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Bible Based Book Reviews – The Defense of the Gospel in the New Testament
Reviewed by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon
The Defense of the Gospel in the New Testament
by FF Bruce
William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company
Grand Rapids, MI: reprinted 1989.
107 Pages, Paperback.
What is the Gospel? In this book F.F. Bruce is defining the Gospel. He covers the how the cross and the “euangellion” or the “good news” permeates every aspect of life in the New Testament. He uses the Biblical record in order to show how the early Christian communicated this good news to their culture. He demonstrates the threats and obstacles which the early Christians, by the power of God, needed to overcome, and aided their Jewish and Gentile contemporaries in the revealed knowledge of God that Jesus Christ was truly the Messiah long awaited and prophesied about in the Hebrew Bible. He explains the various characteristics of the New Testament witness; for example, Jesus often spoke about how he is designated the “Son of Man” and the writer to the Hebrews spends much time in his anti-neoplatonic defense of Christ as truly God’s Son, as well as highlighting Christ as the once for all sacrifice and His Priest of the New and better covenant. The purpose of the book is clear and concise, and is a worthy read for anyone being introduced to the overall idea of the Gospel theme through the NT.
Some of the chapters he discusses are “the meaning of the Gospel”, “The Gospel according to Jesus”, “The Gospel and Paganism”, and “The finality of the Gospel.”
“If the proclamation of Christ crucified was a scandal to pious Jews, it was foolishness to sensible Gentiles and especially those Gentiles who were self-consciously the heirs of Greek culture. To them the cross of Christ was not a theological problem, but was a practical obstacle in the way of their taking the Gospel seriously.”
“One reason for the change in situation between the fifties and the sixties was that it became increasingly difficult for Christianity to share the recognition which Judaism enjoyed at the hand of Roman Law.”
“However the Gospel may be defended, it cannot be defended by concessions which deprive it of its essence or detract from our Savior’s title to be called The Word of God. Christian witness today, as in the first century, must echo the affirmation, “I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me (John 14:6).”