I just got a copy of the Banner Of Truth edition of, “Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.” This edition is the last one he wrote. He wrote it in French and it has been translated into English. I have another edition from Hendrickson that was earlier and translated from Latin into English by Henry Beveridge. I have to say, the Banner of Truth edition that was translated by Robert White is much more accessible. I’m enjoying it. It is much easier to follow and read. It is almost like reading a modern work. I highly recommend it if you have ever wanted to read Calvin, but found the Latin to English translations difficult. I’ve been told by a very educated man that Latin is a comparatively small language. I can see how the difference between the source material being written in French provides for the English translation being as easy to read as it is. If you don’t have this edition, go Get it.
A Review of, “A Guide to Christian Living” by the Protestant Reformer John Calvin, as Translated by Robert White for The Banner of Truth Trust.
This book is an excerpt of the beginning of, “Book 3, Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1560 French edition.” It is 140 pages long. It has a short introduction providing some background information about John Calvin and his, “Institutes.” It also explains Calvin’s purpose in writing, “Book 3” His purpose is also made clear in this book’s title. At the end of the book are, the endnotes, and indexes of scripture references, as well as subjects. This book is published by The Banner of Truth Trust. It is printed by Versa Press Inc., of East Peoria Illinois USA. The font is a very legible 10.5/13.5 Adobe Caslon Pro typeset. It is available in print, e-pub, and Kindle.
I found the paper to be very thick and easy to highlight. It is covered in green faux leather. The cover is decorated with a perimeter channel, image of Calvin, and the title stamped in it to resemble tooling.
The spine looks to be sewn and glued.
It has the title stamped parallel to the spine, John Calvin under that, and The Banner of Truth’s logo at the foot. Overall I found the book to be well constructed and easy to read.
If you are familiar with the works of Calvin, you’ll recognize this when you start reading it. Unlike many of his Latin works that were translated into English, this translation seems less formal and verbose. Due to that fact it lends itself to devotional reading. It works well for that purpose, and gives you something to ponder while you go about your day. I found myself nodding my head in agreement several times and wondering what other sections of Calvin’s works could be arranged as devotionals. It was very refreshing to read something scriptural in Modern English. As of late, the choices have been dismal. Most devotionals in Modern English are full of extra-biblical revelations, or pseudo-self-help drivel. People have been feasting on cotton candy theology and as a result are malnutritioned. Reading something that makes you truly consider what is being communicated is stimulating. You have to engage your head and your heart, not just one or the other. People say that Calvin is to dry, but if you read his work, you will see his passion for God come through.
My copy of Spurgeon’s, “Morning and Evening” is a bit too large to carry with me to work. This book is much smaller. I can fit it in my pocket. The paper is very thick and heavy, not like Bible paper at all. Highlighting and underlining works well. I was underlining and highlighting sections to quote on social media later on. This way you don’t have to mark up your nicer complete volume of Calvin’s Institutes. This little book, unlike many devotionals, is more durable it stands up to being carried about.
I recommend this for personal devotions as well as a gift to the newly born again. I think it will aid them in getting their foundational doctrines in order. It can be purchased directly from The Banner of Truth, or you can purchase it from, Christianbook.com as well as Amazon.com.
To see all the pictures I took visit my flickr page.
Way back, long ago there was a reformer named John Calvin. In a book that he wrote, “Institutes of the Christian Religion” he wrote many an interesting notions. One of these notions I truly chuckled at due to its relevance today, albeit applied to a different group of people. You see, back in the 1500’s the Roman Catholic Church had these pope guys who fancied themselves vicariously god on Earth. As such, they came up with all kinds of new revelations that weren’t in the Bible, and when people expressed an interest in reading the Bible for themselves these, “popesicles” would actually tell people that it was dangerous and bad for them to try to read it, and that they were the only ones allowed. Except, they didn’t care much for the Bible and would come up with all kinds of new spiritual heresies to teach everyone. This is not unlike a problem we have today. We see it with all of the liberal, “Christians” who tell us the Bible is allegorical, up to individual interpretation, or inaccurate. They use a feeling, or cultural consensus to interpret the Bible through. We know that God wrote the Bible, His Holy Spirit illumines it and His intent to us, if indeed we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I contest that liberals do not if they so demonstrate, by misinterpreting, twisting, and corrupting the Bible to coincide with their heretical beliefs. Here is what Calvin said about it all of those years ago;
Chapter 9. All the principles of piety subverted by fanatics, who substitute revelations for Scripture.
1. The temper and error of the Libertines, who take to themselves the name of spiritual, briefly described. Their refutation. 1. The Apostles and all true Christians have embraced the written Word. This confirmed by a passage in Isaiah; also by the example and words of Paul. 2. The Spirit of Christ seals the doctrine of the written Word on the minds of the godly.
2. Refutation continued. 3. The impositions of Satan cannot be detected without the aid of the written Word. First Objection. The Answer to it.
3. Second Objection from the words of Paul as to the letter and spirit. The Answer, with an explanation of Paul’s meaning. How the Spirit and the written Word are indissolubly connected.
1. Those who, rejecting Scripture, imagine that they have some peculiar way of penetrating to God, are to be deemed not so much under the influence of error as madness. For certain giddy men have lately appeared, who, while they make a great display of the superiority of the Spirit, reject all reading of the Scriptures themselves, and deride the simplicity of those who only delight in what they call the dead and deadly letter.
But I wish they would tell me what spirit it is whose inspiration raises them to such a sublime height that they dare despise the doctrine of Scripture as mean and childish.
If they answer that it is the Spirit of Christ, their confidence is exceedingly ridiculous; since they will, I presume, admit that the apostles and other believers in the primitive Church were not illuminated by any other Spirit. None of these thereby learned to despise the word of God, but every one was imbued with greater reverence for it, as their writings most clearly testify. And, indeed, it had been so foretold by the mouth of Isaiah. For when he says, “My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever,” he does not tie down the ancient Church to external doctrine, as he were a mere teacher of elements; he rather shows that, under the reign of Christ, the true and full felicity of the new Church will consist in their being ruled not less by the Word than by the Spirit of God. Hence we infer that these miscreants are guilty of fearful sacrilege in tearing asunder what the prophet joins in indissoluble union. Add to this, that Paul, though carried up even to the third heaven, ceased not to profit by the doctrine of the law and the prophets, while, in like manner, he exhorts Timothy, a teacher of singular excellence, to give attention to reading (1Ti_4:13). And the eulogium which he pronounces on Scripture well deserves to be remembered, viz., that “it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect” (2Ti_3:16). What an infatuation of the devil, therefore, to fancy that Scripture, which conducts the sons of God to the final goal, is of transient and temporary use? Again, I should like those people to tell me whether they have imbibed any other Spirit than that which Christ promised to his disciples. Though their madness is extreme, it will scarcely carry them the length of making this their boast. But what kind of Spirit did our Saviour promise to send? One who should not speak of himself (Joh_16:13), but suggest and instil the truths which he himself had delivered through the word. Hence the office of the Spirit promised to us, is not to form new and unheard-of revelations, or to coin a new form of doctrine, by which we may be led away from the received doctrine of the gospel, but to seal on our minds the very doctrine which the gospel recommends.
2. Hence it is easy to understand that we must give diligent heed both to the reading and hearing of Scripture, if we would obtain any benefit from the Spirit of God (just as Peter praises those who attentively study the doctrine of the prophets (2Pe_1:19), though it might have been thought to be superseded after the gospel light arose), and, on the contrary, that any spirit which passes by the wisdom of God’s Word, and suggests any other doctrine, is deservedly suspected of vanity and falsehood.
Since Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, what authority can the Spirit have with us if he be not ascertained by an infallible mark?
And assuredly he is pointed out to us by the Lord with sufficient clearness; but these miserable men err as if bent on their own destruction, while they seek the Spirit from themselves rather than from Him. But they say that it is insulting to subject the Spirit, to whom all things are to be subject, to the Scripture: as if it were disgraceful to the Holy Spirit to maintain a perfect resemblance throughout, and be in all respects without variation consistent with himself. True, if he were subjected to a human, an angelical, or to any foreign standard, it might be thought that he was rendered subordinate, or, if you will, brought into bondage, but so long as he is compared with himself, and considered in himself, how can it be said that he is thereby injured? I admit that he is brought to a test, but the very test by which it has pleased him that his majesty should be confirmed. It ought to be enough for us when once we hear his voice; but lest Satan should insinuate himself under his name, he wishes us to recognise him by the image which he has stamped on the Scriptures. The author of the Scriptures cannot vary, and change his likeness. Such as he there appeared at first, such he will perpetually remain. There is nothing contumelious to him in this, unless we are to think it would be honourable for him to degenerate, and revolt against himself.
3. Their cavil about our cleaving to the dead letter carries with it the punishment which they deserve for despising Scripture. It is clear that Paul is there arguing against false apostles (2Co_3:6), who, by recommending the law without Christ, deprived the people of the benefit of the New Covenant, by which the Lord engages that he will write his law on the hearts of believers, and engrave it on their inward parts. The letter therefore is dead, and the law of the Lord kills its readers when it is dissevered from the grace of Christ, and only sounds in the ear without touching the heart. But if it is effectually impressed on the heart by the Spirit; if it exhibits Christ, it is the word of life converting the soul, and making wise the simple. Nay, in the very same passage, the apostle calls his own preaching the ministration of the Spirit (2Co_3:8), intimating that the Holy Spirit so cleaves to his own truth, as he has expressed it in Scripture, that he then only exerts and puts forth his strength when the word is received with due honour and respect.
There is nothing repugnant here to what was lately said (chap. 7) that we have no great certainty of the word itself, until it be confirmed by the testimony of the Spirit. For the Lord has so knit together the certainty of his word and his Spirit, that our minds are duly imbued with reverence for the word when the Spirit shining upon it enables us there to behold the face of God; and, on the other hand, we embrace the Spirit with no danger of delusion when we recognise him in his image, that is, in his word. Thus, indeed, it is. God did not produce his word before men for the sake of sudden display, intending to abolish it the moment the Spirit should arrive; but he employed the same Spirit, by whose agency he had administered the word, to complete his work by the efficacious confirmation of the word. In this way Christ explained to the two disciples (Luk_24:27), not that they were to reject the Scriptures and trust to their own wisdom, but that they were to understand the Scriptures. In like manner, when Paul says to the Thessalonians, “Quench not the Spirit,” he does not carry them aloft to empty speculation apart from the word; he immediately adds, “Despise not prophesying” (1Th_5:19, 1Th_5:20). By this, doubtless, he intimates that the light of the Spirit is quenched the moment prophesying fall into contempt. How is this answered by those swelling enthusiasts, in whose idea the only true illumination consists, in carelessly laying aside, and bidding adieu to the Word of God, while, with no less confidence than folly, they fasten upon any dreaming notion which may have casually sprung up in their minds? Surely a very different sobriety becomes the children of God. As they feel that without the Spirit of God they are utterly devoid of the light of truth, so they are not ignorant that the word is the instrument by which the illumination of the Spirit is dispensed. They know of no other Spirit than the one who dwelt and spake in the apostles–the Spirit by whose oracles they are daily invited to the hearing of the word.
Tolle Lege Press is responsible for the rejuvenating the 1599 Geneva Bible. Unfortunately not many people know about this or seem to care. (Except for Kirk Cameron) I say it is unfortunate because I truly believe the historical importance of this translation has been overlooked for a blind allegiance to the KJV. Many people don’t know anything about the Geneva translation. They are happy with their King James versions. I’ve always wondered why the KJV onlyists are so loyal to a version that was translated by order of the King to conform to the ecclesiology of the Church of England. The royals and Church leaders were afraid of losing their grip on power. The Bibles of that time period all relied on the Latin Vulgate to some degree as a resource for translation. The Geneva and the KJV were no exceptions. The KJV relied on the Geneva for reference during its translation. The KJV onlyists are always spewing their venomous polemics towards all other versions being Papal translations from Rome. It is disturbing that they can suspend rational thought in regards to the KJV, but seem rational most other times.
The Geneva was translated by the Reformers. They had to flee to Geneva so that they wouldn’t be martyred by the Roman Catholic Church and Bloody Mary. John Calvin and John Knox are most often credited for the Geneva translation. There were other individuals working with them in Geneva to make this translation. The notes and references of this Bible are retained and printed in modern font. They are printed on the bottom of the page like a modern study Bible. These notes are what made this translation such an enemy to the Crowns of the King and the Pope. You have to understand that the Roman Catholic Church was in the business of hunting down and killing the reformers. Then Puritans were persecuted for believing what the reformation brought to fruition. This is what led to them becoming pilgrims. They fled to America hoping to live God honoring lives obedient to His word. The Bible they took with them was the Geneva Bible.
For more on the Geneva’s history visit this site; http://genevabible.com/
Here is a short youtube video about it as well; http://youtu.be/Nq1YhU8cGko
Don’t mind the trolls. They keep complaining about some pagan imagery on the cover, but I don’t see any. I’ve asked them specifically and really haven’t gotten any answers other than, “You’re going to Hell for using anything but the KJV heretic!!!” and now for something completely different, how about the review of the 1599 Geneva Bible?
The 1599 arrived in a cardboard box.
Inside was the Bible in its retail 2 piece box. The cd-rom contains searchable, printable PDFs of the Geneva Bible, plus the Apocryphal Books and Metrical Psalms, was also in the retail box.
The packaging was sufficient to ensure the Bible was delivered without being damaged. Tolle Lege did a wonderful job of giving the 1599 a modern typography. They placed all of the references and notes at the bottom like a modern day study Bible.
The Bible is printed on some pretty opaque paper. It is off white and a bit more rigid than most Bible papers I’ve seen. I don’t know what kind of paper it is for sure, but it seems suitable. The text is printed in a double column verse format with an 8 point font. The notes are printed at the bottom of the page like a modern study Bible. Chapter numbers are larger and in bold print. The pages are bound in a sewn binding done here in America.
The sewn binding makes up for the bonded leather cover. I can’t begin to tell you how much I detest bonded leather. I would much rather see a hardcover or trutone fake leather cover. Of course if this Bible came in a top grain cowhide or goatskin cover with sewn edge lining of leather it would be great. The cover is lined on the inside with white paper that is glued down.
The front outer cover is decorated with, “1599 Geneva Bible” at the top and some kind of flower on the bottom.
I imagine that these are the pagan symbols the kooks are upset about. Who knows? The spine is also gilded with the same as is on the cover except on the bottom of the spine is the Tolle Lege logo.
The sewn binding makes this Bible open better than it would without it. It doesn’t open as nicely as it could with a better cover.
The binding doesn’t completely stop the pages from folding closed on you while you are reading. This is only just out of the box, brand new. As I used it this problem went away. It also will make this Bible hold up much better.
There is one black ribbon marker. The page edges are gilded.
There is a Middle English Glossary in the back and several prayers including morning and evening. There is a purely subjective quality about this Bible that makes me want to sit and read it. The combination of the size, weight, paper, and layout, make sense to me and I find it easy to read. Now just because that is the experience I have with it doesn’t mean I expect everyone to agree with me so don’t go launching fiery darts at me. This Bible should be a part of every Christian’s library. If you don’t have one, go get one.
Don’t get this Bible confused with the 1560 facsimile Geneva Bible. This one is actually useful for daily reading. The 1560 is a little tedious.
John Calvin was known as one of the Swiss Reformers, but did you know he wasn’t Swiss? He was actually born in Noyon, France into a Roman Catholic family. It was only after he fled France, for fear of being killed by the Roman Catholic Church, that he ended up in Switzerland. Calvin was 23 or 24 when he God saved him from his sins. He did a bulk of his work from Geneva. Since he did so much in Geneva he is called a Swiss Reformer, and there you have it.