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In Come and See For Yourself: The Gospel — As If for the First Time, N. Scott Cupp boldly undertakes a task few have attempted in these days of historical-critical scholarship: harmonizing the Gospel accounts of the three years of Jesus’ ministry. There are perils in such an undertaking: past attempts at harmonizing the Gospels have largely ignored insights of biblical scholars, who point out certain disharmonies among the different Gospel-writers’ accounts. Some of these disharmonies have to do with incidents that occur in one or more Gospels, but not all. Others appear to be two different versions of the same story but set in a different town or involving slightly different characters. Did Jesus perform two similar healings twice? Or did a single story come down to the Gospel-writers in slightly different versions?

Such scholarly questions — many of them ultimately unanswerable — have discouraged many aspiring harmonizers in our time to abandon their task as impossible.

But not Scott Cupp. As a seasoned preacher, he knows how to tell a good story: and he does. The greatest value of his book is evangelical, in the deepest and most positive sense of that word. As the title indicates, he invites readers to come and see for themselves, to meet Jesus in the pages of the scriptures.

The book has great value for preachers and teachers of the Bible, who can use it as a model for how to retell biblical stories from the pulpit or in the Sunday School classroom. Imagine a child asking a parent, “Tell me again that story of how Jesus healed the blind man.” Parents could of course simply pull out a Bible and read the story — as they may have on a previous occasion — but they could also retell it in simple, moving language. Cupp offers a model for how to internalize such a story and retell it with feeling.

It would be a mistake to regard Come and See For Yourself as a new Gospel. But it never pretends to be such. Think of it as a treasury of Bible stories in contemporary language, faithful to D.T. Niles’ famous definition of evangelism as “one beggar telling another beggar where to get food.” Its value lies not in the fine points of its sequential retelling — with which some scholars may quibble — but in the ways readers can dip into it, as creative narrative.

The Rev. Carlos “Carl” Wilton, Ph.D. is a retired minister member of the Presbytery of Baltimore. He has served as pastor in Hawley, Pennsylvania; in Bedminster, New Jersey; and in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. He has also served as Director of Admissions and Assistant Dean at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, as an adjunct professor at Princeton and New Brunswick Theological Seminaries, and as stated clerk of two different presbyteries.

This book is an eye-opener for two kinds of people: the very familiar with the story of Jesus, and those who know virtually nothing about him. For the very familiar it offers a fresh glimpse of a wonderful life and for the unfamiliar it is a gripping introduction to the most interesting person in human history.

While this book remains true to the stories and teachings of the gospels, Scott has ordered them in such a way as to give an engaging, even gripping, sense of the flow of the story of Jesus.

Even for one very familiar with the stories of Jesus, this book is a very engaging and interesting retelling of the story of Jesus.

For those who know little or nothing of the story of Jesus, this little engaging book makes clear why it has been called the greatest story ever told.

Rev. Dr. E. Stanley Ott

Author, Pastor and President

Leading Moments® LLC

Cornelius, North Carolina, United States

As fewer people read the Bible or participate in organized religion, the story of Jesus is growing less familiar. In Come and See for Yourself: The Gospel – As if for the First Time, N. Scott Cupp makes Jesus’ story accessible and clear. Just as crucially, for those who are deeply immersed in Christian faith, Cupp’s book offers a fresh reminder of why this story matters.

Rev. Dr. Christine Chakoian
Westwood Presbyterian Church
10822 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024