Blogging The Institutes

In Praise of John Calvin's Institutes

Some find it misguided to praise men.  It was, after all, the Corinthian problem that they openly declared their allegiance to men: Apollos, Paul, or Peter. In doing so they caused major divisions in the Corinthian church.But we are not,...
Posted December 11, 2008 @ 3:36 PM by Derek Thomas

All at Sea with Calvin?

I remember where I was when I got my very first copy of Calvin's Institutes. I was crossing the Minch on the Caledonian Macbrayne ferry that takes over two and a half hours to travel between my native Isle of...
Posted December 15, 2008 @ 12:51 PM by Iain D Campbell

Why read through Calvin's Institutes in 2009?

Why should you read through Calvin's Institutes with the lads here at ref21 as we blog through this work every weekday of 2009? Ten reasons: 1. Because it the most important book written in the last 500 years. 2. Because...
Posted December 15, 2008 @ 2:21 PM by Ligon Duncan

Packer on the Institutes

A helpful book to have in your library is A Theological Guide to Calvin's Institutes: Essays and Analysis, ed. David Hall and Peter Lillback.J.I. Packer has a most helpful foreword, which is a helpful preface to reading the Institutes itself....
Posted December 20, 2008 @ 10:02 AM by Justin Taylor

Be Discipled by John Calvin

That's why I am excitedly looking forward to reading through The Institutes with the Ref21 gang.  Calvin was an incredibly fruitful discipler of man.  By God's grace he turned out hundreds of men for the ministry, shaping them according to...
Posted January 3, 2009 @ 3:22 PM by Thabiti Anyabwile

Blog 1: "To the Reader"

 The Institutes begins with an introductory, "To the Reader" making references to the unexpected "success" of "the first edition" (1536), the "summary" nature of its contents, the publication of further editions (in Latin: 1539, 1543, 1550 and 1559; and in...
Posted January 5, 2009 @ 12:01 AM by Derek Thomas

Translations of the Institutes

A reader asked about the different English translations of Calvin's Institutes. Any translation would probably be serviceable in understanding Calvin's main intent. We will be using the Battles/McNeill translation for blogging through the Institutes. There are four main English translators/translations:...
Posted January 5, 2009 @ 5:43 PM by Justin Taylor

Blog 2: Preface 1-2

Although the Institutes itself grew five-fold from its first to the fifth edition, the contents of the Preface written to King Francis I remained largely the same. Precedent for publishing an introductory theological essay to the King had been set...
Posted January 6, 2009 @ 12:00 AM by Derek Thomas

Blog 3: Preface 3-4

Rome's antagonism towards the Reformers, and Calvin in particular, was that what they taught was "new" and "of recent birth." To this charge Calvin responds with evident feeling: "First, by calling it "new" they do great wrong to God, whose...
Posted January 7, 2009 @ 12:00 AM by Derek Thomas

Blog 4: Preface 5-6

How is the true church to be known?  Calvin's response in the preface to the Institutes is clear: it is known by "the pure preaching of God's Word and the lawful administration of the sacraments." Contrary to Roman insistence that...
Posted January 8, 2009 @ 12:00 AM by Derek Thomas

Blog 5: Preface 7-8

"Catabaptists" is Calvin's term for "Anabaptists" - the sixteenth century radicals who basically wanted nothing to do with the earthly state, and did not encourage concern for the office of a magistrate or (in this case) the monarch. Calvin is...
Posted January 9, 2009 @ 12:00 AM by Derek Thomas

Blog 6: 1.1.1 - 1.2.1

Calvin's Institutes opens with a strikingly important sentence--crafted first by a young man in his mid-twenties and only fine tuned between its first appearance in 1536 and its final expression a few years before his death. Wisdom--the knowledge coupled with...
Posted January 12, 2009 @ 6:00 AM by Sinclair Ferguson

Blog 7: 1.2.2 - 1.3.3

If my first question about God is "What is he?" then I am already mistaken.  The really important question is "Who is he?" "What is God like?"     The biblical answer is that he is the fountain of all good and...
Posted January 13, 2009 @ 5:00 AM by Sinclair Ferguson

Blog 8: 1.4.1 - 1.5.1

Man is God's image. The implanted knowledge of God is universal. Yes, perverted and fragmented by the fall, but still real..  It gives rise to the seed of religion, notes Calvin.  An instinct to praise and worship is inbuilt in...
Posted January 14, 2009 @ 1:00 AM by Sinclair Ferguson

Blog 9: 1.5.2 - 1.5.5

The heavens declare God's glory, and so the astronomer is also a theologian who explores the Book of Nature in which God has inscribed his glory. But "what is man that you care for him?" means that the anatomist who...
Posted January 15, 2009 @ 8:59 AM by Sinclair Ferguson

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