Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I0106 - Institutes of the Christian Religion

This blog post represents the first of what hopefully will be a great year of reading together John Calvin's, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Brothers, it is with great anticipation that I look forward to this joint project. Together I expect we will by God's Grace learn and grow further than doing this simply as a solo project.

My copy of Institutes has now been shipped. Thus within a few days hopefully I can catch up with you all in the daily reading. But I have been reading the ref 21 blog - Now five entries so far for 2009 and 5 preparatory entries from 2008. One entry discusses which english translation is to be preferred, I'm using Beveridge as is also Josh and Kwame, Mike reports that he is reading Battles.

The translations listed by Justin Taylor are (his post here):
  • Thomas Norton (1561)
  • John Allen (1813)
  • Henry Beveridge (1845)
  • Ford Lewis Battles (1960)
I like the quote also by Packer as he evaluates the various translations:

"No English translation fully matches Calvin's Latin; that of the Elizabethan, Thomas Norton, perhaps gets closest; Beveridge gives us Calvin's feistiness but not always his precision; Battles gives us the precision but not always the punchiness, and fleetness of foot; Allen is smooth and clear, but low-key."

As I remember from previously reading Institutes, I found the book to be very heart-inflaming and devotional. At least it was for me at that time. Some 15 years have passed since then.

I didn't know and found it interesting to learn that Calvin considered this to be a companion to his commentaries, which Derek Thomas points out (read this article here):

"Calvin saw the Institutes as a handmaiden to his commentaries; the latter, as he explains in the Epistle Dedicatory to his commentary on Romans, written with "lucid brevity." The exegete cannot interpret soundly without the control of systematic theological formulation. The part cannot be understood without a firm grasp of the whole. Readers of Calvin's commentaries need to have a copy of the Institutes at hand. "

You can access Ref21's blogging thru the Institutes at the url: http://www.reformation21.org/calvin/

Another post discusses the letter to the King of France.

All the posts are nice and short, easy to read, and I think helpful.

Plus I'm really looking forward also to reading Sinclair Fergeuson's entries on Ref21 who has also promised to join the blogging thru group of :
Trying to organize a blog around a group reading project is a new concept to me. I'm excited about it but I suspect I have much to learn. Feel free to leave any comments to add to the discussion. Also, as I'm able, I would like to take gleanings we might share via email, and add them as a separate blog post, or perhaps group our collected comments on a certain reading section in one blog post.

Please bear with me as we work on this together.

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