Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, November 29, 2019

It’s increasingly possible that, to younger readers who may have happened upon today’s photo parable, that the word “blackboard” has scarcely any meaning. Blackboards are what schoolrooms had before they had whiteboards. And if, instead of chalk, you scraped your fingernails across a blackboard, the sound caused most people to shudder.

The phrase “like fingernails on a blackboard” has been widened to metaphorically describe anything which irritates or annoys you. I used to be an English teacher, and one line on the above sign causes me that same sort of feeling.

Can you pick it out? It’s “respect others property rights.” And can you discover what – at least to someone who used to teach grammar – is wrong? It’s the word “others.” And what’s wrong with it is that there should be an apostrophe after the “s.” The line should read:


“Oh, hey,” someone says. “It’s just a sign. No big deal, right? The message gets across, doesn’t it?”

True. But I still wish they had put in the apostrophe. (I have a mind to go out there with a Sharpie and paint one on, because this is a sign that’s on our church property.)

Jesus never mentioned apostrophes, because the language He spoke in, Aramaic, didn’t have them. Neither did Hebrew, the language the Old Testament was written in. But some of the letters were smaller than others—the smallest was the “jot”– and on the corners of some of those letters were tiny pen-strokes (“tittles”) which clarified which letter it was.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentioned how important God’s law was. Notice what He had to say:

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17 – 19 NKJV)

Want to learn or review the Bible facts about this law Jesus considered so important? Click the link just below: