Rienk Bouke Kuiper was born in January 1886 in Garrelsweer in the Netherlands. His family moved to Grand Haven, Michigan in 1891 when his father accepted a call to be minister of the Christian Reformed congregation there. He was educated at the University of Chicago (A.B., 1907), Indiana University (A.M., 1908), Calvin Theological Seminary (diploma, 1911), and Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.B., 1912).
Kuiper married Marie Janssen in 1911; they had three children – Marietta, Klaudius and Kathryn, who died at the age of two. After graduating from Princeton, Kuiper served five western Michigan congregations (in the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America) over the next seventeen years, before becoming one of the founding faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (1929-30), as Professor of Systematic Theology.
The Synod of the Christian Reformed Church then persuaded him to accept the presidency of Calvin College in 1930, in which capacity he served until being called back to Westminster in 1933 as Professor of Practical Theology. Retiring from Westminster in 1952, he returned to Grand Rapids and then accepted the presidency of Calvin Theological Seminary for four years.
He passed away in April 1966, at the age of 80. One of his alumni, Edmund P. Clowney, said of him, at his funeral,
He taught men to preach only Scripture and Scripture in its entirety. The labour of his life exalted the Bible as the infallible Word of God. His lectures were filled with Scripture and his sermons opened the Word with reverence and simplicity. In this single-minded task he found no restraints, no confinement. Rather he found in Scripture the inexhaustible fountain of the whole counsel of God centring in Jesus Christ the Lord.