Psalm 119: An Acrostic Translation

In Bible translation, most translators prioritize translating the meaning over the form. That is to say, they produce a translation that conveys the meaning of the biblical text, but aspects like the grammar, or word order, or sentence divisions are generally not preserved as they are in the original texts.

In the Old Testament, many Psalms, as well as part of Proverbs 31 and most of Lamentations, are acrostic poetry. That is, each line or group of lines starts with a particular letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and it proceeds in the order of the alphabet. But this element of poetry is generally not conveyed in English translation.

Pastor Douglas Van Dorn of Reformed Baptist Church of Northern Colorado has made a poetic translation of Psalm 119 that preserves the acrostic with the English alphabet, and has kindly granted permission for it to be shared here.

Below is part 1. Read it, meditate on it, and comment on it below.

4 thoughts on “Psalm 119: An Acrostic Translation

  1. Myrl F Wagenknecht says:

    I tried the Ps 119 in acrostic — very hard.
    I didn’t get past gimel
    Is the part 5 available?
    I appreciate the Hebrew, i.e. torah, edah, derek, etc.

  2. Myrl F Wagenknecht says:

    Part 4 is the last — I was looking for z, or omega, or tav

    I studied these synonyms of torah in 22 translatioms.
    I think Torah should not be translated, but simply transliterated as torah and not law.
    Latin “lex” and Greek “nomos” should also be “torah”

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