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Calvin's First Catechism: A Commentary (Hesselink)

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Westminster John Knox Press


John Calvin's first catechism--originally written in French in 1537 and then in Latin in 1538--provides a valuable, clear, and concise introduction to his thought. Now for the first time, readers have available Ford Lewis Battles' English translation of the 1538 Latin edition and a current discussion of it in the same volume. This commentary on the first catechism also utilizes other sources such as Calvin's Commentaries and Institutes, as well as the latest Calvin research. This volume is an excellent introduction to Calvin's theology and will be useful as a text for college and seminary courses as well as church discussion groups.

The Columbia Series in Reformed Theology represents a joint commitment by Columbia Theological Seminary and Westminster John Knox Press to provide theological resources from the Reformed tradition for the church today. This series examines theological and ethical issues that confront church and society in our own particular time and place.

Table of Contents:

Calvin’s Catechism of 1538

  1. Introduction
  2. True Religion and the Knowledge of God (Secs. 1-3)
  3. Excursus: The Authority of Scripture – The Inner Witness of the Spirit
  4. Our Plight apart from God (Secs. 4-7)
  5. The Law of God and the Shape of the Christian Life (Secs. 8-11, 17)
  6. Excursus: Christian Freedom (Sec. 31)
  7. Election and Predestination (Sec. 13)
  8. Faith (Secs. 12, 14-21)
  9. The Apostles’ Creed (Sec. 20): Part I ‘I Believe In God’
  10. The Apostles’ Creed (Sec. 20): Part II ‘And in Jesus Christ’
  11. Prayer (Secs. 22-25)
  12. The Sacraments (Secs. 26-29): Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
  13. The Nature and Marks of the Church (Secs. 30, 32)
  14. The Magistracy and Civil Government (Secs. 33)
  15. Appendix: Calvin, Theologian of the Holy Spirit 


I. John Hesselink is Albertus C. Van Raalte Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.