Our content formatting team at Olive Tree has put a lot of work into a new edition of Calvin’s Institutes for Bible+. In this post, I want to show off some of the things we’ve done to make the Institutes more accessible and perhaps convince you that it’s worth having a copy in your library.
Regardless of your opinions about Calvinism, it might interest you to know that Jacobus Arminius (yes, the fellow after whom Arminianism is named) once said that Calvin’s works are some of the most valuable books written in church history. Many today who are strongly opposed to Calvinism still find Calvin’s Institutes and commentaries to be extremely helpful in their studies.
Calvin was clear and passionate about much of what is important to evangelical Christians today: including justification by faith alone and the supremacy of the Scriptures. For this reason and many others, I personally believe it would be beneficial for every Christian to read and reference Calvin’s Institutes.
Of course, one of the problems with old books is that they are often not easy to read. What Christian authors of old writeth, modern Christians wot not. We have a hard time with the King James-style English that we see in many of the reformers and Puritans. This edition of the Institutes should help with that.
Calvin’s Institutes were originally not written in English, and some of the translations that have been made are so old, they barely look like they’re in English. A more recent version, translated by Ford Lewis Battles and edited by John T. McNeill makes Calvin’s Institutes readable to just about anyone. In comparison to other translations I had used, I personally found that I was able to read this translations almost twice as fast, enjoy it more, and feel like I understood it better.
If you’re new to theology and just looking to read through the Institutes, you might find a Theological Guide helpful, too.
Features in the Olive Tree Edition
Although I’ve read through the Institutes once (and many parts twice or more), I still find it very helpful to use as a reference. Using this resource as a reference gets pretty cumbersome in most eBook apps and requires a lot of flipping around in the print version.
When you open our version, the first thing you’ll notice is that even though the Institutes were written in four books (and is often spread across 2–3 volumes when printed), Olive Tree combines everything into one resource. This makes it easier to use the search feature.
In these screenshots, I have the Institutes open on my iPad Pro right next to a Bible (the way, I’m sure, Calvin would have wanted his writings to be read).
The next thing you’ll notice is how easy the Institutes are to navigate in our app. Everything is arranged hierarchically and you can drill down to go straight to the section you want.
Of course, if you highlight something on your tablet, the highlight will be there waiting for you if you open the book on your phone later.
I’ve saved the best feature for last. With Bible+, we’ve made the indexes at the end of the resource link to actual sections in the book so that you can quickly find what Calvin had to say about various Scripture passages, subjects, and where he quoted other authors.
All of these features, plus the readability of the translation, make this a really great deal—whether you want to read through the Institutes, or just use them as a reference.
Get The Institutes