Geerhardus Vos (1862-1949)

The Idea of Biblical Theology as a Science and as a Theological Discipline

A Brief Biography of Dr. Geerhardus Vos

Geerhardus Vos was born March 14, 1862, in the Netherlands. In 1881, he came to the United States, when his father accepted the pastorate of a Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He continued his theological studies first in Grand Rapids, then at Princeton Seminary; and completed his studies in Germany. Vos received his doctor's degree in Arabic Studies in 1888 from the philosophical faculty at Strassburg. Upon receiving his doctorate, Dr. Vos accepted a position in 1888 with the faculty of the Theological School of the Christian Reformed Churches. In 1892, Vos accepted appointment as professor of the newly created chair of Biblical Theology at Princeton Seminary, where he taught until he retired in 1932. During his 39 years at Princeton, Dr. Vos laid the groundwork for his best-known books: Biblical Theology, Old and New Testaments and The Pauline Eschatology.

Dr. Vos defined Biblical Theology as that branch of Exegetical Theology that concerns the process of God's self-revelation within the Holy Scriptures. For him, exegeting God's Word was a process in which God speaks and man listens, and that the reception of truth on God's authority is an eminently religious act.

Dr. Vos greatly helped to strengthen the Church's perception that revelation in Scripture is organic, progressing from the perfect seed form of earlier revelation to the manifestation of full doctrinal development in later revelation. He had a deep commitment that his Biblical Theology should plant itself squarely upon the truthfulness of all Scripture from Genesis through Revelation. He is one of the outstanding biblical theologians God has placed in His Church.  

John Murray said of him, "Dr. Vos is, in my judgment, the most penetrating exegete it has been my privilege to know, and I believe, the most incisive exegete that has appeared in the English-speaking world in this century."

Dr. Vos died August 13, 1949.