Meet John Calvin, an introverted Frenchman and author of one of the most influential books in Christian history, The Institutes of the Christian Religion. After becoming friends with some Reformers in his college years, the young intellectual put his faith in Jesus Christ and joined those who believed that God’s Word is the final authority in faith and life.
He thought he would bring his faith in Jesus Christ and in the Word of God to his homeland. Calvin intended to fight for the truth with a pen, escaping the heat of the battle between Church and state. Instead, he was put on the front lines; he became a pastor, somewhat reluctantly.
Ministry for Calvin wasn’t a cozy office job. He knew pain like any of us. Calvin was kicked out of a church and had to flee when the biblical truth he taught challenged the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. He waded through many years of plague, getting into the grime in order to minster to the ill and grieving in his congregation. As for family matters, his only son died as a baby, and his wife died after only eight years of marriage.
But Calvin loved the Lord and loved the Bible. He faithfully taught his congregation passage by passage until he died. Calvin was not motivated by a rebellious attitude against his government, nor for personal gain. He knew that the message of the Bible—that people can be reconciled to God by faith in his Son Jesus—was life to his hearers, and worth his own.