Alexander Balmain Bruce

Professor of Apologetics and New Testament Exegesis, Free Church College, Glasgow

(1) The Providential Order of the World (2) The Moral Order of the World in Ancient and Modern Thought

In his first lecture series (delivered in 1897), Bruce claims that the issue is not ‘that’ God is, but ‘what’ God is, exploring this question in light of ‘Providence’. Bruce’s line of proof, in keeping with the Gifford trust, is ‘through man to God’. In his second lecture series (delivered in 1898), Bruce considers those whose moralities do not necessarily hold to a belief in a living personal God, as well as theists, asking the question, ‘what have the wisest thought?’


Alexander Balmain Bruce was born on 30 January 1831 in Aberargie, Scotland. A minister and theologian, Bruce was marked by an appreciation for the emerging field of biblical criticism. He served as a minister at the Free Church of Scotland in Cardross beginning in 1859, eventually moving to Broughty Ferry in 1868, during which he presented the Cunningham lectures in Edinburgh. In 1875, he was appointed Chair of Apologetics and New Testament Exegesis in the Free Church Hall, Glasgow.

Active in the Free Church, Bruce served as a convenor of hymnal committees that published the Free Church Hymn Book in 1882, and the Church Hymnary in 1888. His sermons and publications include The Training of the Twelve (1871), The Humiliation of Jesus Christ (1876), The Chief End of Revelation (1881), The Parabolic Teaching of Christ (1882), The Galilean Gospel (1884), The Miraculous Element in the Gospels (1886), Apologetics: or, Christianity Defensively Stated (1892), St. Paul’s Conception of Christianity (1894), With Open Face: or, Jesus Mirrored in Matthew, Mark, and Luke (1896).