One Reason I’m Reading “The Institutes”

I was planning on reading Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion later on this year. After having read so many commentaries, I wanted to read a bunch of ‘regular’ books. I burned through three or four and enjoyed them a lot, including The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. But I thought, why put it off? I’ve heard so much about not only how important this work is, but how enjoyable it is to read. I looked at the beginning of the table of contents, and it looks like exactly the type of thing I like to read anyway.

Also, as a Calvinist, I need to know what he thought, as he wrote it. I’ve read more than one introduction to Calvinism and scores and scores of blog posts and articles. Is this what he thought? Not that he is anything special compared to God and the inspired writers of Scripture, but I know that what Calvinism now, especially as we see it on the interweb machine, may not be classic Calvinism. So, in the introduction to the Battle translation, which I’m told is much better than the other one–which is out of copyright and can be found for free in electronic format–I find this in the introduction:

In our generation, when most theological writers are schooled in the use of methods, and of a terminology, widely differing from those employed by Calvin, this masterpiece continues to challenge intensive study, and contributes a reviving impulse to thinking in the areas of Christian doctrine and social duty.

It’s about time I read it.

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