John Calvin Biography

John Calvin Biography

Famous French theologian and pastor during Protestant Reformation, John Calvin was the prominent person involved in the development of Christian Theology System later came to be known as Calvinism. He is the author of the most famous book ever published on Theology. In Protestant Reformation, he is considered to be at par with Martin Luther King.

Born: July 10, 1509, Noyon, France
Died: May 27, 1564, Geneva, Switzerland
Full name: Jehan Cauvin
Education: University of Bourges, University of Orléans, Collège de Montaigu, University of Paris
Parents: Gérard Cauvin, Jeanne le Franc

Birth Details

Son of a lawyer, John Calvin was born on July, 10, 1509. He was born in Noyon, Picardy in Geneva Switzerland.

Personal Biography

John was the son of Gerard Cauvin who was a registrar of the government of Noyon, fiscal agent of the county, secretary of the bishopric, solicitor in the ecclesiastical court and attorney of the cathedral chapter. The name of John Calvin’s mother was Jeanne Le Franc of Cambrai. She was known for her beauty and was very religious.

He had five siblings and he was the second among them. Due to the influential position enjoyed by his father, John received good facilities of education, association with children belonging to prominent families and ecclesiastical patronage. John received the chaplaincy at only twelve years of age that ensured regular income for him. He was given the tonsure as after growing up, he was expected to become a priest.

In grammatical studies, he soon outstripped his competitors with the help of skill and acumen. Although not ordained as yet, he preached sermons to the people.


Calvin soon changed his mind regarding becoming priest after some time. He also falls out of favor with the Noyon’s cathedral chapter. To dissent from the Roman Catholic worship, Calvin began to study scriptures.

In 1528, John moved to Orleans from Paris and changed his career to law. He studied under Pierre Taisan de L’toile who was the most distinguished lawyer in those days. He soon finished his studies and started taking lectures as regular staff in the law college. 

Calvin continued his studies under Andrea Alciati, a renowned law professor. The year 1534 proved to be a turning point in the life of John Calvin. He became very influential and people looking for counsel and instructions turned towards him. Calvin moved to Switzerland and spent his entire life there with few exceptions.

He established many schools in Switzerland and encouraged people to send their children to study. He got married in the year 1540 to Idelette de Bure. She died in 1549. They had only one child who also died after few days of his birth. In 1564, Calvin delivered his last sermon and died after few days at the age of 55.


  • John Calvin is the author of the most famous book published Institutes of the Christian Religion based on theology. 4 editions of this famous book were published:
  • First edition(1536)  - God the Creator
  • Second edition(1539) - Redeemer in Christ
  • Third edition(1543) - Receiving the Grace of Christ through the Holy Spirit
  • Fourth edition(1559) - Society of Christ or the Church
  • John Calvin was the person responsible for the printing of the famous Geneva Bible.
  •  Entitled after John Calvin, Calvinism is a theological scheme that highlights the type of Christian life a human being should lead and the regulation of God over the entire things.


“Man with all his shrewdness is as stupid about understanding by himself the mysteries of God, as an ass is incapable of understanding musical harmony”
- John Calvin

“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice”
- John Calvin

“It behooves us to accomplish what God requires of us, even when we are in the greatest despair respecting the results”
- John Calvin

“There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence”
- John Calvin

“However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts”
- John Calvin

“You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy”
- John Calvin

“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels”
- John Calvin

“Yet consider now, whether women are not quite past sense and reason, when they want to rule over men”
- John Calvin

“We must remember that Satan has his miracles, too.”
- John Calvin

“For there is no one so great or mighty that he can avoid the misery that will rise up against him when he resists and strives against God”
- John Calvin

“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ”
- John Calvin

“Is it faith to understand nothing, and merely submit your convictions implicitly to the Church?”
- John Calvin

“Let us not cease to do the utmost, that we may incessantly go forward in the way of the Lord; and let us not despair of the smallness of our accomplishments”
- John Calvin

“Every one of us is, even from his mother's womb, a master craftsman of idols”
- John Calvin

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