Book review: 'Third Nephi — The Fifth Gospel' a compelling, scholarly witness of important scriptural account

By Scott Livingston

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 9 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"THIRD NEPHI: The Fifth Gospel," by Andrew C. Skinner, Cedar Fort, $14.99, 128 pages (nf)

In his concise new book “Third Nephi: The Fifth Gospel,” Brigham Young University professor of ancient scripture Andrew Skinner provides readers with a scholarly yet accessible insight into this remarkable scriptural text that contains the sublime account of the glorified Savior’s visit to ancient America after his ministry had concluded among his sheep in Israel.

With obvious love for the subject, Skinner shows how Third Nephi is both a continuation and amplification of the four New Testament gospels.

Again and again, the author uses the scriptural text to show how intricately interwoven the Bible and Book of Mormon accounts truly are. Skinner thoughtfully breaks the book into sections and shows how the Savior teaches his sheep the “fulness of the gospel.” Especially relevant are the later chapters in the book dealing with how Third Nephi foreshadows the later restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Readers are sure to be enriched as they read and ponder every page.

Skinner writes boldly and compellingly. His writing style is unadorned and free of hyperbole. Clearly, he speaks with the tongue of a believer. But his testimony is expressed in a thoughtful and well-earned way: “Third Nephi: The Fifth Gospel” is not merely an expression of testimony, as important as such a witness surely is.

Perhaps the best summary of why Third Nephi, in the author’s words, “stands above (the other gospels),” is contained in the final summary of the book itself. “In the end,” Skinner writes, “It is the Fifth Gospel that holds us spellbound. It is the Fifth Gospel that gives the other gospels true meaning. …It is the Fifth Gospel that constitutes the capstone of ancient testimonies of the Father and the Son working in tandem. …In the end, the Fifth Gospel is a gift of lasting, even eternal value.”

Scott Livingston blogs about the uphill climb of becoming a writer at sleye1stories.com. He blogs otherwise at sleye1.blogspot.com and he tumbles at sleye1stories.tumblr.com.

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