When God inspired men to write His words, divisions for chapters and verses were NOT included in that divine revelation. In fact, it was hundreds of years before those were added. I’ve heard one story that a monk rode his donkey while he copied the Scripture. Whenever the donkey’s gait caused the monk’s pen to jerk, that became a new verse. Whatever method was used, the man-made system is sometimes less than perfect. Sometimes, if we get away from the chapter divisions, we see some fresh connections.For example, my Sunday school kids have studied these verses in the last couple of weeks-
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
(That’s Matthew 3:16-17 and 4:1) Of course, we studied the baptism of Jesus one week and the temptation the following week. And of course, these are two separate incidents, but the chapter break may prevent us from realizing the connection between the two events. God the Father had identified Jesus as the Messiah, the sacrifice for sins. Now the Lamb was going to be examined to ensure that He was without any blemish or defect. He would be tested to prove He was an acceptable sacrifice. Matthew’s whole point in writing a gospel was to demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, that He fulfilled all of God’s law.
Matthew 4 into 5 is another example of a bad break. Chapter 5 begins “And seeing the multitudes…” And? You can’t start a chapter with ‘and’… What multitudes? Where’d they come from? The end of chapter 4 tells you that Jesus healed a bunch of folks and so huge crowds were following Him from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and beyond Jordan…” (We’ll save the geography lesson for some other time.)
As you study, watch the words at the beginning of a chapter and notice how they connect to what precedes them.