I was recently listening a podcast that included an interview with Robert. M. Price about the origins of the New Testament and the formation of the canon. I was quite frustrated as the interviewer seemed to be taking Price’s opinions as if they were the standard scholarly positions. The truth is that Price is a radical, even when it comes to liberal New Testament scholarship. I wish that the interviewer had a balancing view on the New Testament. A great resource for this would be F.F. Bruce’s The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
I’m a big fan of Bruce’s scholarship and I have never been disappointed by anything of his that I have read. Bruce was able to balance solid scholarship with a faithfulness to historical Christianity. Bruce understood that scholarship, when done properly, is never a threat to the truth of the Gospel.
This short book is a great example of apologetics done well. Bruce tackles all of the major questions that people have about the reliability of the New Testament in a way that is academically responsible and accessible to the general reader. All of the questions about the reliability of the Greek manuscripts to the formation of the canon are wrestled with.
Although this is an older book (originally written in 1940), it is still a valuable resource. Having immersed myself in this subject for the last couple of decades, I think this still provides a good response to many of the popular questions. The areas in which it is out of date (e.g., archaeological discoveries, new manuscripts) do not take away from Bruce’s conclusions. Rather time has only strengthened his position and not weakened it.
If you are looking for a good and short introduction on the reliability of the New Testament, I recommend The New Testament Documents:Are They Reliable?