And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
In a word, whatever affliction we bear shall for our soul’s gain. God’s rod and love go together. This is a sweet and blessed lesson indeed; it quietens the heart and supports the soul under its burdens ( 2 Cor. 4:16). What we lose in our bodies we gain in our souls. What we lose in our estates we receive back in grace. Thus we can bear up and comfort ourselves in our deepest sorrows. When God takes away creature comforts, by secret impressions of love upon the heart he strengthens the soul. We become ‘more than conquerors through him who loved us’ (Rom. 8:37). God teaches us in affliction that one thing is necessary. Affliction reveals how mistaken we are about our ‘must-bes’ and necessities. In our health and liberty we think this thing must be done. We think riches and honours are necessary and we must have our estates and lay up large portions for our children. But in the day of adversity, when death looks us in the face and God causes the horror of the grave, the dread of the last judgment, and the terrors of eternity to pass before us, then we put our mouths in the dust and sigh; ‘O how I have been mistaken! I have fed upon ashes, and my deceived heart has turned me aside.’ We can now see how the pardon of sin, an interest in Christ, a sense of God’s love, and the assurance of glory, are the only indispensables. Christ alone is the one thing necessary, and all others are but ‘maybes’ at best. All the world has is but loss and dung in comparison with the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. Without him the soul is undone to all eternity. They that do not learn this lesson in the school of the Word shall learn it in the school of affliction, if they belong to God.
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