Van Til was born in Weesp, the son of Johannes van Til and his wife Barbara le Grand. He was raised within the Dutch Reformed Church; his father was a pastor and wished for his son to follow in his foot-steps. To this end, he attended the Latin school in Alkmaar and then the University of Utrecht. A minor speech impediment forced him to focus on medicine, rather than theology, for fear that he would be unable to articulate theological concepts. But van Til remained drawn to theology and attended lectures from Cocceius, Johannes Hoornbeek, Abraham Heidanus and Jacobus Golius. His orthodox father originally forbade his purchasing reformist books and other material.
Having completed his studies in 1666, van Til became a pastor in Huisduinen where he spent the following eleven years devoted to further biblical and theological study. The theological disputes of his time and did not go past him. While his studies continued, his formal employment was impacted by political disputes including in 1672 when van Til was forced from office. Publicly, he returned to medicine in an effort to secure employment but he continued to preach, first in Rijpje before finally being offered a pastorate in Medemblik in 1682. In 1683 he became pastor in Dordrecht and the following year he was appointed Professor of Church History and Philology at the Illustre school there.
On 6 May 1702 he became a professor at Leiden University and the following June 13 he received an honorary doctorate from that institution. In 1704 or 1705 he became rector Alma Mata. In 1710 he had a stroke, after which he was paralysd. He died three years later.
Van Til was married twice. His first wife, Maria van Tethrode, died after 30 years of marriage in 1697. He then remarried Agatha Catharina Molenschot († 1708). His daughter Maria married Benjamin van Hess, a minister himself. His daughter Barbara married Jeronymus Jacob van Thulden, a politician from Raamsdonk. His sone Jan Rochus van Til became a diplomat in Lisbon and Cologne.