Vern Poythress

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Vern Sheridan Poythress
Born (1946-03-29) March 29, 1946 (age 75)
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

Vern Sheridan Poythress (born 1946) is an American philosopher, theologian, New Testament scholar and mathematician, 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.


At the age of 20, Poythress earned a B.S. in mathematics with honor (valedictorian) from California Institute of Technology,[1] in the year 1966. While there, he became a Putnam Fellow in 1964.[2] He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University,[1] finishing in 1970. After which he enrolled at a seminary and received his M.Div and Th.M in apologetics from Westminster Theological Seminary in the years 1971-74 following which he received an M.Litt from the University of Cambridge for the New Testament studies he did at the university from 1974-76.[3][4] He received a Th.D. in New Testament from the University of Stellenbosch.[5][6]

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.[7]


Poythress views scientific law as a form of the word of God.[8] In 1976, Poythress wrote a chapter on "A Biblical View of Mathematics,"[9] in which he argued (among other things) that number is eternal because the Trinity is eternal.[10] In a 1983 article, he suggested that mathematics is the rhyme of the universe.[11] His philosophy of science draws on the work of Thomas Kuhn.[12]


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[13] including:

Additionally, he has published a number of scholarly articles, including:[14][13]


  1. ^ a b c Bowyer, Jerry (April 19, 2016). "God In Mathematics". Forbes. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  2. ^ "Putnam Competition Individual and Team Winners". Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  3. ^ "Vern Poythress".
  4. ^
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Jared Moore (February 27, 2018). "The Top 50 Christian Pop Culture Blogs". Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  8. ^ Poythress, Redeeming Science, pp. 13–31.
  9. ^ Poythress, Vern S. (1976). "A Biblical View of Mathematics". In North, Gary (ed.). Foundations of Christian Scholarship. Vallecito, CA: Ross House. pp. 159–188.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Poythress, Vern S. (1983). "Mathematics as Rhyme". American Scientific Affiliate. Archived from the original on 2003-09-06.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ a b has a more extensive self-published bibliography.
  14. ^ Selected publications from Poythress's "Faculty biography at Westminster Theological Seminary" (PDF).

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