John Calvin was a practical and pastoral theologian. Like the Apostle Paul he worked tirelessly ‘for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness’ (Titus 1:1). For him knowledge of the truth was for living, and living was for the glory of God. All of Calvin’s preaching, teaching, and writing was directed to this one great end, to serve the church of Jesus Christ so that all ‘may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory’ (2 Tim.2:10).
This book is an abridgement of Calvin’s commentary on the Psalms, reducing it to about one quarter of its original size. It is the result of a labour of love undertaken by one who has for some years used Calvin on the Psalms in his devotional reading of Scripture, and who has grown to appreciate Calvin’s method of exposition, his faithfulness to the biblical text, and his practical application of the truth to daily living.
But why abridge Calvin? The sad fact is that few teachers and preachers of the gospel today ever use any of Calvin’s commentaries. Some busy pastors and ministers balk at the sheer scale of Calvin’s five-volume commentary on the Psalms, (which forms part of a much larger twenty-two-volume set). Others tend to shy away from Calvin’s writings, mistakenly thinking that such are the preserve of academics and theologians, and not of the whole church. Alas, nothing could be further from the truth!
This abridgement has been made with such people in mind. It is not intended to deprive readers of the full benefit of Calvin’s unabridged text, but to edify those who otherwise might remain strangers to Calvin’s practical and pastoral wisdom. Indeed, in the view of the publisher the editor’s noble aims have been fully met, that in this single volume ‘something of the unsurpassed excellence of Calvin’s instruction will have been preserved and made available to a wider public than would ever have made use of the original massive and magisterial work.’
Here, then, is a treasure chest containing a choice selection of the wonderful riches to be found in Calvin’s commentary on the Psalms.
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.