John Calvin

Introverted French pastor in the sixteenth century whose quiet work awakened the world to see the truth in God's Word.  

Meet John Calvin

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. 


John Calvin was born in Noyon, France.
At 14, Calvin began six years of studies at three French universities: Paris, Orleans, and Bourges.
He left the Catholic faith, believing that God’s Word is our final authority and that faith in Jesus Christ alone could save him from his sin.
Calvin fled France to Basil, Switzerland, because of persecution against Protestants in France.
At 27, Calvin wrote the first edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion.
He accepted the request that he pastor a Protestant church in Geneva, and settled there.
The city council banished Calvin from Geneva for three years over a disagreement about who could partake of communion.
He pastored a French-speaking church in Strasbourg.
Calvin published his Commentary on Romans.
Calvin returned to Geneva at the request of the city council.
Related Event
Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, died.
Calvin wrote the last edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion.
The French civil wars, which lasted for 36 years, began between Catholics and Huguenots (French Protestants).
Calvin died in Geneva at age 55, some say of sheer exhaustion.
Video: 5 Min

What Has Jesus Accomplished for Those Who Believe?

by John Calvin

Having become with us the Son of Man, he [Jesus] has made us with himself sons of God.  
By his own descent to the earth he has prepared our ascent to heaven.  
Having received our mortality, he has bestowed on us his immortality.  
Having undertaken our weakness, he has made us strong in his strength.  
Having submitted to our poverty, he has transferred to us his riches. 
Having taken upon himself the burden of unrighteousness with which we were oppressed, he has clothed us with his righteousness. 

See quote source

By grace
you have been saved,
through faith-
and this is not from ourselves,
it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8 NIV
Article: 7 Min

What John Calvin Believed About the Bible

by Dale Cooper at The Banner

1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 

Article: 12 Min

10 Things John Calvin Taught About the Bible


Article: 15 Min

Practical Application of John Calvin’s Teaching

by Raymond K. Anderson at Christian History Institute

Sermon: 51 Min

On John


by Kevin DeYoung


What Does It Take to Trust in God?

by John Calvin

Until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that he is the author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond him—they will never yield him willing service. No, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him. 

See quote source
Article: 7 Min

Pastor of Geneva

by Olivier Fatio at Christian History Institute


is the chief
exercise of faith. 

Acts 20:24 NLT

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. 

Video: 6 Min
by John Piper at Desiring God
Article: 7 Min

The Genius of Geneva

by John Piper at Desiring God

Acts 20:28 NKJV

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Sermon: 75 Min

At Work and Worship in the Theater of God

by Julius Kim

Article: 10 Min

10 Distinguishing Marks of John Calvin’s Preaching

by Nathan Bingham at Ligonier Ministries


I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

by John Calvin, arr. by Sovereign Grace Music feat. Bob Kauflin
by Kevin DeYoung, 30 Min

Ten Truths About Prayer from John Calvin

Video: 2 Min
by Derek Thomas at Banner of Truth