Review: Jesus’s Final Week

Jesus’s Final Week, William F. Cook III. Nashville: B & H Academic, 2022.

Summary: A day-by-day discussion of the events in Jesus’s life from the triumphal entry until the empty tomb, using a “harmony of the gospels” approach.

The final week of the life of Jesus before the resurrection occupies a disproportionate part of each of our four gospels. In fact, some observers have described the gospels as “Passion narratives with long introductions.”

We often read these accounts in different gospels, which can be confusing as we try to imagine how events mentioned in one gospel mesh with those of another. Scholars use these differences to highlight the unique emphases of each gospel writer. Cook takes a different approach, which he describes as “horizontal,” using a “harmony of the gospels” resource to arrange all the events into a day-by-day chronological account that begins with the triumphal entry and ends with the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances.

For each day, he offers concise discussions that offer helpful background, explain any Old Testament scripture quoted or otherwise relevant, summarize key points in the day’s events and their significance, and then offers concluding reflections, often offering applications for our lives. For example, Cook concludes his chapter on The Triumphal Entry with this:

” We should ask ourselves how often we are overcome with emotion when we consider that many people we love and care about are on the precipice of God’s judgment. I fear we sometimes get used to loved ones and friends not knowing Jesus. We need to shed more tears and pray more passionate prayers for their salvation.”

Cook, p. 12.

We often overlook the temple controversies on Tuesday. I thought Cook’s discussion quite helpful of the four questions asked of Jesus and the final question Jesus asks of the religious leaders. The events of Thursday and Friday are given more space with a chapter each devoted to the last supper, including Jesus’s prayer in John, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Jewish Trial, The Roman Trial, and the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The final chapter discusses the empty tomb, the resurrection appearances, and evidence for the resurrection.

One of the nice features of each chapter was to include a hymn related to the material in the chapter. I often found myself at least mentally singing through the hymn. One of the things this ought suggest is that this is a wonderful devotional resource as one prepares to remember Passion Week. It also makes for a good Lenten study and includes a study guide for groups. There’s still time to get this for this year or to have on hand for the next.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare, William F. Cook III and Chuck Lawless (Foreword by Thom Rainer). Nashville: B & H Academic, 2019.

Summary: A biblical and theological survey of all the passages in the Bible concerning Satan and spiritual warfare and practical applications for the life of the church.

William Cook and Chuck Lawless make both a biblical and practical case for the reality of spiritual warfare, the personal forces of evil who seek to undermine and oppose the life of followers of Christ, as well as keep in darkness those who have not come to faith. In this work they provide a comprehensive guide for believers to understanding the warfare we are in the midst of.

First of all, they survey all the relevant Old and New Testament that refer to Satan and his forces and spiritual warfare. They provide concise explanations of each passage, offering different readings of difficult passages like 1 Peter 3:18-22, and giving their own interpretation. From the early chapters of Genesis to the last chapters of Revelation, they give the account of Satan’s efforts to oppose the purposes of God from the temptation of the Adam and Eve to the final defeat and destruction of Satan. What they make clear is that while the forces of darkness deceive and tempt and oppose, human sin is our own willful disobedience to God. What is fascinating is that the New Testament portion of this survey is four times as long as the Old Testament, particularly with the testing of Jesus, the confrontations with demons throughout the gospels and Acts, the spiritual opposition aroused as the church moves into the Gentile world, and the warfare of the book of Revelation of the dragon and the beast against the people of God and the final defeat of Satan.

The second half of the book draws on this material and applies this to our personal and corporate lives as believers. They begin with how spiritual warfare manifests in the local church, defining both the pillars of a healthy church and the lines of attack on each of these. They speak of the warfare against evangelism, blinding unbelievers to truth and rendering believers ineffective through sin, discouragement, pride, and fear that shuts our mouths. They talk about the remedy of prayer for “GOD’S HEART” (an acronym). They extend this line of discussion into mission and the disinterest, division, and distraction that needs to be countered with teaching and humble dependence. They look at attacks on the family and conclude with the warfare against leaders, addressing why many finish badly. Since many who read this book are likely to be leaders, this is one chapter not to be skipped but to be read, to be used in self-examination and spiritual accountability.

Over and over throughout this book, the authors focus on the dangers of pride, self-reliance, divisions between believers, and biblical illiteracy. At the same time, the authors emphasize the greatness of God, the victory of Christ, and the power of the Spirit, all enabling believers to overcome and prevail by faith.

This book is a useful source book for anyone teaching on spiritual warfare, combining a thorough survey of scripture with practical applications grounded in years of pastoral experience. It steers a healthy balance that both recognizes the reality of spiritual warfare, and the reality that, in the victory of the cross and resurrection, Satan and his forces have been decisively defeated and the believer provided with all he or she needs for life and godliness.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions I have expressed are my own.