A Reader’s Guide to Calvin’s Institutes

by Anthony Lane


“A concise yet meticulous guide to the Battles translation of the Institutes. Tony Lane admirably succeeds in identifying its structure and in highlighting its arguments. This guide will be an invaluable help to new readers of Calvin’s great work.”

– Paul Helm, teaching fellow, Regent College, Vancouver

“Tony Lane’s Reader’s Guide to Calvin’s Institutes is truth in advertising. Nothing truly worthwhile is really easy to master, and John Calvin is one of the best theologians ever produced by the Christian faith. In this study, the range and depth of Calvin’s reflections are soundly and helpfully surveyed.”

– Charles Partee, P. C. Rossin professor of church history, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

“A Reader’s Guide to Calvin’s Institutes makes a first-time read of John Calvin’s Reformation classic more efficient by highlighting its most important sections. Tony Lane provides sufficient summaries, teasers, directions, and assessments to make the study of Calvin’s magnum opus stimulating and enlightening. Though few will agree with all of Lane’s assessments of Calvin, even areas of disagreement can be used as a springboard for further research. I, for one, hope to keep this handy reference tool beside my McNeill-Battles edition of the Institutes.”

– Joel R. Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids

“Reading over 1500 pages of Calvin’s Institutes is a daunting prospect for most people. In Professor Lane’s guide, they have an invaluable companion to help them on their way. The book enables readers to concentrate on the substance of the Institutes, but not in isolation from the whole, for it summarizes sections not proposed for study. Having Lane’s book with you as you read the Institutes is like having an enthusiastic teacher sitting alongside you, helping you with the background and context, pointing you to key ideas, and offering succinct summaries, sometimes challenging you to consider whether you agree with Calvin, but above all assisting you in understanding Calvin. I am glad to use this in my Calvin class and am happy to recommend its use to others.”

– W. P. Stephens, emeritus professor of church history, University of Aberdeen

“The best tourist’s guide is of limited use if it outweighs one’s suitcase. Tony Lane has captured Calvin’s own ideal for ‘lucid brevity’ by producing a guide that pares down the monumental Institutes to a manageable third of its original length, yet does so with little feeling of loss, because even the unassigned sections are given concise and trenchant summaries. For teachers, this reader’s guide will enable them to teach the whole Institutes without pushing students to exhaustion, or to study the Institutes alongside ample selections from Calvin’s other works. For students, Lane’s work will lead them through the Institutes strategically–allowing time for reading and reflection–with the sort of guidance that will invite them to return for deeper and broader exploration.”

– John L. Thompson, professor of historical theology and Gaylen and Susan Byker Professor of Reformed Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary


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