John Calvin

John Calvin


John Calvin’s 25 Best Quotes


The following quotes are from Calvin: Institutes Of The Christian Religion, 

Edited by John T. McNeill, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1960.


“Well, we are not entirely lacking in miracles, and these very certain and not subject to mockery.”

Prefatory Address To King Francis


“Therefore Scripture will ultimately suffice for a saving knowledge of God only when its certainty is founded upon the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit.”

Book 1, Chapter 8, 13


“Word and Spirit belong inseparably together.”

Book 1, Chapter 9, 3


“So, invited by the great sweetness of his beneficence and goodness, let us study to love and serve him with all our heart.”

Book 1, Chapter 14, 22


“And surely, once we hold God’s Word in contempt, we shake off all reverence for him.”

Book 2, Chapter 1, 


“It therefore remains for us to understand that the way to the Kingdom of God is open only to him whose mind has been made new by the illumination of the Holy Spirit.”

Book 2, Chapter 2, 20


“Every day we need the Holy Spirit that we may not mistake our way.”

Book 2, Chapter 2, 25


“God begins his good work in us, therefore, by arousing love and desire and zeal for righteousness in our hearts; or, to speak more correctly, by bending, forming, and directing our hearts to righteousness.”

Book 2, Chapter 3, 5


“The first part of a good work is will; the other, a strong effort to accomplish it; the author of both is God.”

Book 2, Chapter 3, 9


“If anyone wants a clearer answer, here it is: God works in his elect in two ways: within, through his Spirit; without, through his Word.  By his Spirit, illuminating their minds and forming their hearts to the love and cultivation of righteousness, he makes them a new creation.  By his Word, he arouses them to desire, to seek after, and to attain that same renewal.”

Book 2, Chapter 5, 5


“And we know that the pious, while they are fighting against Satan, attain victory by God’s weapons alone.”

Book 2, Chapter 5, 11


“First, by comparing the righteousness of the law with our life, we learn how far we are from conforming to God’s will.”

Book 2, Chapter 8, 3


“By his secret watering the Spirit makes us fruitful to bring forth the buds of righteousness.”

Book 3, Chapter 1, 3


“Experience obviously teaches that until we put off the flesh we attain less that we should like.”

Book 3, Chapter 2, 4


“For the end of the conflict is always this: that faith ultimately triumphs over those difficulties which besiege and seem to imperil it.”

Book 3, Chapter 2, 18


“We ought not to separate Christ from ourselves or ourselves from him.  Rather we ought to hold fast bravely with both hands to that fellowship by which he has bound himself to us.”

Book 3, Chapter 2, 24


“Hence, we again infer what had been explained before: that faith needs the Word as much a fruit needs the living root of a tree.”

Book 3, Chapter 2, 31


“Accordingly, without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the Word can do nothing.”

Book 3, Chapter 2, 33


“Indeed, the Word of God is like the sun, shining upon all those to whom it is proclaimed, but with no effect among the blind.  Now, all of us are blind by nature in this respect.  Accordingly, it cannot penetrate into our minds unless the Spirit, as the inner teacher, through his illumination makes entry for it.”

Book 3, Chapter 2, 34


“Hope strengthens faith, that it may not waver in God’s promises, or begin to doubt concerning their truth.  Hope refreshes faith, that it may not become weary.  It sustains faith to the final goal, that it may not fail in midcourse, or even at the starting gate.”

Book 3, Chapter 2, 42


“Righteousness is a thing of the heart!”

Book 3, Chapter 14, 7


“Truly, they should have understood that men’s whole righteousness, gathered together in one heap, could not make compensation for a single sin.”

Book 3, Chapter 14, 13


“God wills to be freely worshiped, freely loved.”

Book 3, Chapter 16, 2


“But we define justification as follows: the sinner, received into communion with Christ, is reconciled to God by his grace, while, cleansed by Christ’s blood, he obtains forgiveness of sins, and clothed with Christ’s righteousness as if it were his own, he stands confident before the heavenly judgement seat.”

Book 3, Chapter 17, 8


“Therefore, while we suffer tribulations for Christ’s name, certain marks, as it were, are branded upon us by which God commonly designates the sheep of his flock.”

Book 3, Chapter 18, 7