One of the tricks to reading the Bible is getting past the chapter and verse markings. They are valuable tools. They allow for us to easily locate any section of Scripture. It would be incredibly difficult to navigate the Bible without them. However, they are not God ordained markings. They were added by the hands of humans needing a referencing system. Sometimes they even hinder our reading. When doing a Bible reading plan we typically break the Bible down by reading through select chapters. We have done so in our reading plan. That is why we have had days with multiple chapters and days with very few. There are places in Scripture that the chapter ends, but the thought of the author does not. These issues present some minor problems to our reading.
Now that we are in the New Testament, and reading the Gospels, let me share with you a writing technique of the Gospel authors. Remember the writers did not put the chapter and verse notations in their works. They also at times wrote in chronological order. But at other times they left chronological order to highlight the teachings of Jesus. We know this as grouping. Sometimes the authors will take a topic of Jesus and group it together regardless of the chronological timeframe.
Each chapter we read has a general topic to it. Matthew 13 is heavily concerned with the coming Kingdom of heaven and its growth. That is the heart of the Parable of the Sower, or the Wheat and Weeds, or the Mustard Seed, or the Yeast. They all point to the coming kingdom and its growth. If we want to understand the growth of God’s kingdom one of the best places to turn in our Bible’s is to Matthew 13 because it is one grouping of Jesus teaching on it.
When we look at Luke 8 can we tell what the major thought from Luke is? This is a trickier one in my opinion. The reason we read Matthew 13 and Luke 8 today is because they both start with the Parable of the Sower. However, this is where the man added chapter and verses throw us off. Luke offers two themes in this chapter. The first is the Kingdom concept of Matthew 13. But the chapter continues with a few more stories … Jesus calms the storm, Jesus heals a demon-possessed man, Jesus heals a sick woman, and Jesus raises a dead girl back to life. What do you think Luke’s theme is here? It suggests to me and understanding of Jesus power over the natural laws. Jesus has power over nature in calming the storm, Jesus has power over the spiritual world in casting out a demon, Jesus has power over the sicknesses of this life in healing the woman, and finally Jesus has power over death.
Understanding this grouping concept allows us to get a fuller understanding of the individual stories. When one puzzles us we can look to those in front and behind, regardless of their chapter and verse markings, to gain a full picture of the authors intent.