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Bible Q

How many chapters and verses are in the Bible?

The number of chapters and verses in the Bible varies depending on which Bible you use. The chapter and verses numbers were added a long time after the Bible was written (they were added to help people find their way around the Bible more easily),1. Our modern chapter divisions first appeared in the 1200s with verses first appearing in the 1500s. How each book is divided up varies a little between translations and there are a few different numbering systems. For example, the Jewish verse numbering system of the Old Testament counts the titles of the psalms as verses, whereas usually the Christian numbering system leaves the titles unnumbered.2

The introduction of chapters is credited to Archbishop Stephen Langton in the Latin Vulgate around 1205, while our modern verse numbering comes from the Parisian printer and Bible scholar Robert Estienne (1503-1559), better known by his Latin nameĀ  Stephanus. He printed the first verse numbers in his 1551 Greek New Testament and then in his 1553 French Bible.

In most modern Bibles, there are 1189 chapters and approximately 31,100 verses. The number of verses can vary quite a lot as some verses are thought to be later additions and are left out of some translations. The King James Bible is usually listed as having 31,173 verses.



  1. See, e.g., G. F. Moore, ‘The Vulgate Chapters and Numbered Verses in the Hebrew Bible’ in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 12, No. 1 (1893), pp. 73-78 [JSTOR]
  2. Compare Psalm 3:1 in the ESV and the JPS.

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