“Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”
These are the memorable words which begin John Calvin’s influential book, Institutes of the Christian Religion.
Many things are said about Calvin – some are true and some are myth. Even during his lifetime, Calvin’s religious opponents attempted to discredit him by spreading rumors about him.
In order to learn more about Mr. Calvin and what he actually believed, our Thursday morning men’s Bible study is embarking on a study of Calvin’s Institutes over the next several months. If you’re free on Thursday morning at 8am we would love for you to join us.
The foundation of Calvin’s ministry was twofold – to glorify God in his life and build up the church in Geneva. Calvin’s personal motto was Cor Meum Tibi Offero Domine, Prompte et Sincere, “My heart I offer to you, O Lord, promptly and sincerely.” This was also demonstrated in his personal seal which shows a heart in an open hand.
Much more could be said here about Calvin, but here are some interesting and unusual facts that you may not know about him:
- Calvin preached twice every Sunday and every day of the week on alternating weeks.
- He studied law and intended on becoming a lawyer.
- Calvin and his friend Farel were fired and left Geneva after only two years.
- When Calvin returned to Geneva in 1541 after his three-year exile, he unceremoniously walked behind the pulpit and began preaching on the same verse where he left off in 1538.
- Calvin’s commitment to Scripture is evident in over 200 sermons on Deuteronomy, 159 sermons on Job, 43 sermons on Galatians, etc.
- He began a school and seminary in Geneva and at his death there were 1200 students in the college and 300 in the seminary.
- One night Calvin returned home and was greeted by religious opponents who fired off 50 or 60 rifle shots to try and intimidate him.
- Calvin revised the constitution of Geneva and was awarded a cask of old wine as payment.
- Calvin requested to be buried in an unmarked grave.
John Calvin was a remarkable pastor, teacher, and theologian. His influence on John Knox led Knox to return to Scotland and found the Church of Scotland under Reformed, Presbyterian theological principles.
This was the beginning of the Presbyterian heritage that came to America in the late 17th century and which we continue to celebrate as Presbyterians today.
Please join the men’s Bible study on Thursday, January 31 at 8am as we begin our study and learn more about the theology of John Calvin.
* This information on Calvin was found in the book, The Legacy of John Calvin, by David W. Hall.