Take a look at the two Hebrew letters on the left. If I had not highlighted the difference, do you think you would have caught it? It’s small. Almost unnoticeable. But that tiny difference between these two letters can make a big difference! The letter on the left is R and the letter on the right is D. That one tiny stroke makes a different letter. Similarly, one tiny stroke makes the difference in the English letters E and F. And dealing with those tiny strokes in Hebrew is why I began to wear glasses!
Jesus gives us a word picture in today’s Bible reading. He says, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18 ESV) Iota is the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet. In a parallel passage, He says that “it is easier for heaven and earth to
We rarely use the word tittle anymore. Modern translations use “stroke of a letter” instead of tittle. The difference between the Hebrew B and D and the difference between the English E and F is called a tittle.
Jesus says that it’s more likely for heaven and earth to fall apart than for God’s Word to be corrupted. “Ah”, the skeptic would say, “but there are differences in the Bible’s manuscripts!” The skeptic is correct. As we compare manuscripts and scrolls of the Bible, yes, there are some small differences. There may even be some tittles added or missing when you look closely. But, I would add that those small differences are virtually insignificant where they appear.
Thanks to the abundance of manuscripts, scholars can go back and recreate the original texts with a very high degree of certainty. When they compare the manuscripts against each other, they can easily determine slips of the pen that a scribe made. Those uncrossed t’s, undotted
You may have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In November 1946, a young shepherd was throwing rocks into caves in the area of Qumran, Jordan and heard pottery break. He went inside the cave and found several pottery jars with scrolls rolled up inside. Over the next few years, more scrolls were discovered. As scholars studied the scrolls, they found some of them to be Old Testament Scriptures and were almost 1000 years older than the oldest scrolls known to exist. When they compared the Dead Sea Scrolls to the oldest scrolls they had — roughly one thousand years younger than the Dead Sea Scrolls — scholars discovered the differences to be minuscule.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrated God’s sovereign hand in preserving His Word over the centuries.
God’s Word can be trusted, in part, because God has preserved His Word for His people. Given that God cares so much to preserve His Word for His people, I can’t state too strongly the importance of studying His preserved Word. God’s people have literally bled and died trying to get God’s Word into your hands.
If God can preserve
Note: This devotional first appeared on July 18, 2019 regarding Luke 16:17 and was updated just a bit for today’s passage.