BORN: July 10, 1509 in Noyon, Picardy, France
DIED: May 27, 1564, Geneva, Switzerland
John Calvin (1509-1564) was a prominent French theologian during the Protestant Reformation and the father of the theological system known as Calvinism. Martin Luther and Calvin are arguably the most significant architects of the Reformation. “If Luther sounded the trumpet for reform, Calvin orchestrated the score by which the Reformation became a part of Western civilization.”
As a student in Paris, he studied the liberal arts before continuing his studies in theology at his father’s request. Later, when his father had a falling-out with the local bishop, he instructed John to pursue an education in civil law, which he did in Orleans. After graduating as a Doctor of Law in 1531, he returned to Paris.
Calvin’s ambition was not to be a professional lawyer, but a man of letters. In 1532 he self-published a commentary on the Roman philosopher Seneca’s Treatise on Clemency that evidenced considerable rhetorical skill, but otherwise went unnoticed.
During his time in Paris, Calvin left Roman Catholicism and joined the Protestant movement, subsequently becoming an informal leader to other Paris protestants.
On his way to Basel in 1536 he passed through Geneva where reformer William Farel persuaded him to stay and help the cause of the church, which he did for nearly two years. As a result of government resistance, Farel and Calvin left Geneva and Calvin moved to Strasbourg where he pastored from 1538-1541. When Calvin’s supporters won the election to the Geneva city council in 1541, he was invited back to the city where he remained until his death in 1564.
-Excerpted from Theopedia.com
BOOKS ON CALVIN:
Calvin by Bruce Gordon
John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life by Herman Selderhuis
John Calvin: A Biography by T.H.L. Parker
John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology by Burk Parsons
John Calvin: Pilgrim & Pastor by W. Robert Godfrey
The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Steven J. Lawson