Background[ edit ] Title page of the first edition John Calvin was a student of law and then classics at the University of Paris. Around he became involved in religious controversies and converted to Protestantism , a new Christian reform movement which was persecuted by the Catholic Church in France, forcing him to go into hiding. He decided to adapt the work he had been writing to the purpose of defending Protestants suffering from persecution from false accusations that they were espousing radical and heretical doctrines. The work, written in Latin, was published in Basel in March with a preface addressed to King Francis I of France , entreating him to give the Protestants a hearing rather than continue to persecute them.
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It contains six chapters, and became an instant bestseller. The second edition was published in , and was expanded to seventeen chapters, including new references to the works of Augustine, Origin, and other Church Fathers, as well as chapters on the knowledge of God, predestination, and Christian liberty. New editions were published in with twenty-one chapters translated into French in and , both of which were reprinted and circulated extensively.
Throughout the s, Calvin labored over a complete edition, which, when published in , was nearly twice as large as the previous edition. The French edition and three English translations included in this collection are based on the Latin text.
Praise for John Calvin. Calvin helped the Reformation change the entire focus of the Christian life. McGrath The fundamental issue for John Calvin—from the beginning of his life to the end—was the issue of the centrality and supremacy and majesty of the glory of God. John Calvin is a man of distinguished reputation, one of the great figures of church history. It is doubtful whether any other theologian has ever played so significant a part in world history.
Packer [Calvin] easily takes the lead among the systematic expounders of the Reformed system of Christian doctrine. He was the ablest exegete among the Reformers, and his commentaries rank among the very best of ancient and modern times. At the same time he was a consummate logician and dialectician. He had a rare power of clear, strong, convincing statement.
He built up a body of doctrines which is called after him, and which obtained symbolical authority through some of the leading Reformed Confessions of Faith. In a forest of theologians, Calvin stands like a Californian Redwood, towering over everyone else. He is one of the greatest interpreters of Scripture who ever lived. He owes that position to a combination of merits. He had a vigorous intellect, a dauntless spirit, a logical mind, a quick insight, a thorough knowledge of the human heart, quickened by rich and strange experience; above all, a manly and glowing sense of the grandeur of the Divine.
The neatness, precision, and lucidity of his style, his classic training and wide knowledge, his methodical accuracy of procedure, his manly independence, his avoidance of needless and commonplace homiletics, his deep religious feeling, his careful attention to the entire scope and context of every passage, and the fact that he has commented on almost the whole of the Bible, make him tower above the great majority of those who have written on Holy Scripture.
Institutio christianae religionis
Institutio Christianae religionis