Geerhardus Vos Quotes

Geerhardus Vos (1862-1949), a Reformed theologian and one of the most distinguished representatives of the Princeton Theology, he is sometimes called the father of Reformed Biblical Theology.

Born in the Netherlands, he came to the United States in 1881 when his father accepted the pastorate of a Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Geerhardus graduated from the Theological School (now Calvin College) in 1883. Vos went to Princeton Seminary to do post-graduate work, then studied for one year at the University of Berlin, followed by two years at the University of Strasburg, where he earned his doctorate.

In 1892, Vos accepted appointment as professor of the newly created chair of Biblical Theology at Princeton Seminary, where he taught until he retired in 1932. Among his students were such eminent men as J. Gresham Machen, John Murray, and Cornelius Van Til.


“The best proof that He will never cease to love us lies in that He never began.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Legalism lacks the supreme sense of worship. It obeys but it does not adore.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“By raising Christ from death, God as the supreme Judge set his seal to the absolute perfection and completeness of his atoning work. The resurrection is a public announcement to the world that the penalty of death has been borne by Christ to its bitter end and that in consequence the dominion of guilt has been broken, the curse annihilated forever more.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“The resurrection stands related to righteousness in the same way that death stands related to sin.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Repentance is not limited to any single faculty of the mind: it engages the entire man, intellect, will and affections… Again, in the new life which follows repentance the absolute supremacy of God is the controlling principle. He who repents turns away from the service of mammon and self to the service of God.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“If the man as a character does not stand behind his act, the latter loses all value.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“God’s names are not empty sounds (like the names of people), but they have meaning and contribute to our knowledge of God.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“The resurrection of the Mediator shows by way of example what will occur with all the members of His body.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“The entire man is, in his sinful state, the object of God’s displeasure.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Christ’s subjection to the law began at the incarnation; his entire life was a continual suffering.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“That God would declare the sinner righteous without his own help seems foolishness to the natural man.” Geerhardus Vos


“To let the image of God’s self-revelation in the Scriptures mirror itself as fully and clearly as possible in his mind, is the first and most important duty of every theologian.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Jesus speaks as One who is sovereign in the sphere of truth, because He is King in the realm of realities to which the truth belongs.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“The beginning of hungering and thirsting after righteousness lies in the birth of conviction of sin.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“A new emotion controls the one converted, but in it he similarly has a consciousness of a deep sorrow over his former condition.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“The essence of legalism is to dislocate the law of God from the person of God.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Man is so built that he must be religious either in a good or in a bad sense. Ill-religious he may, but non-religious he cannot be.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Where the pure proclamation of the Word exists, there the church is revealed.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“What man fails to bring into the temple of God, he is sure to set up on the outside as a rival object of worship.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Our will does not work apart from our emotional life any more than the intellect works apart from the will.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“When God re-creates man, there is in fact an enlightening of his mind, a reversing of his will, and a purifying of his affections.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Creating something out of nothing is an act of absolute, infinite power, something that completely transcends our concept of power” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“There are stages in good and stages in evil, but there are no stages between good and evil.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“A sinner whose intellect was enlightened and who kept his old, completely sinful will would be the most miserable and terrifying creature” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“If God did not spare His own Son, then nothing can be too great or too difficult for His love.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“A Christian loves much after much has been forgiven him, not the reverse: that much has been forgiven him because he loves much.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Believing without regeneration is no more conceivable than consciousness in a child without natural birth.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“God must come to us before we can come to Him.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“In all believing, there is a letting go of ourselves and a resting in another.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“By letting it be exhausted in Himself, Christ destroyed the power of death.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Christ does not come as a philosopher who commends or presses his ideas but as the anointed of the Father.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“For believers, death is a crisis event in which they obtain perfect holiness.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Ill-considered sacrifice can become sin.” ~ Geerhardus Vos


“Scripture nowhere ascribes to fallen man any capacity to do good of himself.” ~ Geerhardus Vos