An Introduction to Geerhardus Vos’ Biblical Theology

Dr. Lane G. Tipton joins Camden Bucey to begin a new series on Geerhardus Vos’ important book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments. For the past thirteen years, Dr. Tipton has led the “Vos Group” at Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Glenside, PA. Each month, the Vos Group gathers to discuss Reformed biblical theology by studying Scripture and important works by Vos, Kline, Clowney, Gaffin, et al. We are delighted to bring this great teaching to a broader audience.

Roughly each month, Lane and Camden will work through the pages of Vos’ Biblical Theology. While Vos’ book is foundational, it’s tough for the “uninitiated” to access. This will be a great opportunity for study groups to listen to our discussions and work things out together. We hope everyone who participates will learn more about Reformed biblical theology. Pick up a copy of Biblical Theology and get on the BT wagon!

Lane G. Tipton is Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. He has appeared numerous times on our programs. Please visit our archives to listen to Dr. Tipton speak about a range of theological topics.

All the episodes in this series will be available at http://reformedforum.org/category/series/vos-group/

If you’d like to subscribe only to these episodes (rather than all episodes of Christ the Center), just use the following feed: http://reformedforum.org/category/series/vos-group/feed


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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program and learn how to subscribe.

29 Responses

  1. SDuladmi

    There’s something to be said for jumping right in to a study. For a weekly or monthly thing this intro program was a waste of time. You guys talked too technical for it to be a good intro anyway, none of it memorable. Just like ‘sermons’, this is no way to learn anything.

  2. Mark G

    Good program. I thought it set out some of the basics on the nature of Scripture and revelation and BT that are essential for understanding Vos’ approach as distinct from other options out there; for example, 1) Scripture is revelational, 2) revelation is progressive, 3) BT is a hermeneutical, organic approach to understanding biblical revelation, 4) a biblical BT is grounded in Hebrews 1:1,2, 5) BT & ST are related and both necessary for understanding biblical revelation. I look forward to more programs in the future. Thanks for doing this series.

  3. Benjamin L Smith


    This was a very exciting episode and idea. Providentially I just finished reading the first chapter of Grace and Glory. It was really impressive, even lyrical, but I must admit that I’m more of a systematic guy, so it is a bit of a challenge. And Camden’s remarks vis-a-vis progressive catholicism and the role of the magisterium were very interesting. The Kantian divide plays a major role in much contemporary Catholic theology.

    Thank you for everything you are doing.

    Best regards,


  4. Charles H

    Two years ago, when I was off work on disability for seven months, reading “Kingdom Prologue” and “Biblical Theology” were powerful factors in bringing about spiritual revival in my life. One result among many from reading Kline and Vos was that I, a former student of a prominent theonomist, became convinced that he was off the mark in that theological persuasion. I came to see theonomy as a distraction and I became much freer to focus on what I now believe is the most important thing: that the central theme of all of Scripture is that those who are in Christ are created and redeemed for nothing less than the very glory of God Himself; which glory is an inheritance, kept in heaven for us…and which shines brighter and brighter until the full day. Thanks for bring this great topic and discussion to us Pastor Camden and Dr. Tipton! Looking forward to this ongoing study, the Lord willing.

  5. When I caught the part about Kant and current aspects of Roman Catholicism, my ears perked up. Vos mentions something in BT concerning Catholicism that I’ve been mulling over for a while. One thing I’ve thought of is that I could never find myself going toward Rome because Reformed Biblical Theology and the study of the history of redemption prevents me from going that direction. If a Kantian divide has affected RC thought as you say, then that might clear up some of the questions regarding why some have made the move to Rome when it is not necessary.

    The study of Biblical Theology and redemptive history, I believe, keeps one from going too far on things, as I believe Rome has. For example, pertaining the perpetual virginity of Mary. Not withstanding the problem that arises by trying to show that Mary and Joseph did not consummate their marriage for at least 12 years after the birth of Jesus, the other question is “Does Mary remaining a virgin or not affect, in any way, Jesus’ role as Prophet, Priest, and King?” The answer is a clear “No.”

    1. Mark G

      Scott Hahn is a popular Roman Catholic BT guy and a proponent of Maryology, and of course there is BT that is not orthodox. Some of the things to appreciate about Vos is his understanding of revelation, BT as a hermeneutic, and the vital relationship between BT and ST.

      1. Mark G

        I haven’t read any of Hamilton’s BT but I think there are some real potential dangers in failing to recognize a proper connection between BT and ST (a la Vossian) and one of the places one seems to find this is with those presenting BT as “story.” Revelation may be analogous to story but it is much more than that. After all, only God can tell story in objective historical events.

      2. Mark G

        I found multiple review of Hamilton’s BT book and he also apparently defines BT in terms of the worldview and understanding of previous scripture primarily from a human perspective rather than as first of all as divine revelation. That would be distinct from Vos.

        Here is a quote from a review GC.

        “Hamilton defines biblical theology as “understanding and embracing the worldview of the biblical authors,” by which he means that the writers of Scripture have a framework through which they interpret and describe the world and the events taking place within it (15). This interpretive framework is informed by earlier Scriptures familiar to the biblical authors. The writers often assume associations and connections between truths and events; while at times these connections are explicit, they are more often subtle and implied. It is the task of biblical theology to expose those assumed connections. This short book does so masterfully.”

  6. Stephen Smith

    For those of us with the non Banner edition (mine is second hand pre 1960!) it would be helpful if we are told what section to read as obviously the page nos will not match. Thanks.

    1. Cris Dickason

      Justin: You are incorrect in stating theonomy is a system aimed only at the civil realm. All spheres of life, every area of life certainly includes the Church. From the website you supply, the opening paragraphs state:

      Theonomy Resources exists to equip the church with material for applying God’s law to every area of life. Jesus is Lord over all, and as such, His law applies to all of life’s spheres.

      While this site’s main focus is on biblical civil law (among the most neglected areas of God’s law today), we also promote material applying biblical law to such spheres as worship, family, and relationships.

      It is instructive that Abraham Kuyper was as interested in all areas of life as anyone (any movement) might be, and yet his approach was most definitely an agenda to repristinate the Israelite civil system. Listen to program 305, interview with James Bratt on his biography of Abraham Kuyper (http://reformedforum.org/podcasts/ctc305/)

      It is naive to claim Theonomy has no interest in affecting or influencing the Church, the lives of prominent Theonomists and the history of numerous congregations would tell us otherwise. As a former card-carrying theonomist, I have first hand knowledge of the movement. My parting with theonomy was untouched by any quarrels, and I remained close and friendly with prominent theonomists (now in glory).


      1. Joseph

        The theonomy debate was interesting back in the 70s and 80s and maybe a bit in the 90s, but its been decades and simply stated their arguments never caught traction. They tried to establish institutes and publish works, but they were never widely read or many of those institutions either changed focus in order to survive or closed down. As a movement, it fused maybe a little fire into the religious right, but I think it is safe to call it dead. The reasons may be complex, but its end results were they had to settle with joining religious american evangelical conservatives and even there, it is arguably a dying cause also. They maybe had a couple of congressman elected, but it produced no sustainable fruit worthy of mention.

  7. James J. Grimes

    I downloaded it to my MP# player two weeks ago when I first saw it. I had ordered the book a day or so before that. The book arrived Monday and I finally listened to it today. I found it helpful and looking to hear more as they come out. Thanks.

  8. Paul Wichert

    Very excited about this series. As you go it would be helpful to point out the various departure points where historically some have not followed Vos’s approach, whether hermeneutical or theological, and the consequences of their departure. These “hinges” are very helpful to understanding the various expressions of Christianity today. Thanks for putting this together!

  9. I would like to ask: what ‘biblical theology’ framework does Karl Rahner used? Tipton and Bucey keep saying that but I don’t know how to spell the term. Thanks.

  10. Just wanted you to know that this is still having an impact. Finished up MCM degree at Liberty and am now finally digging into this study. I have been listening for a long time but now I get to dig in. Blessed!

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