Jesus, Jots, and Tittles
Our faith is built upon the strongest assurance that the Bible is from God and that He in His providence has kept it unchanged. Agnostics, infidels and liberal theologians mock the idea that we have the exact Bible, unchanged since it was originally written. What a great contrast this is with the Son of God who gave us the Bible and promised that it would abide.
Jesus said, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18). On another occasion He said, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17). Many do not sense the importance of these words for they have no idea what jots and tittles are.
The jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The tittle was a small stroke of the pen which could be used to change one Hebrew letter into another one. There is a similar expression in the English letter. We talk about “dotting every “I” and crossing every “T.” What is remarkable is that few know that the horizontal mark which changes a capital “F” into a capital “E” is called a tittle. Take a moment and look at how one stroke of a pen can change an “F” into “E.” Changing that tittle would make it impossible to understand what is said.
Jesus was speaking of the Hebrew tittle, but let me illustrate by using the English tittle. The early Greek manuscripts were written in all capital letters. I will use the lower case in the verses below to make it easier for us to read. Keep in mind that all I am doing is changing one tittle on one letter.
In Luke 15, Jesus described the prodigal son who came to his father and demanded his inheritance. The changed Bible would say, “And hf took his journfy into a ear country.” I just changed two tittles, but you would have no idea where he went. Where on earth is an “ear country?” Do the same with Paul’s description of Jesus’ ascension. “Hf that dfscfndfd is the samf also that ascfndfd up ear above all hfavfns” (Col. 4:10 DCBV). One other illustration of this. Remember the miracle of healing Jesus did in Gethsemane. The new DCBV of this reads, “And Jfsus answfrfd and said, Sueefr yf thus ear. And Hf touchfd his far, and hfalfd him” (Luke 22:51).
You can trust your Bible. God gave the Bible and dotted every “I” and crossed every “T.” Having done this, He sent His Son to let us know of His actions. The Bible Jesus used had parts of it that were over 1,500 years old and copied many times, yet every jot and tittle was there. Liberal theologians can deny this, but Jesus knows better.
Jesus also said, “Heaven and earth will pass away but My words will by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:35).