The Day Satan Met Jesus
William L. Banks. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1973. 95 pages.
As a graduate of several seminaries, a pastor of a church, and an author of several books, Banks has the necessary credentials for making a fresh contribution to the subject of the temptation of Christ. But on the whole this book is disappointing. First of all, the author attempts to cover too many related subject areas in a comparatively short work. One can perhaps justify three chapters on the character of the devil but to include a major discussion on verbal inspiration and then to list and counter numerous opposing views on such matters as the reality of the temptation and the impeccability of Christ, not only exposes the author to the charge of spreading himself too thin, but also of being too polemical in his intent. The book somehow does not meet the expectations suggested in the subtitle—“the temptation of Christ—cast, action and effects of the wilderness drama.”
Secondly, although the book shows signs of sound scholarship, the author quotes too many verses and engages in too many word studies (e.g. kosmos, oikoumene, kairos, chronos) without sufficient regard for the context. Thirdly, except for the author’s contention that the Devil was ignorant of the purposes of Calvary, and therefore did not really perceive Jesus as the Son of God during the temptations, the book does not really contribute anything new to the subject—a fact that is supported by its dated bibliography.
However, there are several features which will prove the book to be of value for some: its clear and readable style make it a handy reference to the basic issues in the temptation account—the nature of Satan, the Spirit’s role in the temptations, the reality of the temptations, the impeccability of Christ; its contemporary application of the temptations in the last chapter; the two appendices which provide a list of songs and sermons on the subject of Christ’s temptation.