|Robert Stephens’s 1551 edition |
was the first to add verses to the NT.
A quick email to Maurice Robinson alerted me to Ezra Abbot’s collation on verse division. In all, he catalogs 71 cases of variant versification in 60 editions or translations. (And here I was thinking I had found something unique.) In the case of 1 John 2.13–14, the discrepancy goes back to Theodore Beza who seemed to struggle a bit with decisiveness. In 10 editions, he is split 5-5 on where to put the phrase in question.
In fact, it seems that quite a bit of the blame for the variation that exists is due to Beza. Here’s what Abbot says:
Beza followed Stephens’s  division into verses, with some variations, in the first edition of his Latin translation of the Greek Testament, published at Geneva in 1557 (this is the date at the end of the volume; the title-page is dated 1556), already referred to as the second volume of Robert Stephens’s Latin Bible of that year. In his first edition of the Greek New Testament accompanied with his Latin version and notes, Geneva, 1565, fol., and in his numerous subsequent editions, Beza deviated much more frequently from the verse-divisions of Robert Stephens; and his editions had great influence in giving currency to the use of the division into verses, which soon became general. His variations from the division of Stephens were largely followed by later editors, especially the Elzevirs, who also introduced others of their own (p. 466).I asked Dirk about the Tyndale House GNT and he said there were quite a few places where he would have liked to adjust the verse boundaries but didn’t.
I’d like to know if this causes any problems for Bible software.
(Abbot’s collation is also found in Tischendorf’s Prolegomena for those who prefer Latin.)