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Highlights from Calvin’s Institutes

Pastor Steve will be leading a class, “Highlights from Calvin’s Institutes”, this semester. The class will be held upstairs on Wednesday evenings, 7:15-8:30, beginning January 17th and running through May 2nd, with a few breaks.

Requirements: Buy the book, read the assigned material in advance, and attend the class consistently prepared to interact on the material.  Link to this book on Amazon.

The class format: I will give out some discussion questions on the assigned reading material the week before. The class will consist of discussing these and any other questions related to the reading. The emphasis will be on the practical application of the book to our walk with God.


Highlights from Calvin’s Institutes

Pastor Steve Cole, Spring, 2018

Outside of the Bible, no book has influenced me as much as John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin has an exalted view of God and a biblically humbling view of man that will help you to grow in worship, godliness, understanding, and humility, which is the aim of this course.

This course will cover some of the highlights from the Institutes, using the abridged text edited by Tony Lane and Hilary Osborne [Baker Book House]. The longest assignment requires reading 28 pages per week, but all other assignments are under 20 pages per week, which should be easily manageable. We will not be able to cover Book IV, on the church (pp. 231-271). (If you read Calvin’s views on infant baptism, I would encourage you to balance it with my sermon, “Why We Do Not Baptize Infants.” I disagree vigorously with Calvin on this point!) Each student should be committed to reading the assigned portions before each class and come prepared to discuss the reading in class.

If this abridged edition whets your appetite, you should purchase the full edition of the Institutes for further study and comparison. The abridged edition that we are using does not contain many of the Scripture references that Calvin uses to support his material. Rather than the older (and cheaper—it’s available free online) Beveridge edition (the basis of our abridged edition), I recommend the more recent work edited by John McNeill and translated by Ford Lewis Battles [Westminster Press], which costs about $60. McNeill’s introduction is well worth reading and his notes are helpful.

Schedule (class will meet upstairs from 7:15-8:30 each Wednesday noted below):

January 17—Introduction to Calvin and the Institutes

January 24—Introduction (pp. 11-17), Knowing God and Ourselves, Part 1 (pp. 21-35);

God’s Word and Spirit (pp. 39-47)

January 31—God the Trinity and His Creation (pp. 51-65)

February 7—God’s Providence (pp. 69-81)

February 14—(Valentine’s Day, no class; take your sweetheart to church dinner)

February 21—Man’s Sin and God’s Remedy (pp. 85-102)

February 28—God’s Law (pp. 105-122)

March 7—No class (I will be at the Shepherds’ Conference)

March 14—The Person of Jesus Christ and His Work of Redemption (pp. 125-140)

March 21—No class (Spring Break)

March 28—Faith and Repentance (pp. 143-157)

April 4—The Christian Life (pp. 161-177)

April 11—No class (I will be rafting on the Colorado River 🙂

April 18—Justification by Faith (pp. 181-199)

April 25—Prayer (pp. 203-210), God’s Election and Man’s Destiny (pp. 213-227)

May 2—God’s Election and Man’s Destiny (pp. 213-227, continued)

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