Humble Calvinism: Books > Essentials

We will be looking at a number of books by and about John Calvin in the next few months. At this stage, the following three volumes are most important. I’m tracing Calvin’s thought using the Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559 edition) in the form of the 1960 McNeill and Battles translation (because I’m told its the best). The 2-volume work is published by Westminster John Knox Press (ISBNs 9780664220280, 0664220282). I’m told the cloth version pictured below is no longer available.


I am told this hardcover edition (no dust jackets) is the standard issue now …

A Life of John Calvin is an excellent biography by Alister McGrath. It has been very useful in understanding Calvin’s life, his theological development, the central themes of his theology and the broader cultural impact of Calvinism. A Life is a limiting title for the scope of the book. It was published by Blackwell in 1990 (ISBNs 0631189475, 9780631189473).



Click here to access previous posts in the Humble Calvinism index.



8 thoughts on “Humble Calvinism: Books > Essentials

  1. KC, most certainly Calvin’s commentaries are a must-have for any Christian library. The question is which set? I own both the electronic version of the works of Calvin (though the electronic version of the Institutes is not the best) and the printed ones. The printed commentaries are affordable now and I use them frequently but I have actually found Calvin’s commentaries to be more useful through the CD-Rom in electronic searches. The CD-Rom is cheaper and easier to search. The books are nice and easier to read for a length of time. So in either form (or both forms) get the commentaries but get them in a format most useful for you.


  2. Thanks for the recommendations. CBD has a printed set available for $149, but having not read much of Calvin, I thought I would check other sources before making any purchases. A fellow church member purchased this set and said that his copy of Genesis is printed upside down which could account for the drastic price reduction.

  3. KC,
    I contacted CBD with your concern and they said that if a customer received a book in a set with the print upside down, that is a publishing error and we would replace that copy.

    Hope this calms any fears of buying from CBD.

    From someone who has never bought anything from them (yet),

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