The Acrostic of God: A Rhyming Theology for Kids (BOOK) written by Jonathan Gibson and Timothy Brindle
The Acrostic of God: A Rhyming Theology for Kids (ALBUM) by Timothy Brindle
Theology for Kids?
Does God want our children to learn theology? ABSOLUTETLY! In Psalm 78, Asaph the psalmist says that the purpose of his psalm is to teach children who God is and what He has done to save His people in the history of salvation:
A Maskil of Asaph.
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!…
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done. (Ps. 78:1, 3-4, ESV)
It is worth noting that Psalm 78 is called a Maskill which is an instructional psalm that teaches God’s people how to wisely navigate life. This emphasis of parents instructing their children in God’s Word so that they may “set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments” (Ps. 78:7) is reiterated in Proverbs 1:8 and Ephesians 6:4.
But Isn’t Theology BORING for Kids?
Theology is the worshipful study of the Living GOD (Ps. 111:2)! In particular, theology is the study of who he is as God (“His Might,” Ps. 78:4) and what he has done in redemptive history (“His glorious deeds,” Ps. 78:4). If we think teaching theology to our children is boring, then we are saying that God is boring! But as we know, God is anything but boring—he is the greatest, most breathtaking, exhilarating, and life-changing reality there is. And God wants us, and our children, to know Him. Consider what Moses did after God rescued Israel through the Red Sea. He wrote them a song to sing, which was full of theology:
“Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
The LORD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (Ex. 15:11, 2)
And who sung it? The people of Israel (15:1), which included lots of kids! On the other side of the Red Sea, kids sung about the greatness of their God—the mighty warrior who cast their enemy into the sea. Do you think the kids were bored with what they had just seen or with Moses’ song?
Jonny Gibson and I wrote The Acrostic of God: A Rhyming Theology for Kids to spotlight various attributes, characteristics, names, and titles of God which are revealed in Scripture. In book one of The Acrostic Theology for Kids series, our emphasis is on the Triune God:
“The Father, Son, and Spirit deserve the same praises;
The Bible teaches that they each share the same greatness!”
Ultimately, God’s character and His saving works are revealed most fully and finally in the person and work of Jesus Christ, especially in His sacrificial death for sinners and His glorious resurrection (John 14:9, 2 Cor. 4:4-6). So we’ve tried to make most of the rhymes for each letter point to Jesus in some way:
“HOLY—God is completely different from us;
He is perfectly pure and infinitely just.
Because he is holy, he hates and abhors sin;
Only faith in Christ makes us holy before him.”
Does the Bible Help Make Theology Fun and Memorable?
The Bible shows us how to teach theology to kids, so that they’ll remember and have fun learning God’s Word!
Perhaps you already noticed that many of the Bible passages quoted above are songs. As Hebrew poetry, the psalms and songs of salvation have meter, rhythm (think “beats!”), parallelism, word play, alliteration, and many times – RHYME! Sometimes these “rhymes” have one syllable rhymes, in which only the last syllable of each line rhymes (like a “cat in the hat” book). But other times, there are multiple rhyme scheme syllables, such as an AB/AB rhyme scheme. For instance, consider Psalm 42:1. The repetition of the Hebrew verb “to long for” (תַּעֲרֹ֥ג, ta-ah-rōg) highlighted in yellow is part A of the rhyme scheme, while part B of the rhyme scheme is word for “water” (מָ֑יִם, may-īm) which rhymes with “God” (אֱלֹהִֽים, El-o-him) [Recall that Hebrew reads from right to left!]:
But that’s not all! The first line has an identical number of syllables as the second line – twelve! For this reason, Jonny and I wrote The Acrostic of God in this rhyme form, in which most lines have an AB/AB rhyme scheme, and nearly identical syllable counts:
“BLESSED is God, he’s overflowing in his gladness;
But sin ruins us, so we’re groaning in our sadness.
He knows that our sin will only kill us and destroy;
So he sent his Son to bless us and fill us with his joy!”
In the rhyme patterns above, it is not just the last word of each line that rhymes, but like Psalm 42:1 in Hebrew, multiple words and phrases rhyme with each other, marked in the book with italics. “Destroy” and “joy” rhyme, but so do the phrases before them, making an AB/AB rhyme scheme:
“kill us and destroy;
… fill us with his joy!”
Likewise, while “gladness” and “sadness” rhyme, so do the phrases before them:
“…overflowing in his gladness;
…so we’re groaning in our sadness”
For the readers who want to hear the book rapped over beats, The Acrostic of God: Rap Album is available only at TimothyBrindleMinistries.com.
What’s an Acrostic Poem?
Besides rhythm and rhyme, God has another teaching tool in His Word to help us and our children learn: acrostic poems.
As we say in the book:
“An acrostic poem uses the alphabet,
to teach you about God so you will not forget.”
In acrostic poems, the first word in each line or stanza begins with the respective letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Psalm 119, the longest chapter and poem in the Bible, is written in acrostic style. From first to last, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet contains eight verses that begin with that letter. Here is how Psalm 119:1-8 appears in Hebrew, as each verse begins with an aleph (א), the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (highlighted below):
Another part of the Bible that is highly acrostic is the Book of Lamentations, with the first 4 chapters being written as acrostic poems. God put acrostic poems in the Bible as a fun and memorable way for his people (grown-ups, and kids!) to recall His Word and know Him better.
Will You Join Us?
The Gibsons and Brindles have thirteen children combined, eleven here on earth, and two daughters waiting for us in heaven—Leila and Johanna. We take seriously God’s command to teach our children His Word (Deut. 6:6-7) and to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). But we also strongly believe that it doesn’t have be boring. Indeed, it should be enjoyable and fun! So why not join us in joyfully teaching your children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces, students and neighbors, who God is and what He has done in Jesus Christ:
“Let’s read the Acrostic of God together
To help you to make him your awesome treasure.
We’ll read it, rap it, or sing it—it’s fun!
Till Jesus comes back and his kingdom has come.”