Sermons on Genesis: Chapters 1-11, by John CalvinPosted: May 23, 2009
John Calvin is generally thought of as the greatest theologian of the Protestant Reformation or as a gifted Bible commentator whose insights into the text of Scripture are still highly valued today. Yet it is not widely known that the greatest obligation Calvin felt was not to his fellow scholars, nor even to his students, but to the ordinary people – citizens of Geneva and persecuted refugees, shopkeepers and merchants, the young and the old – who crowded St. Peter’s Church no less than ten times a fortnight to listen to his sermons in French.
Calvin’s sermons have lain for too long in the shadow of his commentaries. In seeking to correct this imbalance, it should be remembered that a sermon serves a very different purpose from a commentary. While explanation and interpretation are enough for students, they are never enough for a congregation of sinners. That is why Calvin’s sermons always combine the essential elements of all true preaching – exposition, exhortation and practical application. So let the reader be warned: this volume contains lively preaching! Calvin aims to awaken the conscience and also demands life-changing action. Is it any wonder that such preaching was used by God to bring spiritual renewal on an unprecedented scale to the people and nations of sixteenth-century Europe?