Vern Poythress

Vern Sheridan Poythress (born 1946) is an American philosopher, theologian, and New Testament scholar, who is currently the New Testament chair of the ESV Oversight Committee. He is also the Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary and editor of Westminster Theological Journal.

Vern Sheridan Poythress
Madera, California
Theological work
Tradition or movementCalvinist, Van Tillian presuppositionalist
Main interestsPhilosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, linguistics, hermeneutics, New Testament
Notable ideasMultiperspectivalism, scientific law as a form of the word of God, foundation for ontology and epistemology in the Trinity


Poythress earned a B.S. from California Institute of Technology,[1] in Mathematics in 1966. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University,[1] finishing in 1970. He received a Th.D. in New Testament from the University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa,[2].[citation needed][3]

As of 2016, he was teaching New Testament and occasional courses on the philosophies of science and language at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia,[1] work he began in 1976. His blog with John M. Frame was listed in early 2018 as one of the top 50 Christian popular culture sites.[4]


Poythress views scientific law as a form of the word of God.[5] In 1976, Poythress wrote a chapter on "A Biblical View of Mathematics,"[6] in which he argued (among other things) that number is eternal because the Trinity is eternal.[7] In a 1983 article, he suggested that mathematics is the rhyme of the universe.[8] His philosophy of science draws on the work of Thomas Kuhn.[9]


Poythress has published a number of books in different fields — Christian philosophy of science, linguistics, theological method, dispensationalism, biblical law, copyright law, hermeneutics, Bible translation, and eschatology and the Book of Revelation [10] including:

Additionally, he has published a number of scholarly articles, including:[11][10]


  1. ^ a b c Bowyer, Jerry (April 19, 2016). "God In Mathematics". Forbes [online]. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  2. ^ Frame, John M. (2017). "Preface". In John M. Frame; Wayne Grudem; John J. Hughes (eds.). Redeeming the Life of the Mind: Essays in Honor of Vern Poythress. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. pp. ii–vii. ISBN 978-1433553066.
  3. ^ Per the Bowyer article, op. cit., Poythress has an "M Div, ThM, M Litt, and a ThD in various theological disciplines from Westminster Seminary, Cambridge University and the University of Stellenbosch respectively", but the specific dates and details that appear are as yet unsourced. John Frame's preface to the dedicatory essay volume, op. cit., confirms this degree, but does not have date information.
  4. ^ Jared Moore (February 27, 2018). "The Top 50 Christian Pop Culture Blogs". Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  5. ^ Poythress, Redeeming Science, pp. 13–31.
  6. ^ Poythress, Vern S. (1976). "A Biblical View of Mathematics". In North, Gary (ed.). Foundations of Christian Scholarship. Vallecito, CA: Ross House. pp. 159–188.
  7. ^ Byl, John (2001). "Theism and Mathematical Realism". Proceedings of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences. Grand Rapids, MI: ACMS: 33–48. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  8. ^ Poythress, Vern S. (1983). "Mathematics as Rhyme". American Scientific Affiliate. Archived from the original on 2003-09-06.
  9. ^ Boa, Kenneth D.; Bowman, Robert M., Jr. (2006). Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending The Christian Faith (2nd ed.). Biblica. p. 275. ISBN 1932805346.
  10. ^ a b has a more extensive self-published bibliography.
  11. ^ Selected publications from Poythress's "Faculty biography at Westminster Theological Seminary" (PDF).

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