Our content formatting team at Olive Tree has put a lot of work into Calvin’s Institutes. In this post, I want to show off some of the things we’ve done to make the Institutes more accessible. Also, maybe I can make a case for everyone having a copy of this in their library.

It’s Important to Read Calvin’s Work

Regardless of your opinions about Calvinism, it might interest you to know this little fact. Jacobus Arminius said Calvin’s works are some of the most valuable books written in church history. Yes, Jacobus Arminus… the father of Arminianism! Many today who are strongly opposed to Calvinism still find Calvin’s Institutes to be extremely helpful in their studies.

Calvin was clear and passionate about much of what is important to evangelical Christians today. He spoke on justification by faith alone and the supremacy of the Scriptures. For this reason alone, I believe it would be beneficial for every Christian to read and reference Calvin’s Institutes.

Sometimes it can be challenging…

Of course, one of the problems with old books is that they are often not easy to read. What Christian authors of old writeth, modern Christians wot not. We have a hard time with the King James-style English that we see in many of the reformers and Puritans. This edition of the Institutes should help with that.

Calvin’s Institutes were originally not written in English. In fact, some of the translations that have been made are so old, they barely look like they’re in English. A more recent version, translated by Ford Lewis Battles and edited by John T. McNeill makes Calvin’s Institutes readable to just about anyone. In comparison to other translations I have used, I was able to read this translations almost twice as fast. I enjoyed it more, and feel like I understood it better.

If you’re new to theology and want to read the Institutes, you might find a theological guide helpful, too.

Features in the Olive Tree Edition

Using this resource as a reference gets pretty cumbersome in most ebook apps. And the print version requires a lot of page-flipping.

Typically, in print, you’ll receive Calvin’s four books in 2-3 different volumes. But. when you open our version, the first thing you’ll notice is that we’ve combined all the volumes into one. This makes it significantly easier to use the search feature.

Calvin's Institutes Search

In these screenshots, I have the Institutes open next to a Bible. I’m sure this is the way Calvin wanted it!

The next thing you’ll notice is how easy the Institutes are to navigate in our app. Everything is arranged hierarchically, and you can drill down to go straight to the section you want.

Calvin's Institutes Contents

I’ve saved the best feature for last. We’ve made the indexes at the end of the resource link to actual sections in the book. So, you can quickly find what Calvin had to say about various Scripture passages and subjects.

Calvin's Institutes Index

All of these features, plus the readability of the translation, make this a really great deal. Whether you want to read through the Institutes, or use them as a reference, this is for you.

1 Comment

  1. John M Henderson III Reply

    So glad to get this resource in this edition! I use the bible reading plans you have available and would definitely like to see a reading plan set up in the app for Calvin’s Institutes!!! It would be so practical and a great boon in helping us keep on track to read it through the year. Reading Calvin is better than reading any devotional. Thanks for the effort to make it happen.

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