Every Jot and Tittle
by Burk Parsons
Although we don’t like to admit it, the reason many of us don’t read the Bible regularly is because we are afraid of it. We are afraid of the Bible because we are ignorant of the Bible. Many of the theological words and concepts we come across in the Bible are foreign to us and, therefore, frighten us. When we come across such words, we often don’t know what to make of them. So, we just move on to the next word and, to our own detriment, fail to grasp the full meaning and beauty of the passage we’re reading. This isn’t just the case with big theological words we run into from time to time, but with common words we’re familiar with that appear on every page of the Bible. Part of the reason we move on is because we are often trying to read the Bible simply to get through a particular chapter or book rather than digging into it to study it in its fullness. In fact, the Bible doesn’t ever call us just to read it. Rather, the Bible calls us to study it, to examine it, to devour it, to meditate on it, to let it dwell within our hearts richly, and to hide it in our hearts that we might not sin against the Lord.
As a pastor, one of my greatest concerns is that people know the Bible for themselves so that they might know God, love God, glorify God, and enjoy God. As Dr. R.C. Sproul and I preach every Sunday at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, we strive to help our congregation know the Bible by preaching verse-by-verse through entire books of the Bible. Recently, I completed preaching 150 sermons through 1 and 2 Corinthians, and in most of these sermons, following the example set by Dr. Sproul, I defined key theological words so that the congregation would be better equipped and unafraid to study Scripture on their own and with their families.
Some words we come across in the Bible require that we not only examine their meaning, but also the meanings of related words. This is because a word itself is often just one part of a two-part concept—a dichotomy—in Scripture. For instance, when we come across the word blessing, we must also know the biblical and theological distinction between blessing and its opposite, cursing. Similarly, in order to fully grasp the meaning of wisdom, we must examine the meaning of foolishness. If we study one without the other, we do ourselves a great disservice in our understanding and application of the theology of God’s Word. God’s Word is truth—it not only contains the truth, it defines the truth, and it is by that truth we are sanctified. Consequently, the more we know God’s truth, the more we will grow in the grace, knowledge, and holiness of Jesus Christ, by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Let us therefore study not only the major stories and theological themes of the Bible, but also every word, every jot and tittle, that we might know and love our Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, coram Deo, before the face of the God who has revealed Himself to us for our eternal good and His eternal glory.