Saturday (October 15, 2011) I ran the Hartford Half Marathon. It is a 13.1 mile race. When a person runs that long a person’s mind starts to wander. One of the things I wondered about as I wandered was the number 13.1. I asked myself, “How many books of the Bible have a t least 13 chapters? What do they say?” So I looked it up Monday morning. I should preface the results by saying a few things. The first is, this is really no way to do Bible study. The best way is to read a whole passage, discover its contents, write some questions about in the margin or another sheet of paper, underline key points or verses that impact you, think about what it might mean in light of other passages, look for Christ in the midst of it, and see its challenges and promises. I should also mention that chapter and verse numbers are later additions so the numerology has only an artificial meaning at best, but I thought it’d be fun just to see what 13:1 could offer.
As you’ll see below, there are numerous fragment sentences, such as, “The Lord said to ….,” without completing the thought. All I can say is that I hope you are invited in to look up what the Lord said! Some of the verses are strange, and some without contextual clues or a wider understanding of who some of the people are don’t make much sense. Again, I invite you to read deeper to find out. One I thought was very interesting, 1 Samuel 13:1, which discusses how old Saul was and for how long he rules before something happened. Except nobody knows for sure how old he was! The study Bible I have in NRSV says the dates are uncertain based on the manuscripts, but I also looked it up in the NIV Bible I have and it said 30 and 40 years with a footnote saying the same thing about the manuscripts. In the grand scheme of things it is not that important, but it is worth noting that the Bibles we have are based on numerous manuscripts that were all written by hand and copied centuries ago, and sometimes there are discrepancies that scholars and translators must work through to find the most likely meaning. Before you get nervous about that, let me say that most of these I have seen are like this – not critical – maybe an elaboration or extra phrase found in some or not all manuscripts. The most notable I think is the Gospel of Mark, which has two endings. Some manuscripts end at Mark 16:8, while others end at Mark 16:20. I don’t think that makes either version less or more part of the scripture, but makes it interesting when you read it both ways and ask, “What was Mark trying to say here about the resurrection of Jesus?”
Psalm 13:1 is a nice prayer asking, “How long must I go through this trouble?” It is a prayer all of us pray from time to time – now you can say it and know it is in the Bible. 🙂
A couple of verses feel familiar – Romans 13:1 starts the conversation about obedience to the governing authorities. 1 Corinthians 13:1 starts off the love poem you have probably heard at a wedding.
Of all these verses, I do have a favorite one.
Reading through them all, I like Hebrews 13:1. “Let mutual love continue.” It is short, direct, centered in Christ and applicable to our lives.
May the love of God that pours through the scriptures, encourage us all in this run of life.
13:1 In the Old Testament (22 books of 39)
Genesis 13:1 – So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.
Exodus 13:1 – The Lord said to Moses:
Leviticus 13:1 – The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying:
Numbers 13:1 – The Lord said to Moses,
Deuteronomy 13:1 – If prophets or those who divine by dreams appear among you and promise you omens or portents,
Joshua 13:1 – Now Joshua was old and advanced in years; and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land still remains to be possessed.
Judges 13:1 – The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
1 Samuel 13:1 – Saul was . . . years old when he began to reign; and he reigned . . . and two years over Israel.
2 Samuel 13:1 – Some time passed. David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar; and David’s son Amnon fell in love with her.
1 Kings 13:1 – While Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer incense, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel
2 Kings 13:1 – In the twenty-third year of King Joash son of Ahaziah of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria; he reigned seventeen years.
1 Chronicles 13:1 – David consulted with the commanders of the thousands and of the hundreds, with every leader.
2 Chronicles 13:1 – In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah began to reign over Judah.
Nehemiah 13:1 – On that day they read from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people; and in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God,
Job 13:1 – Look, my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood it.
Psalm 13:1 – How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
Proverb 13:1 – A wise child loves discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Isaiah 13:1 – The oracle concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw.
Jeremiah 13:1 – Thus said the Lord to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen loincloth, and put it on your loins, but do not dip it in water.”
Ezekiel 13:1 – The word of the Lord came to me:
Hosea 13:1 – When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling; he was exalted in Israel; but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.
Zechariah 13:1 – On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
(Books not Long enough for a chapter 13 – Ruth, Ezra, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Malachi)
13:1 in the New Testament (10 books of 27)
Matthew 13:1 – That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.
Mark 13:1 – As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!”
Luke 13:1 – At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
John 13:1 – Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Acts 13:1 – Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul.
Romans 13:1 – Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.
1 Corinthians 13:1 – If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 Corinthians 13:1 – This is the third time I am coming to you. “Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”
Hebrews 13:1 – Let mutual love continue.
Revelation 13:1 – And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads; and on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads were blasphemous names.
(Books not long enough for a chapter 13 – Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude)