Pastor Tommy Mann: A Sunday Sermon Leads to a Book

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Pastor Tommy Mann; associate pastor at Philippi Baptist Church in Union, South Carolina, and author of  “Where Did Jesus Go?
To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Where was the soul of Jesus between Good Friday and Easter Sunday?

Tommy Mann is associate pastor at Philippi Baptist Church in S.C.

Tommy Mann is associate pastor at Philippi Baptist Church in S.C.

I had always assumed Jesus’ body remained in the grave, but where was His soul? I became curiousabout this when I was preaching through Ephesians and I came to 4:8-9, which says,

When He ascended on high He led a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.”(In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that He had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?)”

As I began to read commentaries and ask people for their opinion on these verses I found no agreement: some said Jesus went to hell; some said He went to heaven; some said He went up; some said He went down; some said He went nowhere, and on and on.

I dedicated a significant amount of time in researching my question, “Where was the soul of Jesus between Good Friday and Easter Sunday?” I prayed that the Holy Spirit would lead me into truth, as Jesus promised in John 16:13, and I began to seriously study this matter. My professors had always taught us to let Scripture interpret Scripture, meaning that Bible verses should always be compared to other verses to find either harmony or disagreement.

This process led me to take each opinion I could find, and see how it lined up with Scripture. For example, the opinion that Jesus’ soul remained in the tomb is not consistent with the verse that said He preached to the spirits in Hades (1 Peter 3:19); the belief that Jesus went up to heaven does not line up with Jesus’ statement to Mary Magdalene that He had not been to the Father (John 20:17). One by one I began to eliminate theories that I found to be unbiblical, and I was left with one option. When I reached my conclusion I preached a message I called Where Did Jesus Go?

MannbookFor months following that Sunday evening sermon I was flooded with calls and messages with follow up questions. I realized there was too much information to cram into one message, and it was then I decided to write the book.

This was a fairly easy book to write because most of the work had already been done during sermon preparation. The book explores the options on the table, and rules out the ones that don’t line up with Scripture. When the manuscript was finished I began to search online for self-publishing options; I was attracted to WestBow because it is a division of Thomas Nelson, the leader in Christian book publishing. Everyone from the acquisitions team, editors, cover designers, and marketing consultants have been fantastic.

Where Did Jesus Go? not only addresses the question of where Jesus spent the time preceding the Resurrection, it also gives an in depth look at:

Heaven, Paradise, and New Jerusalem;

Hell, Hades, and the Lake of Fire;

Gahenna, Tartarus, and Purgatory.

I am grateful to WestBow Press for giving me the opportunity to turn this message into a book, and I hope it can help readers learn more about this important time in Jesus’ earthly ministry.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *