To the Letter

“His letters, say they, are weighty and powerful…” (2 Corinthians 10:10) Paul is referring here to those who read the epistles he wrote and then complained that he didn’t have the authority or intensity when he was actually there in person, to back up what he said with an equally imposing “bodily presence”. I want to talk here of individual letters.

“Majuscule” refers to upper-case letters, “minuscule” to lower-case. And before we begin, let me just say that the ancient Greek written alphabet had no case distinction. No capital letters, no lower-case. Just one size, in other words. This changed around 800 AD.

“For verily I say unto you, till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18) Jesus is speaking here of the perfection and inevitable fulfillment of God’s word. In other words, everything that God has spoken—every word, every line, every letter—will happen as He’s said. As an aside, Psalm 96:10 says “the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved”. This doesn’t negate the statement of Jesus, but if there were ever a choice between the two, it’s the world that’d be going down. Maybe that’s why the earth is in such disrepair today? Food for thought. I digress.

In the Swedish alphabet, the letter “O” with an umlaut accent (two dots) above it is the word for “island”. I’m unable to show you what it looks like with my plain-old English keyboard. Harder still is the actual sound that it makes. If you’re not Swedish, it’s hard to reproduce. Like very guttural “er” but that’s too simple.

Alphabets are amazing. The fact that we have little hand-written symbols that express the individual sounds that we make with our vocal cords, throat and mouth is beyond miraculous. Coupled with the cognitive ability of thought and language, life is indeed a wonder to behold. Even more fun to live. But it’s the most fun when lived with and for the God who created you.

The Bible pronounces some serious judgment on those who tamper with the Word of God. It’s no laughing matter. Listen: “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:19) Admittedly, John is referring here to the Book of Revelation. Peter says that “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20) But the same goes for the rest of the Bible. It’s a collection of books written and compiled over thousands of years by hundreds of different hands but it all tells the same story. God’s the Creator, He loves you. Jesus died for you and wants to spend eternity with you. Follow it to the letter. Better still, follow Him.

We only capitalize “a” when it’s by itself at the beginning of a sentence. It’s a humble little letter in spite of being the first. Maybe we could learn a lesson from that? Even though it’s first, it doesn’t need to show off. As (another) aside, the word for ‘hell’ in Russian, when spelled, looks like a lower case ‘a’ next to an upper-case one. Don’t be fooled though, it’s not an upper-case “A” (again, unable to type in another language) but a heavy “t”  sound. Phew. “That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.” (2 Corinthians 10:9)

The letter “I” is capitalized in the English language because it’s a personal pronoun, taking the place of your name when you refer to yourself. And as your name is capitalized, well… Strangely enough, the center letter of the words ‘sin’ and ‘lie’ and ‘pride’ are all “i”. Or is it “I”? Just be careful. It’s a “capital” offense.

In closing, Jesus refers to Himself in Revelation (22:13) as the “Alpha (Α) and Omega (Ω), the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” But is He everything in between? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to know Him. Follow Him to the letter.

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