Jots & Tittles: A Closer Look at a Little Bit of Hebrew

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, He spoke into the chaos in order to bring the universe into being. His first recorded words are: ‘Let there be light.’ (Genesis 1:3 KJV)

At least, that’s how we report what He said in English. Just four words. There are even less in the original Hebrew: These two words are ‘yehi ׳owr’ which, translated into English, are more like: ‘Be, light!’ or ‘Exist, light!’

Now, an apology (but not much of one) for the following lesson in English grammar. If you’ve studied a foreign language, you might know a bit about the verb ‘to be’ and how it is conjugated. But if you haven’t, you’ve probably only noticed this when someone from another country says something like ‘you is late’ instead of ‘you are late’ or ‘we am waiting’ instead of ‘we are waiting’. If you’ve been speaking English all your life, you instinctively know the way the following pronouns and verbs match up:

I + AM
YOU + ARE
HE + IS
SHE + IS
IT + IS
WE + ARE
THEY + ARE

Now, notice that ‘I am’ is the first of the ‘to be’ sequence. But as it so happens, ‘I AM’ is one of the names of God.

So we can see that the very first word God spoke when He was creating the universe—‘Be!’—actually came from His own name. He not only fashioned the heavens and the earth, He introduced Himself to His creation by name.

His second word connects His name to ‘light’. Jesus said, ‘I am the Light of the World.’ (John 8:12 NIV) That word, ‘world’, is actually ‘kosmos’—and refers to the entire universe.

Look closely at His words:

They go right back to the very creation of the universe when God said, ‘Yehi, ׳owr!’ So Jesus was claiming to be the ‘I AM’, the ever-existing one who created all things. And both His friends and His enemies knew it. Some believed it—some did not.

What about you? Do you believe Jesus is the great ‘I AM’?

About the author

ahamilton

MORE GREAT READS FROM

Determination

‘It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.’ Psalm 18:32 NKJV In her autobiography, singer Dolly Parton says: ‘My high school was small, so during graduation each of us got a chance to stand up and announce our plans for the future. “I’m going to junior college,” one boy would…

Today’s Readings

True Humility

‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ 1 Peter 5:5 NAS There are two kinds of humility mentioned in Scripture: 
 (1) False humility. Paul writes, ‘Do not let anyone who delights in false humility… disqualify you.’ (Colossians 2:18 NIV) Whether it’s in your manner of dress, your speech, or…

Today’s Readings

Today’s Readings

Treated Badly?

‘That’s the way their ancestors treated the prophets.’ Luke 6:23 GWT When you’ve been treated badly, always ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this experience? How do I respond in a more Christ-like manner? Am I willing to acknowledge my mistakes? How can I grow wiser and handle similar experiences better in the future?’…

Wisdom
from Above

‘The wisdom from above is first pure; then peaceable.’ James 3:17 ESV Some people seem to thrive on conflict. They are always picking on others, arguing, disagreeing or trying to get something started. They fight just for the sport of it, not because they passionately believe in a particular cause. They are quick to jump…

Today’s Readings

‘Your Father’s got you!’

‘No one will snatch them out of My hand.’ John 10:28 NIV On a hot Florida afternoon, a little boy was swimming in the lake behind his house. He didn’t see an alligator following him. But his father, who was gardening, saw it and yelled to his son to turn back. Too late! 
 Just…

Today’s Readings

Alex in Nepal for Miracles Day

Recent Articles

Meet Alex 2.0!

That’s how I feel after returning from a week in a developing country; pretty much a whole new person. Back in August, I went with other Christian radio announcers to Nepal as the guest of CBM Australia. We were there to raise money on-air for their ‘Miracles Day’ campaign. Little did I know how much…

The Second City of Redemption

When Steven Malcolm was nine, his father was deported back to Jamaica. His mother turned to alcohol, and he gravitated toward the streets. But his search for identity would ultimately lead him to his heavenly Father. His new album, The Second City, tells some of that story. His father’s hometown, Montego Bay, is often called…

How Obeying God Helped Rivah Find her Voice

Under her real name, Bec Laughton, Brisbane pop artist Rivah was a headliner at Easterfest. Then, for a while, she disappeared. She told Alex she’d been with God in the wilderness, on a journey to find out what came next. ‘It was an intense and beautiful journey,’ she said, ‘and in the process, I actually…

How Instagram Leads Us to God

I have always found pictures to be fascinating. Perhaps everyone does to some degree. After all, just look at Instagram. More than 80 million photos are uploaded to the site every day—and each one holds some sort of significance. They all tell a story or share a memory. However, it is not what’s in the…

Donate to vision

Over 80% of our income is from the freewill gifts of wonderful people just like you.
So thank you for helping. Your generous support is 'Connecting Faith to Life'.