An online devotional for writers
The Teacher listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. (Ecclesiastes 12:9, NLT)
Chapter and verse: today, you’re able to find a Bible passage easily thanks to Stephen Langton (c. 1150 - c. 1228).
Sometime during in the respected theologian’s career, he saw the need to simplify Bible study. Think about what reading the Bible was like in those days: no concordance, no electronic searches, no numbered chapters or verses … just content.
Langton, who eventually became Archbishop of Canterbury and also helped to broker the Magna Carta, divided the entire text of the Latin translation of the Bible into manageable, numbered sections about the size of long paragraphs.
Langston’s chapter divisions have remained largely intact today. The chapters make it easy to find specific passages – so easy, in fact, that many believe the chapter divisions were part of the original scriptures.
Today, writers use a reverse process: we create a chapter plan as a starting point for writing a book. The chapter plan is an expanded outline with a title, summary, primary points, and a list of material to include in the chapter. It’s a road map to follow when writing the book.
The Bible’s chapter divisions were put in after the fact as a way to help readers search for and find information. Today, a book’s chapter divisions are created before the first draft to help writers organize their content into manageable chunks. Either way, chapters are a simple way to organize book content.
Chapters are a simple way to organize book content.
Thank you for the teachers and students that have gone before me so that I have access to the Bible and can navigate it easily. Help me be orderly as I organize information for my content. Show me a good structure that makes sense as I write and makes sense for my readers.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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Content by award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse, who specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
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