For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship Acts 27:23
Godliness should be every man’s main business. This is God’s chief end in sending him into the world. Liberty is the freedom to act at one’s own pleasure, but a slave is a living instrument to serve his master. When the master’s right is absolute, obedience is unconditional. God has a perfect sovereignty over his creatures, and a complete right to their services. His will and commands must be obeyed, and the great purpose for which God has designed man is to exercise himself to godliness. God created the fabric of the world for man, and man for himself. He has designed a particular purpose for all his creatures – birds, beasts, bees, sun, moon, stars, flowers, trees, and fruits – all are appointed to act according to their nature. Flowers refresh us and trees give us shade and fruit. Rivers run along their course to the ocean, and the mighty sea ebbs and flows. Man is designed for a nobler end, suitable to the excellence of his being: to worship the glorious and blessed God, and to exercise himself to godliness. The Lord made all things for himself. Man was made to worship him actively and affectionately. He is predestined and created for this purpose (Isa. 43:1, 7). How absurd to conceive that God would so carefully form us (Psa. 139:13), and enliven us with a spark of his own fire and a ray of his own light, to send us into the world merely to eat, drink, sleep, buy, sell, sow, and reap! Surely he had a higher purpose in forming man with so much care and cost? Man is a spiritual being that he might seek heaven and be serviceable to the Lord of heaven. The Jewish Talmud presents this question: ‘Why did God make man on the eve of the Sabbath?’ and gives this answer: ‘That he might begin his life sanctifying the Sabbath, and worship God, which was the chief reason and purpose that life has been given.’
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 particular to 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