The Problem with Chapter and Verse

I read an article about a prominent Christian leader who was arguing against criticism that had come his way by saying, "Here come the excuses, not the chapters and verses." This is a pretty common deal - whether we're looking for ways to live our life, or justification for the way we've ALREADY LIVED our lives - to say "Show me where the Bible says that. What chapter? What verse?"

Here's my problem with that. We didn't get chapter & verse divisions completely until the late 16th century. So, the people closest to Jesus didn't even use chapter and verse to justify what they were doing or correct what they shouldn't be doing. They aren't holy. If they were missing from the Bible, nothing would change. (As a matter of fact, it could make some things easier to understand).

I understand that as we grow we need firm direction and specific teaching we can locate via chapter and verse, but we must be careful to not become so completely ensnared in what is printed explicitly that we miss what is told implicitly.

Christian maturity, and our formation into Christ-likeness, is energized when we are driven by not only the explicit chapter and verse but also by the implicit narrative of redemption and the Kingdom of God.

Let us not use the absence of chapter and verse as an excuse for the absence of obedience to the Spirit of God.