Beliefnet
Flunking Sainthood

Remember when you were a kid and you had to make little “poems” where the first letters spelled out a word, like your own name? Here’s an example:

Twible is a

Winsome but

Irritating

Bible for

Left-Leaning

Evangelicals and others.

This is called an acrostic poem. Throughout history, acrostics have been used for didactic purposes to teach certain principles and help people retain more of what they learned. They can impart religious doctrine (the Christian fish symbol, or icthus, is an acrostic for the Greek of “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”) or offer encoded messages. (See this article on Snopes.com for a hilarious example of what one family really wanted to say on a deceased loved one’s tombstone.) The acrostic form offered a mnemonic device for learning the order of the planets when I was a kid (but now we have to throw that whole acrostic out the window because poor Pluto has been downgraded and life will never be the same).

Before I started the Twible project, I knew about certain famous acrostic poems, like the “woman of worth” advice from Proverbs 31. But I’m coming across far more acrostics than I ever realized were in the Bible, including nine different Psalms. Much of the poetry of the Bible contains acrostic devices, as well as the first few chapters of the Book of Lamentations. Here’s my version of Psalm 111:

#Twible Ps 111: An acrostic poem. A: G’s adorable. B: G’s so Beautiful. C: He’s a Cutie! And D: Delightful. You see where this is going.

But the most interesting acrostic story from the Psalms is of 145, in which each verse is a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. If you have an older translation, like the King James Version, you’ll notice that there are only 21 verses in this Psalm instead of 22, the number of letters in the Hebrew alef-bet. That’s because before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, the verse for Nun was always missing. And of course, people knew it was missing because it would be like singing the whole alphabet song and skipping the letter N. After the DSS were found in 1947, the mystery was solved, and more recent versions like the NRSV have corrected this mistake. Here’s the Twible version of the acrostic for Psalm 145:

#Twible Ps 145: In this ABC poem, the verse for the letter N was missing until Super Grover from Sesame Street found the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Thank you, Super Grover!

P.S. Today’s Twible post has been brought to you by the letter Nun.

#Twible Ps 107:  Book V begins. (I kind of forgot to tell you that the Psalms are divided into 5 books. Twibling is complicated, see.)

#Twible Ps 108: G, remember when you used to go out into battle w/ us? How come you don’t do that anymore? Get down here w/ yr badass self.

#Twible Ps 109: Worst curses in Bible: May your penis be fruitless! May the bank foreclose! May you die young! Tell us how you really feel.

#Twible Ps 110: G promises he will make footstools out of our enemies. We can even have them reupholstered to match our chosen décor.

#Twible Ps 111: An acrostic poem. A: G’s adorable. B: G’s so Beautiful. C: He’s a Cutie! And D: Delightful. You see where this is going.

#Twible Ps 112: G’s followers bless others; they prosper, but they help the poor. The wicked just gnash thr teeth. What’s the point of THAT?

#Twible Ps 113: G’ll raise up the poor & let them sit w/ princes. He’ll bless the infertile w/ kids. He’s just taking his sweet time is all.

#Twible Ps 114: Exodus redux, w/ ’tude: “What’s your issue, sea, that you run away from G? & you, river? You just can’t take G, huh? HUH?”

#Twible Ps 115: Those idols you love can’t compare to G up there in the heavens, Israel, so just WALK AWAY. That’s right. You can do it.

 

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