How Often Would I Have Gathered You is no ordinary book of Bible stories. It contains 229 very readable and engaging Old Testament stories, written especially for adults and young adults. These great stories are told in chronological sequence—to the extent possible—and take the reader on a meaningful and exciting journey through the Old Testament—beginning with the Grand Council (as told in the Pearl of Great Price) and concluding after the return of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon to rebuild the temple.
As you read these inspiring stories, you will explore the lives of the kings, the prophets, and the ordinary people of the Old Testament. You will rediscover the favorite Bible stories from your childhood and also delight in other, less familiar, stories of faith and devotion. The stories are in modern English and a comfortable, reverent writing style. They are true to the scriptural account without embellishment, and you will find them to be simple without being simplistic and true to the scriptural account without embellishment.
A word of advice, however: As good as these stories are, reading them is no substitute for reading the Old Testament itself. You will want to use How Often Would I Have Gathered You and the scriptures together. This will help bring the Bible to life and enhance your understanding. Not only will you understand the Old Testament better than ever before, you will also gain a greater appreciation for this great book of ancient scripture as the word of God and of its important place in our religious tradition. In short, I believe you will come to understand it better than ever before and to love it.
How is this book different from other books of Old Testament stories?
- The stories are written for adults and young adults rather than children. (Note: Though the stories are written primarily for adults, they are also a valuable aid for parents who want to teach their children about the stories of the Old Testament.)
- The book is more comprehensive than any other book of Old Testament/Bible stories that we know of. It includes many wonderful, rarely-told, and little-known stories.
- The stories contain information and perspectives from non-Old Testament sources, especially the Pearl of Great Price; the Book of Mormon; and the works of Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian. The Joseph Smith Translation (JST), the Doctrine and Covenants, and other LDS scripture-study aids have also been used.
- The stories are written in modern English, except for the use of the old-style pronouns (Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine and their related verbs) when talking about Deity.
- Unlike an Old Testament translation, How Often… does not go through every word and every verse—or even every thought. It includes only what is relevant to each story—leaving out those parts where many readers get bogged down. Some stories cover only a few verses; others cover entire books with unessential details being omitted.
- Insofar as we can tell, no other collection of Old Testament stories provides more than just glimpses into the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah during the period of the divided monarchy, after King Solomon. Those stories—in parts 9, 10, and 11 of the book—provide the help you need to better understand these kings, their reigns, their interface with God’s prophets, and this significant period of Old Testament history.
- The King James translators replaced the name Jehovah in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament with the term “the LORD,” putting LORD in small capital letters. How Often Would I Have Gathered You takes “the LORD” out of the account and puts Jehovah back in—with significant effect. (Note: It is helpful to understand that the ancient Jews neither spoke nor wrote the name YHWH [which we now pronounce as Jehovah) because it was too sacred. The writers of the Masoretic text [the authoritative Hebrew text] instead used dots [. . . .] or wrote the name “Adonai” [which means “lord”] in its place).
Other significant features of the book:
- Extensive footnotes (not end notes) give helpful insights and background to the stories, as well as cross references between related stories in the book.
- Original illustrations by Owen Richardson.
- A chart of the kings of Judah and Israel during the divided monarchy—showing how they related to each other time-wise, when each of them reigned, where accounts of them are found in the scriptures, and which stories in the book relate to each one.
- Maps to provide geographical perspective.
- An extensive pronunciation guide.
- A bibliography.
- A name index.
- A subject index.
Why did I publish a Second Edition?
- Some stories have been enhanced by new insights.
- The scope of some stories has also been expanded to include other important details.
- Inadvertent errors (typos, etc.) in a few stories have been corrected.
- Factual errors in some stories have been corrected as additional information has come to light.
- The language in many of the stories has been tightened up and clarified. Many verbal redundancies have been eliminated.
- This book is printed in a larger typeface that is easier to read than the first edition.
- Many more new footnotes have been added to provide greater insight and background information relating to the stories.
- Several existing footnotes were expanded to provide more information.
The Old Testament: understand it, love it!
Click on the book cover below to look inside and read some sample stories.
Awards given to the