ever told into fragmented verses.

    Y’know, you’re right about that need to really start thinking CONSTRUCTIVELY, not CRITICALLY!

    😉

  3. Matthew Combe says:

    I WAS READING MY BIBLE (GOSPEL OF MATTHEW) AND IT ALL OF A SUDDEN STRUCK ME THAT IT WASNT ORIGINALLY WRITTEN WITH CHAPTERS & VERSES. AND THAT I HAVE PROBABLY BEEN TAKING VERSES OUT OF CONTEXT FOR THE PAST 20 YEARS SIMPLY BECAUSE I LOOKING AT SMALL SECTIONS AND NOT LOOKING AT THE BIBLE IN CONTEXT. SO I AM NOW LOOKING FOR A RELIABLE TRANSLATION WITH NO CHAPTERS & VERSES. CAN ANY ONE HELP ME ?

  4. Ruth says:

    I want to echo Matthew’s question. Are there any Bible’s available out there without verses, other than the Message?

  5. Mary says:

    My brother used to have a Bible about five-six years ago and it did not have ANY verses. I cannot – for the life of me – find this Bible or what it was called either. I have found the Message, but I cannot locate this Bible. My grandmother had it last and when she passed away it was lost somewhere in the shuffle. BUT! It does exist!! A Bible without verses does exist.

  6. K. H. Jones says:

    There is a copy of the Holy Scriptures available. At this point, the New Testament is finished and the Old Testament is about 1/3 done. The American Standard Version is being used with its paragraph divisions. The primary reasons for using the American Standard version is that (1)it is an essentailly literal translation and (2)the copyright restrictions are no longer in effect. Archaic language has been changed. That is, the “ye’s” have been changed to you’s etc. I am glad to furnish a copy of the New Testament for anyone who might be interested. It is in Microsoft Word format.

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