Blogging the Institutes: Introduction

A spiritual goldmine exists in the writings of past Christians. John Calvin is no exception. Calvin’s writings and theology has shaped much of church history from the time of the Reformation to the present. His Institutes of the Christian Religion, (or just Institutes for short) is considered a theological masterpiece. It is also surprisingly devotional.

Unfortunately, I have found that many present-day Christian miss out on the spiritual riches found in Calvin’s—and other past Christian’s—work because they don’t read it. Many reasons exist for why this is so, but one reason I have found for myself is that many of the translations of Christian “classics” are difficult to read.

Because of this, I have sought to paraphrase Calvin’s Institutes into the English I speak. Now, a couple of caveats.

  • This is not an academic work. I want this to be first step for someone to take in reading Calvin. If reading these posts push someone to actually crack open the Institutes and read Calvin for himself, then I would extremely happy.
  • In fact, I am using Henry Beveridge’s translation of the Institutes as a base for my posts. I am not providing a translation; it’s a paraphrase. I am attempting to put Calvin’s thoughts in my own words as I understand them.
  • I’m sure that at certain points I will understand Calvin wrongly. Again, these posts are my understand of what I think Calvin is saying. So I’m open to being corrected (just try to be nice about it!).
  • You can find really good summaries of Calvin’s work at Reformation 21, which also has introductions and other pertinent information about the Institutes.

You can find all the posts in the series in the Master List.

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