Jesus and the smallest letter

Study Biblical Hebrew – Discover the secrets

  • What was Jesus’ intention?

    Jesus was a Jew and preached to a Jewish audience. Although he was beloved by many, some of his Jewish followers were concerned that he was calling for the eradication of the Torah and the creation of an entirely new covenant in its place. This was never his intention. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reassured his disciples that despite the revolutionary content of some of his teachings, he had no intention of “abolishing the law or the prophets”. 

    Not Even the Smallest Iota

    Jesus said that “not one letter…will pass from the law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18). The original Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew says “not one iota”. The Greek letter iota is derived from the Hebrew letter yod. Its name comes from the Hebrew word yad (יד) meaning “hand”, because it is shaped like a little finger. Yod is so small that ancient scribes sometimes left it out of words to save space. 

    See the Hebrew State of Mind

    Jesus’ audience spoke Hebrew and would have immediately understood his point: the yod is the smallest - and seemingly most trivial letter - in the Hebrew alphabet. So “not one yod will pass from the law” means “not even the smallest detail will be eliminated from the Torah.” When you learn the language spoken by Jesus, you can better understand His teachings. Enroll in our live online Biblical Hebrew course and learn to appreciate the authentic words uttered by Jesus.   

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