In common parlance, a verse is a writing arranged with a metrical rhythm, typically having a rhyme. Most of the books of Bible contain prose which do not follow metrical rhythm or rhyme. But their sentences are called verses. My question therefore is: Why are the divisions of the Bible called verses?
The Lexico online dictionary says that 'verse' comes from:
Old English fers, from Latin versus ‘a turn of the plow, a furrow, a line of writing’, from vertere ‘to turn’; reinforced in Middle English by Old French vers, from Latin versus.
Bible.org says that the Bible was split into chapters in the 13th century and was further divided into verses by a highly regarded French printer called Robert Estiennes (or Robertus Stephanus in Latin) in the middle of the 16th century. At that time Latin was still the language used by educated people to write about and discuss academic matters so 'versus', and therefore 'verse' would have had its meaning of 'a line of writing' for them.
In fact the Lexico entry for 'verse' mentions an old definition of it as
A line of poetry
so it would seem that the modern definition of a 'verse' as a 'stanza' rather than a 'line' is more recent.
Once the smallest divisions of the books of the Bible had become accepted as 'verses' there would have been no need to change the term no matter what happened to the definition of 'verse' in other contexts.
A number of questions on Stack Exchange - English Language and Usage have commented on the words 'stanza' and 'verse' in relation to poetry and to scripture.
'Verses' are also used in Shakespeare.
Merriam Webster defines a 'verse' in three ways : metrical verse, a stanza or a biblical verse.
In any work which requires to be referenced and quoted as part of its function, stanzas or verses are numbered accordingly so that they can be cited.