What a great idea this book is – a guided tour through Calvin’s Institutes in 26 chapters, led by one who has drunk deeply from Calvin’s well for many years.
The approach is simple: In the successive chapters of his book Calhoun takes us in order through Calvin’s famous work.
Calhoun chapters 1-5 = Calvin’s Institutes Book 1
Calhoun chapters 6-11 = Calvin’s Institutes Book 2
Calhoun chapters 12-19 = Calvin’s Institutes Book 3
Calhoun chapters 20-26 = Calvin’s Institutes Book 4
Each chapter provides the following:
- A guide to the corresponding reading in the Institutes
- A Scripture passage that Calvin considered key to the topic under discussion
- Notable quotes from Calvin on the doctrine
- A related prayer of Calvin
- A “Look Back and Ahead” to the surrounding chapters in Calvin
- A brief application and meditation from Calhoun
Calhoun’s goal is simply to help the reader understand Calvin, and he no one would deny that he accomplishes his goal very well. Calvin’s Institutes is a work in theology, of course, and lest Calhoun’s subtitle (Reading Calvin’s Institutes Devotionally) confuse you, he explains simply: “Reading the Institutes devotionally is not merely one way of reading Calvin’s book. It is the only way to read it.” Calhoun understands Calvin well.
Literally hundreds of books have been written about John Calvin and his theology. In fact, many books have been written on Calvin’s Institutes. Especially for someone new to Calvin, this is a great place to start. Highly recommended.