F. F. Bruce

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from F.F. Bruce)
Jump to: navigation, search
F. F. Bruce
FF Bruce.jpg
Born (1910-10-12)12 October 1910
Elgin, Moray
Died 11 September 1990(1990-09-11) (aged 79)
Buxton, Derbyshire
Occupation Professor, writer

Frederick Fyvie Bruce FBA (12 October 1910 – 11 September 1990), usually cited as F. F. Bruce, was a Biblical scholar who supported the historical reliability of the New Testament. His first book, New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (1943), was voted by the American evangelical periodical Christianity Today in 2006 as one of the top 50 books "which had shaped evangelicals".[1]


Bruce was born in Elgin, Moray, in Scotland, the son of a Christian Brethren (Plymouth Brethren) preacher and educated at the University of Aberdeen, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and the University of Vienna, where he studied with Paul Kretschmer, an Indo-European philologist.[2] After teaching Greek for several years, first at the University of Edinburgh and then at the University of Leeds, he became head of the Department of Biblical History and Literature at the University of Sheffield in 1947. Aberdeen University bestowed an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree on him in 1957.[3] In 1959 he moved to the University of Manchester where he became Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis. In his career he wrote over 40 books and served as editor of The Evangelical Quarterly and the Palestine Exploration Quarterly. He retired from teaching in 1978.

Bruce was a distinguished scholar on the life and ministry of Paul the Apostle and wrote several studies, the best known of which is Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit (published in the United States as Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free). He also wrote commentaries on several biblical books including Romans, Acts of the Apostles, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, the Gospel and Epistles of John, and the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Bruce was in Christian fellowship at various places during his life, though his primary commitment was to the Open Brethren among whom he grew up.[4] He enjoyed the fellowship and acceptance of this group, though he was very much a maverick in relation to his own personal beliefs. He never accepted the dispensationalism[5] and pretribulationism[citation needed] usually associated with the Brethren, and he was also an advocate of the public ministry of women[6] – something that Plymouth Brethren would still disapprove of today.

Most of Bruce's works were scholarly, but he also wrote several popular works on the Bible. He viewed the New Testament writings as historically reliable and the truth claims of Christianity as hinging on their being so. To Bruce this did not mean that the Bible was always precise, or that this lack of precision could not lead to considerable confusion. He believed, however, that the passages that were still open to debate were ones that had no substantial bearing on Christian theology and thinking. Bruce's colleague at Manchester, James Barr, considered Bruce a "conservative liberal."[7]

Bruce was honoured with two scholarly works by his colleagues and former students, one to mark his sixtieth and the other to mark his seventieth birthday. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, and served as President of the Society for Old Testament Study, and also as President of the Society for New Testament Study. He is one of a handful of scholars thus recognised by his peers in both fields.

Selected writings[edit]



  1. ^ Tim Grass, F. F. Bruce: A Life, p. 40 (Paternoster, 2012). ISBN 978-0-8028-6723-0
  2. ^ Hippenhammer, Craighton T., "F.F. Bruce: A Life, by Tim Grass" (2013). Faculty Scholarship – Library Science. Paper 15. http://digitalcommons.olivet.edu/lsci_facp/15.
  3. ^ W.W. Gasque, "Bruce, F(rederick) F(yvie)", Historical Handbook of Major Bible Interpreters, ed. Donald K. McKim, InterVarsity Press, 1998, p. 444.
  4. ^ Arnold Pickering, "F.F. Bruce as a Fellow-Elder", Christian Brethren Research Fellowship Journal 22 (Nov. 1971), p. 15f.
  5. ^ F.F. Bruce, "The End of the First Gospel", The Evangelical Quarterly 12 (1940), pp. 203–214.
  6. ^ see http://answers.net.nz/Other/bre.3.htm for a criticism of Bruce for supporting Women's Ministry based on a review of one of his articles
  7. ^ Iain Murray, Evangelicalism Divided, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth (2000), pp. 181; John Wenham, Facing Hell: An Autobiography, Carlisle: Paternoster Press (1999), pp. 195.

Further reading[edit]

  • W. Ward Gasque & Ralph P. Martin (eds). Apostolic History and the Gospel: Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce on his 60th Birthday. Exeter: Paternoster; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1970. ISBN 0-85364-098-X
  • D. A. Hagner & M. J. Harris (eds). Pauline Studies: Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce. Exeter: Paternoster; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1980. ISBN 0-8028-3531-7
  • Tim Grass. F. F. Bruce. A Life. Milton Keynes: Paternoster 2011. ISBN 978-1-84227-737-9

External links[edit]