The title of this post takes a little humorous potshot at preachers but it’s all in love. The premise is that the letter P must have been created by God on purpose so that His undershepherds would have an easier time writing alliterated sermons.
I have known pastors who were masters (master pastors) in the art of alliteration. I remember a time when we were sitting in our weekly pastoral staff meeting. We started by reading a short passage of scripture when suddenly, our lead pastor identified a workable, three-point outline in the text and then he instantly alliterated it. He was amazingly adept at that sort of thing.
But back to the letter P; I think that letter is probably the easiest of all letters to use in alliterated outlines. There are just so many good, biblical words that work. One of the classic examples that comes to mind goes something like this:
When God saves a sinner, he…
(1) is declared free from the Penalty of sin.
(2) is made free from the Power of sin.
(3) will be free from the very Presence of sin.
Alliteration can also occur when the same letters or sounds are used in a string of words in one sentence. One contemporary political commenter and author, I enjoy, is Doug Giles. He has mastered the use of alliteration to emphasize his points and uses it abundantly in his articles. I bought a book he wrote with an alliterated title, “Raising Rowdy and Righteous Girls.” A free gift that came with the purchase was this alliterated bumper sticker that I proudly display on my car; “Dads Against Daughters Dating Democrats.”
Anyway, when I started this A to Z blog challenge this year, I decided to alliterate all 26 of my post titles. It’s fun but it has been very challenging. When I get an idea for an article I want to write, I brainstorm through the topic and jot down a list of words that all start with the same letter. After I have developed a word list, I begin to arrange those words into simple sentences. Then I go to the thesaurus to find synonyms for those words in my sentences that don’t start with the right letter. Some of the titles came to me rather quickly (almost like they were inspired) but then there are others that I have had to revisit several times and labor over for hours. Most of the titles have required more time than writing the articles. I won’t try this again next year.
But the whole exercise is not in vain. In the first couple days of April, I was telling my daughters that I was writing alliterated titles when one of them said, “two weeks ago I didn’t even know the word. Now we are studying alliteration in our language lessons” (both of my daughters school all of my grandchildren at home). So the timing of this is right; not only are my grandchildren seeing and learning the use of alliteration, they are also looking up the meanings of many of the words that I have used so they are improving their vocabularies as well.
The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd. Ecclesiastes 12:11