Theophany: A Biblical Theology of God's Appearing

By Vern S. Poythress

... Show All

Format: Paperback

Availability: Out of Print

Theophany: A Biblical Theology of God's Appearing

By Vern S. Poythress

... Show All

“A theologically rich, spiritually edifying exploration of all that the Bible says about an awe-striking reality.” —Dennis Johnson

Each time God appears to his people throughout the Bible—in the form of a thunderstorm, a man, a warrior, a chariot, etc.—he comes to a specific person for a specific purpose. And each of these temporary appearances— called theophanies—helps us to better understand who he is, anticipating his climactic, permanent self-revelation in the incarnation of Christ.

Describing the various accounts of God’s visible presence from Genesis to Revelation, theologian Vern S. Poythress helps us consider more deeply what they reveal about who God is and how he dwells with us today.

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Vern S. Poythress

Vern S. Poythress (PhD, Harvard University; ThD, University of Stellenbosch) is Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Biblical Interpretation, and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he has taught for four decades. In addition to earning six academic degrees, he is the author of numerous books and articles on biblical interpretation, language, and science.

Product Details

Category: Academic
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 464
Size: 6.0 in x 9.0 in
Weight: 22.15 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-5437-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-5437-7
ISBN-UPC: 9781433554377
Case Quantity: 28
Published: February 28, 2018

Table of Contents

Tables and Illustrations
Part I: The Biblical Theme of God Appearing
1. God Coming
2. God Appearing with a Thunderstorm
3. Appearing in Fire
4. Appearing in a Cloud
5. Appearing in Glory
6. Appearances of God's Court
7. Appearances of a Man
8. Appearing as a Warrior
9. Appearing with a Chariot
10. Other Appearances
11. Appearing in the Created World
Part II: The Mystery of God Appearing
12. Knowing God
13. Relation of Kinds of Appearances
14. Reflecting God
15. Reflecting God in Human Appearance
16. Reflections and the Spirit
17. Reflections and the Trinity
18. Reflections of God in the Book of Revelation
19. Reflections of God in Structures in Revelation
20. Patterns of Multiple Reflections
21. Reflections of God in Creation
22. A Pattern of Reflections in Clothing
23. The Dynamics in Reflections of God
24. Responding to God's Presence
Part III: A History of God Appearing: The Old Testament
25. Universal Presence of God in History
26. God's Presence in Creating the World (Day One)
27. God's Presence in Creating the World (Days Two-Six)
28. God Appearing on the Seventh Day
29. God Appearing in the Creation of Man (Genesis 2:4-25)
30. God Appearing in the Fall (Genesis 3:1-24)
31. God Appearing in Two Lines of Offspring
32. God Appearing in the Flood
33. God Appearing at Babel
34. God Appearing to Abraham
35. God Appearing to the Patriarchs
36. God Appearing in the Exodus
37. God Appearing in Conquering the Land
38. God Appearing during the Monarchy
39. God Appearing in the Prophets: Isaiah
40. God Appearing in the Prophets: Jeremiah and Others
41. God Appearing in the Poetical Books: Job
42. God Appearing in the Psalms
43. God Appearing in the Solomonic Books
44. God Appearing in Post-Exilic History (Ezra-Esther)
Part IV: A History of God Appearing: The New Testament
45. God Appearing in the Earthly Life of Christ (Gospels)
46. God Appearing in Acts
47. God Appearing in the Letters of the New Testament
48. God Appearing in Revelation
Appendix A: The "Angel of the Lord"
Appendix B: A Theophany in Genesis 1:2?
Appendix C: Understanding Genesis 3:8
General Index
Scripture Index


“Dr. Poythress’s book walks the reader through a gallery of God’s manifold glory. This volume invites the reader to stop and consider all of the different portraits of God’s personal presence in the whole canon of Scripture. Those who look in faith will be rewarded and encouraged in their walk with Christ.”
David Wenkel, Adjunct Faculty, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; author, Shining Like the Sun: A Biblical Theology of Meeting God Face to Face

“This work is broader than any I have seen in its coverage of the biblical theology of theophany. I appreciate the many explanations of how each Old Testament aspect of theophany is fulfilled in Christ. The many chapters provide a spiritually uplifting study that is well organized and carefully written in terms any layman can understand, but also stimulating for advanced students.”
James A. Borland, Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Theology, Liberty University

“Poythress is a master at pulling together various strands of Scripture and showing their coherence. This book on the multifaceted aspects of God’s presence is no exception. Theophany fills a real void in evangelical theology—informative for the scholar but accessible to the layman. Students often ask me about the various senses of God’s presence discussed in Scripture, and I typically give a vague answer. But now, after reading Poythress, my answers will be much more informed; and I have a first-class resource to share with my students.”
Robert J. Cara, Provost, Chief Academic Officer, and Hugh and Sallie Reaves Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary; author, Cracking the Foundation of the New Perspective on Paul; contributor, A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament

“In biblical times, God appeared visibly to people in many different ways, and divinely inspired authors reflected on his appearances throughout the Scriptures. Yet the modern Christian experience is so different that we are often left wondering what significance biblical appearances of God have for us today. Poythress explores this theme within its ancient historical context and explains how Christ fulfills its significance in himself and in his followers’ lives. Poythress’s discussions are rooted in sound biblical scholarship, but clearly express how this facet of Scripture should enhance every Christian’s daily service to God.”
Richard L. Pratt Jr., Cofounder and President, Third Millennium Ministries

“Vern Poythress’s Theophany is a theologically rich, spiritually edifying exploration of all that the Bible says about an awe-striking reality that fills the pages of Scripture: our infinite, personal Creator ‘who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see’ delights to make himself known through the senses he has given us, the universe he made and sustains, and his redemptive deeds in history, culminating in Jesus Christ. This biblical theology of God’s appearing will expand your thoughts and nourish your heart.”
Dennis E. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California; author, Him We Proclaim; Walking with Jesus through His Word; and Journeys with Jesus