John Calvin’s book, A Guide to Christian Living, is an imitation leather volume embossed with Calvin’s insignia. When Calvin first began writing his Institutes of the Christian Religion, he had in mind a short handbook or manual which would set out the essentials of the Christian faith.
Although the persecution of Protestants in France led him in time to accentuate the apologetic nature of the book, the Institutes, as first published in 1536, remained a work of Christian instruction, intended, as Calvin says, for those who were ‘touched with some zeal for religion’, and principally for those among his French compatriots who ‘were hungering and thirsting for Christ’, and who ‘might be shaped to true godliness’.
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John Calvin (1509-1564) was a theological giant of the Protestant Reformation. A contemporary of Martin Luther, he had as much influence over this period of history as his German counterpart. In 1536 he published his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion, which was a systematic presentation of the Protestant position. His writings are still cherished and relevant today.