Day One

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This new year, 2009, marks the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. This milestone is being marked in many different ways, by different institutions and organizations the world over. For just one example, over the course of this next year, New St. Andrews is planning a series of lectures on all things Calvin, and other institutions are doing the same kind of thing.

Princeton Seminary has taken the interesting step of publishing a reading program to take someone through Calvin’s Institutes in the course of the year, a reading guide which can be found here. Now some critics might think this seems a little bit too much like a “devotional” reading for all those theological fanboys who have asked Calvin into their hearts. So, point taken, don’t be like that.

At the same time, Lord willing, this year I would like to publish a series of discussion questions or study questions that are in sync with and keep pace with the Princeton readings. And so, every day, I hope to post questions here to go with each section for that day. And the first questions are below.

John Calvin to the Reader (1559)

1. Did Calvin expect the first edition of the Institutes to be as successful as it was?

2. In what way did Calvin maintain that he had been maligned?

3. What was the basic purpose in ministerial preparation that Calvin had in mind for the Institutes?

4. In what way were his commentaries linked to the Institutes?

Subject Matter of the Present Work (1560)

1. Why did Calvin translate the Institutes into French?

2. What value did Calvin place on this work?

3. The reading of the Institutes was meant to be an introduction to the study of what?

4. What did Calvin want the reader of the Institutes to do in evaluating the teaching that was offered there?

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