Vern Poythress Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vern_Poythress

Vern Sheridan Poythress
Born (1946-03-29) March 29, 1946 (age 76)
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.


Poythress was born in Madera, California in 1946 to Ransom H. Poythress and Carola N. Poythress. He graduated from Bullard High School in Fresno, California.[1]

At the age of 20, Poythress earned a B.S. in mathematics with honor (valedictorian) from California Institute of Technology,[2] in the year 1966. While there, he became a Putnam Fellow in 1964.[3] He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University,[2] finishing in 1970. Westminster Theological Seminary awarded him both an M.Div and a Th.M in apologetics for work done in the years 1971-74. He earned an M.Litt from the University of Cambridge in New Testament studies during 1974-76.[4][5] He received a Th.D. in New Testament from the University of Stellenbosch.[6][7]

In 1983, Poythress married Diane M. Poythress. They have two sons, Ransom Poythress and Justin Poythress.[1][8]

As of 2016, he was teaching New Testament and occasional courses on the philosophies of science and language at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia,[2] 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.[9]


Poythress views scientific law as a form of the word of God.[10] In 1976, Poythress wrote a chapter on "A Biblical View of Mathematics,"[11] in which he argued (among other things) that number is eternal because the Trinity is eternal.[12] In a 1983 article, he suggested that mathematics is the rhyme of the universe.[13] His philosophy of science draws on the work of Thomas Kuhn.[14]


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[15] including:

Additionally, he has published a number of scholarly articles, including:[16][15]


  1. ^ a b "Vern Sheridan Poythress". The Works of John Frame & Vern Poythress. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Bowyer, Jerry (April 19, 2016). "God In Mathematics". Forbes. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  3. ^ "Putnam Competition Individual and Team Winners". Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  4. ^ "Vern Poythress".
  5. ^ http://faculty.wts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/VHCV.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Frame, John J.; Grudem, Wayne; Hughes, John J., eds. (2017). Redeeming the Life of the Mind: Essays in Honor of Vern Poythress. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway. ISBN 1433553031.
  9. ^ Jared Moore (February 27, 2018). "The Top 50 Christian Pop Culture Blogs". Patheos.com. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  10. ^ Poythress, Redeeming Science, pp. 13–31.
  11. ^ Poythress, Vern S. (1976). "A Biblical View of Mathematics". In North, Gary (ed.). Foundations of Christian Scholarship. Vallecito, CA: Ross House. pp. 159–188.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Poythress, Vern S. (1983). "Mathematics as Rhyme". American Scientific Affiliate. Archived from the original on 2003-09-06.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ a b Frame-Poythress.org has a more extensive self-published bibliography.
  16. ^ Selected publications from Poythress's "Faculty biography at Westminster Theological Seminary" (PDF).

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