For many years I have endeavored to read through Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.  I confess upfront that I have often started it only to find myself getting away from it long enough that I recall very little of what I read previously.  I also confess that I struggle to understand Calvin.  His writing can be dense at times, and that is where he sometimes loses me (or I lose him?).  There are many good supplementary books out there to help read through The Institutes, such as:

A Reader’s Guide to Calvin’s Institutes (Anthony Lane)
Analysis of the Institutes of the Christian Religion of John Calvin (Ford Lewis Battles)
A Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes: Essays and Analysis (David Hall and Peter A. Lillback, ed.)
Piety’s Wisdom: A Summary of Calvin’s Institutes (J. Mark Beach)

Recently, however, David Calhoun’s book Knowing God and Ourselves: Reading Calvin’s Institutes Devotionally has attracted my attention, and, my money. I recently ordered the book and will be using it to supplement my reading through the Institutes. There are twenty-six chapters devoted to helping the student of the institutes.  The helpful aspects of this book are the reading assignments that accompany each chapter, a notable quote preceding each chapter, a scripture to memorize and a prayer. Each chapter summarizes the sections read in the Institutes.   I appreciate Dr. Calhoun’s work greatly and look forward to one day completing Calvin’s biggest contribution to the church. 

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