For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Galatians 5:17
You need to be very suspicious about that which your flesh finds its greatest pleasure in. Not that you should deny your body all delights in the mercies of God. Pleasing the senses is neither good or evil in itself, but a holy improvement of lawful pleasures is a daily duty since inordinate pleasure is a sin. Pleasure is inordinate when it tends to corrupt the soul by enticing it to sin and turning it from God and his service. Though all your bodily pleasures are not sin, yet, the pleasures of the flesh and the carnal mind are the chief desires of sinners, and the devil’s greatest bait to lead men to perdition. Thus, there is great reason to be extremely afraid of that which is most pleasing to your flesh. Escape fleshly pleasure, and escape damnation. There is far more cause to be afraid of prosperity than adversity; of riches, than poverty; of honour, than obscurity and contempt; of men’s praises and applause, than their slanders and reproaches; of preferment and greatness, than a low and plain attire. Those that have yielded their reason to serve their fleshly lusts think otherwise. No wonder they sell their birthright for a mess of pottage, a prostitute, a high place, or a bellyful of pleasant meats or liquors. Heaven is the portion of serious believers and mortified saints alone (Luke 14:26-27). Millions part with God for pleasure. Hell will be filled with those who have preferred wealth, honour, sports, gluttony, drink, and filthy lusts before the holiness and happiness of believers. Temptation comes from something that men see as good, to entice them from the chief good. Apparent evil is no fit bait for the devil’s hook. Many, for the pleasures of sin for a season, will despise endless pleasures and everlasting joys. None will be damned who prefer poverty, disgrace, abstinence, hunger, thirst, and chastity before sin.
Can we trust the New Testament? Hasn’t it all been disproved? Doesn’t modern scholarship show that it was all made up much later, so that the supposedly historical foundations of Christianity are in fact a figment of the imagination?
This sort of thing is said so often in the media, in some churches, and in public life in general that many people take it for granted that nothing can be said on the other side. But, as so often, this is where careful, accurate historical scholarship of the type in which F.F. Bruce excelled has a quiet, thorough, and complete answer. Yes we can trust the New Testament. For a start, the documents themselves—the manuscripts from which our knowledge of the New Testament comes— are in far, far better shape than the manuscripts of any other work from the ancient world, by a very long way. Examine the New Testament, and you’ll find that our knowledge of it rests on a very large number of manuscripts, several hundred in fact, which go back as far, in some cases, as the early second century, less than a hundred years after the books were first written. There is better evidence for the New Testament than for any other ancient book.
This Modern Classic in the Field of New Testament Studies offers a compelling defense of biblical truth. F. F. Bruce, one of evangelicalism’s most respected scholars, makes a clear case for the historical trustworthiness of the Christian Scriptures, drawing on evidence from the New Testament documents themselves as well as extra-biblical sources. Concise chapters explore the canon and dating of the New Testament, the nature of the Gospels (including a look at miracles), the life and writings of Paul, and archaeological and literary evidence. Including here a completely updated bibliography. Bruce’s long-standing affirmation of the New Testament is still as authoritative and engaging as ever.
“Fred Bruce was a tower of strength in the worlds of scholarship and faith, and in particularto those who, like him, were and are determined not to separate the two. There are many recent books which explore the New Testament from a wide variety of angles. But this book is far from being out of date. Indeed, it remains one of the best popular introductions [to the topic of New Testament critical study] available. Enjoy it; think about it; use it as the basis for further exploration.” —N.T. Wright
Paperback; 149 pages