Most ancient manuscripts of the New Testament contained some sort of paragraph marks. Two common methods of paragraphing were putting the first letter of a line out into the margin (called ekthesis) and putting a small horizontal line (called a paragraphos) above the first word of a new section. In addition spaces of various sizes could be left at the end of a section.
In our edition we decided only to accept paragraph divisions based on early manuscripts.
This led us to a surprising conclusion in Mark 4:3 where Jesus begins the Parable of the Sower: we decided we had to put the paragraph mark after the first word of Jesus’s speech.
The text runs literally like this:
4:2 ‘and he [Jesus] was teaching them many things in parables and was saying to them in his teaching, 4:3 “Listen. Look. The sower went out to sow.”’
The Greek word “Listen” is akouete (related to the word acoustic).
The Greek word for “Look” is idou (distantly related to the word video).
In our edition we put the paragraph mark after “Listen,” following the earliest Greek manuscripts of this passage. Codex Sinaiticus (pictured right, see right hand column lines 5 and 6) from the Fourth Century and Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Bezae from the Fifth Century all have clear paragraph marks here. So probably does Codex Vaticanus, from the Fourth Century, which has a paragraphos added by a later hand. The remaining manuscript Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus from the Fifth Century has a line break here, but no clear sign of paragraph division.