Alma

 

The Lord Redeems His Covenant Children

      Alma 1 -- Alma 44


 

 

 

 

ALMA

 

 

Alma Title The Book of Alma:

 

     Sidney Sperry writes that the Book of Alma is by far the largest in the Book of Mormon, containing sixty-three chapters and about 1641/2 printed pages in the current edition. It constitutes, therefore, somewhat less than one-third of the total text in the Nephite record. The book is named after the younger Alma, but the abridgment of his part of the record occupies only the first forty-four chapters. The abridgment of Helaman's record is found in Chapters 45-62, and that of Shiblon's occupies part of Chapter 63. The Book of Alma thus breaks down into three logical divisions according to its authorship. The text abridged by Mormon was therefore the product of a father and two of his sons, Helaman and Shiblon being the sons of the younger Alma. It deals with a period of about thirty-nine years of Nephite history (from the first year of the reign of the judges till the end of the thirty-ninth year--see Alma 1:1; 63:16).

     The Book of Alma is the great missionary book in the Nephite record. Chapters 5-26 and 31-34 are especially noteworthy as accounts of missionary labors. The significant Nephite successes in converting the Lamanites will be found reported in Chapters 17-26. Alma is also noted, in the Book of Mormon, as a book of unusual doctrinal significance. It is likewise a book of war. This is especially true of Chapters 43-62. [Sidney B. Sperry, Book of Mormon Compendium, p. 324]

 

 

Alma (Superscription) The Account of Alma:

 

     According to Fred Woods, the record of Alma in the book of Alma is unique in that it comprises 22.6 percent of the entire Nephite record and yet covers only 18 years, or merely 1.76 percent of the entire 1021 years of Nephite history. [Fred E. Woods, "The Record of Alma: A Prophetic Pattern of the Principles Governing Testimony," in The Book of Mormon: Alma, The Testimony of The Word, p. 305]

 

Alma (Superscription) The Account of Alma:

 

     According to Fred Woods, another unusual feature of the record of Alma, in addition to its length, is its large number of superscriptions. These superscriptions were part of the manuscript and were printed in the 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon and should not be ignored. They appear over chapters 1, 5, 7, 9, 17, 21, 36, 38, and 39 of the book of Alma in the 1981 edition of the Book of Mormon. Professor Sidney B. Sperry has explained, "The fact that they are found over the chapters enumerated and over no others would seem to indicate that Mormon took them from Alma's original text" (203). The fact that with the exception of the introductory superscription to the record of Helaman at Alma chapter 45, there are no other superscriptions in that part of the record of Helaman, would also lend support to the idea that these superscriptions came from Alma's own hand.

     One notable difference between the 1830 and the 1981 editions of the book of Alma is that the 1981 edition added the phrase "comprising chapters . . ." to some of the original superscriptions to designate current chapter divisions. [Fred E. Woods, "The Record of Alma: A Prophetic Pattern of the Principles Governing Testimony," in The Book of Mormon: Alma, The Testimony of The Word, pp. 305-306]