Defining “Acrostic”

Each week this year I’ve put together a “devotional” or Bible reading guide for Orwell Bible Church. We cover 11 chapters a week, which works out to reading two chapters Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and one chapter the other days of the week. (Each day I post each chapter here).

In the devotional I state a summary of each chapter, followed by an explanation of key terms or questions to stimulate thought and application.

We’re in the Psalms now, and in addition to the above I give a basic outline of the particular Psalm.

The Psalm I read for today (which will be for next week sometime) in the Hebrew is an acrostic, so I wanted to give a basic definition of “acrostic.” I’ve found it helpful over the years to work up my own definitions; that helps me in both learning and teaching, instead of just regurgitating what others have said (though I’ve done that too 🙂 ).

Defining “acrostic” was challenging. I scribbled and worked for about a half a page. I usually begin just writing everything about the particular word or concept and then pare it down to be clear and concise. (In college I took a class on persuasive writing and we had to write sentences using each word only once–a good exercise!)

Here’s what I’ve got so far for my definition:

Each line follows the order of the alphabet.

What do you think? Did I leave anything essential out? Suggestions?

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Author: Dan Greenfield

I am an undeserving sinner saved by God's grace through Jesus Christ, a happy husband, proud father of 6 great kids, pastor of Orwell Bible Church, Executive Secretary of the American Council of Christian Churches, and member of the Ohio Bible Fellowship .

3 thoughts on “Defining “Acrostic””

  1. I had some fun with this. It can use some “tweeking”, but what about this…
    A- Accurately
    C- Creating
    R- Relative (thoughts, words?)
    O- Ordgered
    S- Significantly
    T- Together
    I- Infusing
    C- Concepts

    As I said, It can use some work. I was trying to find an “R” word to mean “thoughts, ideas,words…?”
    I like making acrostics. I have an entry on my blog where I did one for Savior and Creator 🙂
    http://applesinaseed.blogspot.com/2010/09/philippeans-310-that-i-may-know-him.html

  2. Nice! 🙂

    A friend emailed me about this and correctly pointed out that acrostics occurring in the Hebrew Bible are alphabetic in structure. Acrostics can be constructed in other ways, as you’ve pointed out.

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