Logos Bible Software
Sign In
Products>The Letters of John Calvin (4 vols.)

The Letters of John Calvin (4 vols.)

Digital Logos Edition

Get a better deal on these books when you pre-order the 108-volume Calvin 500 Collection!

Logos Editions are fully connected to your library and Bible study tools.


Print list price: $159.95
Save $139.96 (87%)


The Letters of John Calvin (4 vols.) contains four volumes of Calvin’s correspondence. This collection includes over 600 letters written between 1528 and 1564. His first letters were written as he studied in Paris; the last letter was written from his deathbed. In between, we find letters to other Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Knox, as well as letters to kings and government authorities. B.B. Warfield rightly called Calvin "the great letter-writer of the Reformation age."

These volumes contain Calvin’s private correspondence throughout thirty years of public life, and offer a revealing look at the context in which Calvin preached in Geneva, studied the Scriptures, and wrote The Institutes. In the Logos edition of The Letters of John Calvin (4 vols.), you’ll find letters on controversies in Geneva, social issues, persecution, ecclesiastical problems, along with personal reflections on his everyday experiences—written to friends, kings, and his fellow Reformers.

Calvin himself identified his correspondence to Theodore Beza shortly before he died, and Beza, along with Charles de Jonvillers, published a Latin edition of his letters in Geneva in 1575. For centuries, Calvin’s letters remained a rarity—most copies were lost or in poor condition—until the French government commissioned a republication project. In 1854, the new French edition of Calvin’s letters appeared in Paris under the editorship of Jules Bonnet. Volumes one and two were translated by D. Constable for publication in 1855 and 1857; volumes three and four were translated by M.R. Gilchrist. All four volumes were published as a complete set by the Presbyterian Board of Publication for an American audience.

What’s more, the Logos edition of The Letters of John Calvin (4 vols.) contains extensive tagging and linking. All Scripture references display the verse on mouseover, and each reference is linked to the original language texts and English Bible translations in your library. With Logos, you can also perform advanced searches—searching Calvin’s letters by passage or topic. That makes the Logos edition of The Letters of John Calvin (4 vols.) ideal for historians, theologians, and Calvin scholars.

Resource Experts
  • More than 600 pieces of correspondence written by John Calvin between 1528 and 1564
  • Appendix to Calvin’s letters
  • All Scripture references linked to original language texts and English Bible translations

Top Highlights

“Above all, take heed that you watch unto prayer; for if your whole expectation rests upon God, as it ought, there is good reason to infer that your heart should be daily lifted up to heaven in calling upon the Lord, and earnestly supplicating the mercy which you hope to obtain from himself. Understand, moreover, that if he delays to grant the desire of his children, and does not immediately manifest himself in the time of need for their deliverance, it is generally because he wishes to stir them up and urge them on to supplicate his favour.” (Volume 1, Page 88)

“But when I remember that I am not my own, I offer up my heart, presented as a sacrifice to the Lord” (Volume 1, Pages 280–281)

“You have been taught, Madame, that we cannot serve him without fighting” (Volume 4, Page 267)

“Although the death of my wife has been exceedingly painful to me, yet I subdue my grief as well as I can. Friends, also, are earnest in their duty to me. It might be wished, indeed, that they could profit me and themselves more; yet one can scarcely say how much I am supported by their attentions. But you know well enough how tender, or rather soft, my mind is. Had not a powerful self-control, therefore, been vouchsafed to me, I could not have borne up so long.” (Volume 2, Page 202)

“Respecting ceremonies, because they are things indifferent, the churches have a certain latitude of diversity. And when one has well weighed the matter, it may be sometimes considered useful not to have too rigid a uniformity respecting them, in order to shew that faith and christianity do not consist in that.” (Volume 3, Page 162)

. . . Calvin’s theology interests us in its historical context as an outstanding record of Reformation theology that historically—and at times even legally—has served as a basis of proclamation in modern Protestant churches.

Karl Barth

Calvin helped the Reformation change the entire focus of the Christian life. Calvin’s teaching, preaching, and catechizing fostered growth in the relationship between believers and God.

—Joel R. Beeke

Calvin’s theological heritage has proved fertile perhaps to a greater extent than any other Protestant writer. Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, and Karl Barth, in their very different ways, bear witness to the pivotal role that Calvin’s ideas have played in shaping Protestant self-perceptions down the centuries. . . . It is impossible to understand modern Protestantism without coming to terms with Calvin’s legacy to the movement which he did so much to nourish and sustain.

—Alister E. McGrath

The fundamental issue for John Calvin—from the beginning of his life to the end—was the issue of the centrality and supremacy and majesty of the glory of God.

John Piper

John Calvin is a man of distinguished reputation, one of the great figures of church history.

—Wulfert de Greef

It would hardly be too much to say that for the latter part of his lifetime and a century after his death John Calvin was the most influential man in the world, in the sense that his ideas were making more history than those of anyone else during that period. Calvin’s theology produced the Puritans in England, the Huguenots in France, the ‘Beggars’ in Holland, the Covenanters in Scotland, and the Pilgrim Fathers of New England, and was more or less directly responsible for the Scottish uprising, the revolt of the Netherlands, the French wars of religion, and the English Civil War. Also, it was Calvin’s doctrine of the state as a servant of God that established the ideal of constitutional representative government and led to the explicit acknowledgment of the rights and liberties of subjects. . . . It is doubtful whether any other theologian has ever played so significant a part in world history.

J. I. Packer

[Calvin] easily takes the lead among the systematic expounders of the Reformed system of Christian doctrine. . . Calvin’s theology is based upon a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He was the ablest exegete among the Reformers, and his commentaries rank among the very best of ancient and modern times. His theology, therefore, is biblical rather than scholastic, and has all the freshness of enthusiastic devotion to the truths of God’s Word. At the same time he was a consummate logician and dialectician. He had a rare power of clear, strong, convincing statement. He built up a body of doctrines which is called after him, and which obtained symbolical authority through some of the leading Reformed Confessions of Faith.

Philip Schaff

What is it about Calvin that so inspires me? This: his disciplined style, his determination never to speculate, his utter submission to Bible words as God's words, his submission to Christ's Lordship, his sense of the holy, his concern to be as practical as possible; the fact that godly living was his aim and not theology for the sake of it. In a forest of theologians, Calvin stands like a Californian Redwood, towering over everyone else.

—Derek Thomas

A little bit of the world’s history was enacted in Geneva.

—Ludwig Häusser

The greatest exegete and theologian of the Reformation was undoubtedly Calvin. . . . He is one of the greatest interpreters of Scripture who ever lived. He owes that position to a combination of merits. He had a vigorous intellect, a dauntless spirit, a logical mind, a quick insight, a thorough knowledge of the human heart, quickened by rich and strange experience; above all, a manly and glowing sense of the grandeur of the Divine. The neatness, precision, and lucidity of his style, his classic training and wide knowledge, his methodical accuracy of procedure, his manly independence, his avoidance of needless and commonplace homiletics, his deep religious feeling, his careful attention to the entire scope and context of every passage, and the fact that he has commented on almost the whole of the Bible, make him tower above the great majority of those who have written on Holy Scripture.

—Frederic William Farrar

  • Title: The Letters of John Calvin
  • Author: John Calvin
  • Editor: Jules Bonnet
  • Publisher: Presbyterian Board of Publication
  • Volumes: 4
  • Pages: 1,894

John Calvin was a theologian, pastor, biblical exegete, and tireless apologist for Reformed Christianity, and ranks among the most important thinkers in church history. His theological works, biblical commentaries, tracts, treatises, sermons, and letters helped establish the Reformation as a legitimate and thriving religious movement throughout Europe. No theologian has been as acclaimed or assailed as much as Calvin. Calvinism has spawned movements and sparked controversy throughout the centuries. Wars have been fought both to defend and destroy it, and its later proponents began political and theological revolutions in Western Europe and America. The breadth and depth of the engagement with his works since they first appeared four centuries ago—and their continuous publication since then—testifies to Calvin’s importance and lasting value for the church today. Thinking Christians from the twenty-first century who ignore Calvin’s writings do so at their own peril.

John Calvin was born on July 10, 1509 in Noyan, in France. He began his work in the church at the age of twelve, intending—at the request of his father—to train for the priesthood. Calvin attended the Collège de la Marche in Paris, before studying law at the University of Orléans in 1526 and continuing his studies at the University of Bourges. In 1532, Calvin’s first published work appeared: a commentary on Seneca's De Clementia.

On year later, he befriended Nicolas Cop, the rector of the Collège Royal in Paris. This friendship resulted in trouble for Calvin when Cop was branded a heretic after calling for reform in the Catholic Church. Cop fled to Basel, and Calvin was forced from Paris. The controversy expanded when, on the evening of October 18, 1534, anonymous attacks against the Mass were posted on public buildings, fueling the violence in the city. Calvin left France for Basel in January. The controversy, and the trouble it caused Calvin, disciplined him in his writing project, and he began working on the first edition of The Institutes of the Christian Religion, which appeared in 1536.

In June, 1536, Calvin returned to Paris as the violence subsided, but was expelled again in August of 1536. He left for Strasbourg, but was forced to Geneva instead, where he stayed at the request of William Farel. He became a reader in the church in 1537. In late 1537, Calvin fled Geneva after a controversy surrounding the Eucharist. He traveled to Basel before accepting a position at the church in Strasbourg. There, Calvin continued working on both the second edition of the Institutes and his Commentary on Romans. At the urging of his friends, Calvin married Idelette de Bure. He returned to Geneva in 1541.

Upon his arrival to Geneva, Calvin began writing prolifically. He continued his revisions to the Institutes, preached weekly, taught the Bible during the week, and delivered lectures on theology. Calvin also continued work on his New Testament commentaries.

His return to Geneva was not without controversy, however. He faced opposition from the libertines, who, in 1552, compromised his authority and nearly succeeded in banishing him from Geneva a second time. His greatest threat, however, came from his theological antagonist, Servetus. The frequent letters between Calvin and Servetus contain elements of their tenuous relationship, which were exacerbated when Servetus visited Geneva against Calvin’s orders, publically denied the Trinity, and disgraced the church. He was condemned for heresy and executed.

By 1553, Calvin was praised for his work in uniting Geneva and securing the future of the Reformation. The church housed refugees from England—among them John Knox—who brought the Reformed faith to England. Calvin also sent more than 100 Reformed missionaries to France, and frequently corresponded with both political leaders and second generation Reformers throughout Europe. He also founded a school in Geneva, and Theodore Beza became its first rector. Calvin’s influence quickly expanded beyond the vicinity of Geneva.

During the 1550s, Calvin’s health began to decline, prompting him to undertake a final revision and expansion of The Institutes of the Christian Religion. It was published in 1559, and was immediately reprinted and translated throughout Europe. Calvin became ill in early 1564, and preached his last sermon on February 6 of that same year. His health worsened throughout the spring, and he died on May 27. Thousands flocked to view his body, forcing the council in Geneva to bury him in an unmarked grave.


1 rating

Sign in with your Faithlife account

  1. Craig Ostrander
    Logos preview of these volumes is ridiculous. The only portion they show in the preview is the Editors introduction to each book, which is the same for every book in the collection. You do not get to read a sample of any of Calvin's letters. I think Logos could do a better job of putting up a preview look at the book containing an actual preview of something Calvin wrote. Just a page or two would be nice. :)
  2. Aldran Wong

    Aldran Wong



Print list price: $159.95
Save $139.96 (87%)