When Robert Hicks, a British book publisher, realized that many of the works of F.F. Bruce were not readily available, he wanted to correct that situation. He believed in the importance of Bruce’s excellent content and in Bruce’s example as a leading evangelical scholar. Of the nearly 60 books and hundreds of magazine articles written by the “Dean of Evangelical Scholarship,” Robert felt many of those that were not in print could be presented in a visually appealing way for the modern reader.
F.F. Bruce let the Bible speak freely and did not make it fit a particular system of theology. He was humble and gentle, and he respected those with whom he disagreed. He was a superb scholar, and his scholarship had the purpose of helping people encounter Jesus Christ. J.I. Packer said, “No Christian was ever more free of narrow bigotry, prejudice and eccentricity. . . . No man did more to demonstrate how evangelical faith and total academic integrity may walk hand in hand.”
Robert has a history of keeping the best of older Christian works in front of today’s Bible students. In the 1990s he brought Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (which F.F. Bruce had edited) back into copyright for the benefit of W.E. Vine’s daughters and he encouraged the promotion of the book.
After receiving the support of F.F. Bruce’s daughter, Sheila Lukabyo, Robert enlisted the help of Larry Stone, former editorial vice president of Thomas Nelson Publishers in the U.S. and co-founder of Rutledge Hill Press. They formed a new company, F.F. Bruce Copyright International, and they contacted nearly twenty of F.F. Bruce’s publishers. They will now make many of Bruce’s works available in 2017.
First, a few will be reformatted into printed booklets suitable for evangelism and Bible study in universities and in church groups. Second, about 20 of Professor Bruce’s books and collections of articles will be published as reasonably-priced ebooks, which can be easily distributed around the world to places such as Zambia, Australia, and India – places where it is expensive and time consuming to ship printed books.
Third will be a promotion of all of F.F. Bruce’s books – including those now in print and those already available as ebooks. Professor Bruce’s works can help young students and scholars understand the truths of the faith and the techniques of handling Scripture. As Tim Grass said in his biography of F.F. Bruce, “The issues which, for Bruce, were non-negotiable may be summarized as the reliability of the New Testament, the person and work of Christ, the Christian life as one of forgiveness and liberty as befits those who are being led by the Spirit, and the right and duty of every believer to use whatever gifts God has given them.”
In 1971 the Christian Brethren Research Fellowship Journal published a series of articles by friends of F.F. Bruce. They illustrate the impact F.F.B. made had on evangelical scholarship in the United Kingdom and beyond. As one writer notes, Bruce never coined a new theological term, but sought rather to sift the wheat from the chaff in current theology and present the good with outstanding clarity. I am very pleased, thanks to the kind permission of Partnership, to reproduce these articles on-line: