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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