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Is it correct to say: "Today's lesson is from the first book of John, Chapter 4, verses 7 through 21"?

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    You might want to say "the first epistle/letter of John," just to be clear that you're not talking about the Gospel of John. – Lee Woofenden Apr 24 '18 at 17:30
  • @LeeWoofenden Given that you are a pastor, I think that comment becomes a credible answer. :) – KorvinStarmast Apr 27 '18 at 18:48
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    @KorvinStarmast Okay! Okay! But that's a lot more work! ;-) So . . . I did it anyway. – Lee Woofenden Apr 28 '18 at 22:22
  • @LeeWoofenden Thank you. Nice and succinct. – KorvinStarmast Apr 28 '18 at 22:32
3

The most commonly accepted short form of verbalizing the references for numbered books of the Bible is:

Today's Bible reading is from first/second/third [book name], chapter 2, verses 1 through 5.

Also common, but frowned upon and even laughed at by some, is:

Today's Bible reading is from one/two/three [book name], chapter 2, verses 1 through 5.

If it's a numbered Epistle, I prefer to be a little more descriptive for listeners who are not so familiar with the Bible and its books.

For Epistles named for their author (1 & 2 Peter; 1, 2, & 3 John):

Today's Bible reading is from the first/second/third epistle/letter of [epistle name], chapter 2, verses 1 through 5.

For Epistles named for their recipients:

If the recipient is an individual (1 & 2 Timothy):

Today's Bible reading is from the first/second epistle/letter to [epistle name], chapter 2, verses 1 through 5.

If the recipient is a group (1 & 2 Corinthians; 1 & 2 Thessalonians):

Today's Bible reading is from the first/second epistle/letter to the [epistle name], chapter 2, verses 1 through 5.

  • What about chapter numbers? :) – Samuel Bradshaw Apr 29 '18 at 15:25
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    @SamuelBradshaw Including them would be an excellent idea. :-) – Lee Woofenden Apr 29 '18 at 16:00
  • On the first vs one thing, it seems to be a dialectal difference. I don't understand why you could be mocked in the US for saying "one/two book name". – curiousdannii Jul 30 '18 at 6:36
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    @curiousdannii I agree. Unfortunately, dialectical differences are a very common occasion for one person or group to mock another. I do recall the incident with Donald Trump mentioned in your linked answer, complete with newscasters "informing" the public that the "correct" way to say it is "second Corinthians." Personally, I grew up with "one and two Kings, one and two Samuel," but also "the first book of Kings," etc. – Lee Woofenden Jul 30 '18 at 15:48

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