F.F. Bruce: A Life – A Book Review


There has long been a need for a full biography of the F.F. Bruce, a scholar whose work proved deeply influential on the development of the Evangelical church in the 20th Century. For that reason I was delighted when Paternoster sent me a review copy of Tim Grass’s F.F Bruce: A Life

Having spent a considerable time interviewing friends and colleagues of Bruce around the globe, Tim Grass offers a thorough and at times humourous account of FFB’s life. This is combined with a judicious analysis of both his writings and the development of his thought on a wide range of theological subjects. With such an influential figure it will, I am sure, prove tempting for some to tick-off those subjects on which one agreed or disagreed with Bruce. However, the author attempts to identify how Bruce’s background and upbringing influenced his theology in a number of ways and so will perhaps help readers to recognise their own presuppositions more clearly. The author discusses both Bruce’s strengths and weaknesses and so presents a well-balanced picture of Bruce as a deeply committed Christian and a professional scholar. It is difficult not to be impressed by someone who proofread the entire text of the English translation of Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament whilst travelling on the train to work each day!
The final chapter provides an evaluation of Bruce’s profound influence under three headings: His impact on the Brethren; on evangelicalism generally and, finally, on the world of academic biblical studies. An extensive bibliography of FFB’s works rounds off the volume.
FFB is an inspiration by his example as a biblical scholar seeking to be true to the message of Scripture and I highly commend this book to anyone who, like myself, has benefitted from his works.

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