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Geerhardus Vos.

Geerhardus Johannes Vos (March 14, 1862 – August 13, 1949) was an American Calvinist theologian and one of the most distinguished representatives of the Princeton Theology. He is sometimes called the father of Reformed Biblical Theology.



Vos while a young man.

Vos was born to a Dutch Reformed pastor in Heerenveen in Friesland in the Netherlands.[1] In 1881, when Geerhardus was 19 years old, his father accepted a call to be the pastor of the Christian Reformed Church congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan.[1]

Geerhardus Vos began his education at the Christian Reformed Church's Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, before moving to Princeton Theological Seminary. He completed his studies in Germany, receiving his doctorate in Arabic Studies from the Philosophy Faculty of Strassburg University in 1888.

Herman Bavinck and Abraham Kuyper tried to convince Vos to become professor of Old Testament Theology at the Free University in Amsterdam, but Vos chose to return to America.[2] Thus, in the Fall of 1888, Vos took up a position on the Calvin Theological Seminary faculty. In 1892, Vos moved and joined the faculty of the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he became its first Professor of Biblical Theology. At Princeton, he taught alongside J. Gresham Machen and B. B. Warfield and authored his most famous works, including Pauline Eschatology (1930) and Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (1948). Despite his opposition to the growing modernist influence at Princeton in the late 1920s, he decided to remain at Princeton Seminary after Machen formed the Westminster Theological Seminary, as he was close to retirement. Vos did indeed retire to California in 1932, three years after the formation of Westminster.

In 1894, Vos married Catherine Smith. Known for being the author of The Children's Story Bible, she died in 1937. They had three sons and one daughter. One of their sons, J. G. Vos (1903-1983), studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and became ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and was also a professor at Geneva College in Pennsylvania.

Vos's five volume "Reformed Dogmatics" were translated from Dutch to English by Richard B. Gaffin Jr. The first volume was published in 2013 and the fifth volume was published in 2016.


Published posthumously:

  • The Eschatology of the Old Testament (2001)
  • Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos (2001)
  • The Collected Reviews of Geerhardus Vos (2013)
  • The Collected Articles of Geerhardus Vos (2013)
  • The Collected Dictionary Articles of Geerhardus Vos (2013)
  • Reformed Dogmatics (2013-2016)


  1. ^ a b Richard H. Harms (2003). "Geerhardus Vos, Calvin's first Ph.D." Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  2. ^ James T. Dennison, Jr. "Geerhardus Vos: Life Between Two Worlds". Kerux. Retrieved January 26, 2011.

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