John Calvin

John Calvin was an influential theologian and a renowned pastor of French origin who lived during the Protestant Reformation . He was known as a leading figure in the development of the system of Christian theology that later became known as Calvinism . Originally studied as a humanistic lawyer, he separated from the Roman Catholic Church around the year 1530.

Personal information

  • When was he born:  07/10/1509
  • Where he was born:  Noyon, France
  • When he died:  05/27/1564
  • Where he died:  Geneva, Switzerland

Who was Juan Calvino?

John Calvin was an important theologian who studied humanities and law and a Protestant reformer who was first educated in Catholicism . Years later he adopts the beliefs of Luther converting to Protestantism and denying the authority of the Church of Rome .

  • What did
  • Biography of Juan Calvino
  • Death
  • Contributions
  • John Calvin’s involvement in the Protestant Reformation
  • Doctrine
  • Thought of Juan Calvino
  • Theology
  • Ideology
  • Plays
  • Phrases of Juan Calvino
  • Importance

What did

He was the builder of constitutional democracy . He left a teaching on the concept of right and wrong , on right and equity in the heart of man for God. He spoke about the covenant of God with the rulers and the people as the basis of a political institution causing there to be an obligation to justice , equity and righteousness .

He showed great interest in popular education for children by supporting free education at all times and promoted the creation of secondary and higher levels of education .

Biography of Juan Calvino

He was born on July 10, 1509 in Noyon, France , and raised in a Roman Catholic family. The local bishop employed John Calvin’s father as an administrator in the city’s cathedral and this priest wanted John to become a priest . Being a son of a noble family, his playmates and classmates were aristocratic and culturally influential .

At age 14, he went to Paris to prepare for college . He studied grammar, rhetoric , logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. At the end of 1523 he studied at the Montaigu College , one of the most famous. In Paris he changed his name to its Latin form , Ioannis Calvinus , which in French became Jean Calvin . By 1527 Calvin had become associated with reform- minded people who set the stage for Calvin’s eventual change to the Reformed faith .

In 1528 John Calvin moved to Orleans to study civil law . In 1532 Calvin finished his law studies and published his first book , a commentary on De Clementia by the Roman philosopher, Seneca . A year later he fled Paris for people who opposed the Roman Catholic Church. According to historians in 1533 Calvin experienced the sudden and unexpected conversion about which he writes in his prologue to his commentary on the Psalms.


For a long time he slept little and ate little. In 1559, his health problems involved regular bouts of malaria- like fever , tuberculosis , ulcerated veins , kidney stones, and hemorrhoids . In his letters, something of his physical suffering could be noted. In early 1563, he was unable to walk well due to gout and arthritis . By 1564 his strength was failing more and more and in early February 1564 he gave his last lectures and sermons.

Juan Calvino prayed to have his mind clear until the end and to be able to work. From his bed he continued dictating letters and comments, and in April he wrote his will , although there was not much he could put down. On May 2, he wrote one of Calvin’s last letters to his old friend William Farel . Farel, seventy-five and in poor health, made the trip for a personal goodbye. He died peacefully and quietly on Saturday, May 27 at 8 pm. He had his holy burial on Sunday in an unnamed grave in a secret place somewhere in Geneva.


Among the main contributions of Juan Calvino we can mention the following:

  • He created the school of reform .
  • He was in favor of education by the state.
  • He created the first Protestant university that taught law, medicine, letters, and theology.
  • He established four types of offices such as pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons .
  • Debt forgiveness was achieved by the different banks.
  • He defended human rights and supported the emergence of democracy .

John Calvin’s involvement in the Protestant Reformation

Calvin, within the Protestant reform, was in charge of forging a clear and systematic thought regarding the main reforming doctrines, adding his contribution and expanding some themes such as theological , social and cultural ones. With him the Genevan republic was created in which it was a quasi-theocracy with civil, political, social and moral ordinances . It was also the forerunner of the modern constitutional system that included the three branches of the state that we know today; the executive , the legislative and the judicial , which had a series of lawsto govern the religious life that had to be kept separate from these three divisions.


The Calvinism was the doctrine taught John Calvin and is a theological system Protestant having an approach to the Christian life by giving emphasis on the authority of God over all things. He studied and taught aspects such as sovereign grace , life as religion, explained that the Bible was the only source of authority , that salvation was given only through faith , that the work of Christ was on the cross was the the only one who could give us that salvation and that that salvation was for the glory ofGod .

Thought of Juan Calvino

Juan Calvin was guided by some of Luther’s ideas and by other reformist currents . But Calvinism was different from Lutheranism mainly in two aspects of John Calvin’s thought, one was that he had a more optimistic conception regarding man and the second was that he thought that God is an absolute sovereign , almighty and unknowable , since He was Him. who decides who to save and who to condemn.

He also thought that the Christian life is a sign for the belonging of man and for being saved. That success in temporary businesses is a blessing from God and that for this reason the Christian must seek and achieve success to confirm his salvation . For him, the church was the people chosen by God, which gave solidity and strength to the Reformation.


His theological work for which he is known is known as the Institution of the Christian Religion . He was not a professional theologian but he was a man with a deep sense of religiosity , orderly and methodical thinking . His theological work had six different chapters and was a guide for students and readers who read the Bible .


His ideology was differentiated and full of Lutheran concepts with which he believed that power came from God and that it was exercised by princes . He also thought that the social organization of a country depends on the reason of the human being and the subordination of this before the divine law . The authority , for John Calvin, exists only in order to fulfill its spiritual mission which is to bring all men to salvation .


Some of his works were the following:

  • Commentary on Seneca’s treatise , De Clementia,
  • The Institution of the Christian Religion which is considered his masterpiece.

Phrases of Juan Calvino

Among his most recognized phrases we mention the following

  • Without the Gospel everything is useless and vain.
  • Those who prematurely position themselves to eradicate with all that is unpleasant to them, crush the Judgment of God and slightly intrude on the office of the angels.
  • The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul.
  • Wherever we see the Word of God preached and heard thoroughly, there is a church where God exists, even with swarms of defects.
  • As a person is, we should still love them because we love God.
  • You, Lord, bruise me, but I am completely satisfied, since it is from Your hand.


He was always interested in government and became one of the most influential political writers of the 16th century and one of the architects of constitutional democracy based on an alliance with God . He was a reformer of the second generation within a world of capitalism , being he who raised many issues that were the basis of multiple developments in the world today .

His legacy impacts disciplines such as history , economics , law and political science , creating a second revolution of thought and morals for the progress of humanity.

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