Some older editions of the Bible used to put every verse on a new line, communicating that each verse was an independent unit of thought. Thankfully, the practice is rare in modern Bibles, and Mark Ward demonstrates why it matters.
Often editors need to guess where the best paragraph divisions should go. And different translation committees will disagree. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.
In his article “How Paragraph Breaks Can Help You Understand the Bible,” Ward gives two examples of how paragraph breaks in Matthew led him to ask interpretive questions he might not otherwise have thought of. In particular, the paragraphs caused him to ask, “Why does this sentence follow what came before? How does it fit with the flow of thought in this section?”
When we move away from reading Bible verses as isolated aphorisms, and we read them as building blocks in a larger argument, we are well on our way toward proper understanding.
Perhaps you can relate to Ward’s experience. Check it out!