New Approach to Studying Covenants of Our Fathers
After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Peter declared to his people:
Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. (Acts 3:25)
We today are also the children or descendants of the Old Testament prophets. While considering ways of making the covenants of our fathers as recorded in the books of Genesis, Moses and Abraham easier to understand, a comprehensive harmony structure and a distinguishing format was devised. It was determined to include all the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) changes. The text formatting has been enhanced by adding wider margins for notes, two type sizes, and spaces between textual subdivisions. These contextual enhancements are designed to help the reader visualize the context, speaker and doctrine of the scripture narrative.
This harmony divides the text of Genesis, Moses and Abraham into 186 events or episodes all in chronological sequence. An event,based approach provides an alternate way to read the scripture text without the obvious intrusion of verse and chapter breaks which can obscure the narrative as it was originally written or even the continuity of doctrinal discourses. Short text headings in the margins indicate names of speakers, locational information and other scriptural references. These marginal annotations allow the reader to quickly and consistently place the narrative within space and time.
Starting in the 1980s as a father and son team we developed and helped the Church publish the first online edition of the scriptures. Parallel to that project we considered ways to isolate doctrinal precepts by reformatting the scriptures for easier reading and pondering. We also investigated ways to go beyond merely searching electronically for words in the text. We quickly discovered these reformatted editions emphasizing events rather than chapters were our preferred way to study.