Thursday past I started doing something a little different. I might slip back into old patterns, but I made a change. See if you can catch it.
I wrote: "At Luke 1:50, Mary says "And his mercy is for those who fear him." But later at 1:74, Zechariah, John the Baptist's father, says "that...we might serve him [God] without fear.""
This was what I had originally wrote: "In Luke 1:50, Mary says "And his mercy is for those who fear him." But later in 1:74, Zechariah, John the Baptist's father, says "that...we might serve him [God] without fear."
Yes, I have substituted the word in with the word at. Here is my thinking behind it.
Verses are not divine, nor are the chapter references. They are very helpful, and were all added much later after the bible was written. Yet too many Christians - consciously or otherwise - approach them as if they are inherent to the text. We read the bible as if the verses are the defaults, and the bible is a stringing together of truths contained in verses. Bet you never saw a bumper sticker which bridged two verses, as in "...holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him (Luke 1:49b-50a). That is one quick example, there are no doubt better ones.
And we often read verses out of context, and lose the real meaning behind them. "Where two or three are gathered" (Matthew 18:20) is used for when the turnout is small at a prayer meeting or bible study, but it is about God's authority residing in two or three witnesses for church discipline. The widow's mite at Mark 12:44 is another example. Jesus is not commending the widow giving all she had to live on. Why? Because that would be devouring widow's houses, which he had just condemned at v.40. But verses - and the bible editors who have added sub-headings which divorce the first condemnation from the widow's offering - make it harder to see. Jesus teaches on the devouring houses, and then sits and observes the very thing he just taught was wrong. The verses (and subheadings) trip us up.
We should see verses are geographical references, to help us find our place in the text. And we should remind ourselves of that often. Using the word at versus in doe that, in a small way.
So as I was writing on Thursday, it occurred to me that what I intend to say when I make a reference to a verse is 'at' verse such and such. 'At' connotes place, and verse references are place references. 'In' connotes something different, to my ears and reading. Both are actually prepositions of place, but the sense to me is different. While not exactly the same, it is not unlike saying, in regards to other books, find it 'at' or 'on' page 15. We don't say 'in' page 15 (but we do say 'in' the 3rd paragraph.)
So for now I am using at, versus in.
For additional consideration, one of my favorite links (to the right) includes a site where we can read a post titled "The case against verse-by-verse."
Derek Butler - I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, friend, reader, et al, all inadequately. This blog is a tool to encourage daily bible reading, for myself and others.
Click above to access the 5 Day Reading Plan used here. I am using the 5 readings Monday through Friday, with other postings on topics of interest Saturdays and Sundays.
Some Favorite Sites
Desiring God Ministries
Bible Design Blog
Calvary Baptist Church