Reading John Calvin


A little while back, on a peaceful and quiet evening, I was curled up with a book. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of being able to enjoy some serenity with a book in hand. The reality of life means that this is a rare occurrence for any more than a few minutes. In this instance the kids were sleeping peacefully, so I nestled in with the book.

I was reading John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, and enjoying his humour and informal writing style. In the middle of Book 3, Chapter VII, I was struck by the incredible way he described how charity should work amongst believers. Upon reading it I wanted to share it with the world, but inevitably, before I ever manage to finish my first sentence, I’m met with the question ‘You read John Calvin? That is so hard to understand.’ Typically I’ll explain that he is in fact quite easy reading, if you have a good translation, and humorous to boot. He also keeps the topic moving, which maintains your attention.

A blog post seemed the perfect place to dive into the chapter, uninterrupted. While contemplating how to approach it, I came across a post which I think is much more valuable, an encouragement for everyone to read the classics, including John Calvin. Justin Taylor, from the Gospel Coalition, said it much more eloquently than I ever could: Why and how to read Calvins Institutes