Alexander Balmain Bruce (1831-1899) Minister and Theologian was born at West Lodge, Dupplin and initially educated at the parish school in Auchterarder before attending Edinburgh University (1845). This was just after the Disruption of 1843 and whether as a result of this or some other factor, Bruce’s study of theology resulted in a crisis of faith. Nevertheless, Bruce graduated and went on to take up the post of assistant minister of the Free Church at Ancrum (Roxburghshire); he became a full minister in 1859 at Cardross (Dunbartonshire). It was here that Bruce began to produce the sermons he later published as The Training of the Twelve (1871). By 1869, Bruce was at Broughty Ferry and had begun to lecture in Christianity at Edinburgh. A further publication, The Humiliation of Christ (1876) coincided with academic appointment to the chair of apologetics and New Testament exegesis (Free Church Hall, Glasgow). Now a biblical scholar, Bruce wrote extensively:
The Chief End of Revelation (1881); The Miraculous Element in the Gospels (1886); The Kingdom of God – Christ’s Teaching According to the Synoptical Gospels (1889);Apologetics – Christianity Defensively Stated (1892); The Provincial Order of the World (1897); The Moral Order of the World in Ancient and Modern Thought(1892); The Epistle to the Hebrew: the First Apology for Christianity (1899); St Paul‘s Conception of Christianity (1894); The Parabolic Teaching of Christ (1894); The Galilean Gospel (1884); The Life of William Denny (1888); With Open Face – Jesus Mirrored in Matthew, Mark, and Luke (1896); Expositor‘s Greek Testament(synoptic gospel section – 1897); Free Church Hymn Book (contribution – 1882); Church Hymnary (contributor – 1888); Theological Translation Library (editing with T. K. Cheyne – 1894).
Bruce’s interpretation of the Bible generated both admirers and critics. His Christ’s Teaching According to the Synoptical Gospels led to his investigation by the general assembly of the Free Church. That assembly found the book to be within the thinking of the Free Church. Bruce went on to become Gifford lecturer (1896-7) at the university of Glasgow. Bruce married in 1860 (Jane Hunter) and had at least one son and one daughter. He is buried at Broughty Ferry.