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

Show God’s Love: 1

‘God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.’ Romans 5:8 NLT Human love says, ‘I’ll love you as long as you meet my expectations, agree with my politics, attend my church, or fit into my friendship circle.’ God’s love isn’t like that. He didn’t…

Today’s Readings

Let Healing Begin

‘O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.’ Psalm 30:2 NKJV We talk so easily about things that don’t matter. But when it’s time to talk about our fears, our loneliness, our guilt, or our need to be loved, we clam up like oysters. Sometimes we act like we don’t…

Today’s Readings

Vengeance Is Out

‘“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.’ Romans 12:19 NKJV Vengeance is God’s job, not yours. He will repay—whether on the final Day of Judgment or in this life. He can discipline your abusive boss or teacher, soften your angry parent, bring your friends to their senses. Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice; it entrusts…

Today’s Readings

You Are Special

‘I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Psalm 139:14 NKJV Sarah Hupp writes: ‘Did you know you started out as a single cell, and within that cell was enough DNA to hold the equivalent of 1,000 volumes of coded blueprints? Or that this DNA determined the colour of your hair and…

Today’s Readings

Overcoming Failure

‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart.’ Psalm 73:26 NIV As you drive towards your destiny, you’re sure to hit a few potholes along the way. Or maybe you’ll take some wrong turns, or forget to check your petrol gauge and run out of fuel. The truth…

Today’s Readings

Alex in Nepal for Miracles Day

Recent Articles

Live Different: Allegra

My name is Allegra! I’m 14 and I live in beautiful Tasmania. I am homeschooled, one of three kids, and an artist. I want my life to glorify Jesus only. I want His way, plan and will for my life to be accomplished. I’ve always wanted to get married! But I had no idea how…

Songs About Our Culture

We reckon every new track Branan Murphy puts out is gold. Adopted by older parents, he grew up listening to the Beatles and the Beach Boys, which taught him an old-school respect for melody. But his thoughtful reflections on living in faith really set him apart. ‘I grew up in the Southern United States,’ he…

Stand-Up and Standing Out

Being one of the few Christian comedians in Australia isn’t an easy road. ‘If you think you want to be a stand-up comedian,’ Newcastle’s Uncle Nath told Alex, ‘God’s probably calling you to do it. Or you’re insane. It’s one or the other.’ The cool thing about comedy, he says, is that unlike, say, a…

How Apollo LTD Got their Name

For Jordon Philips, the hardest part of being in a band is working out what to call it. ‘We’ve always hated naming bands,’ he admitted to Alex. ‘It’s the worst!’ Adam Stark shouted in the background. Read on for the story of how they decided on their name, or listen to the podcast of their…

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'.