The word “Institutes” would be better translated as “Principles of the Christian Faith” or “Instruction in the Christian Faith.” The book was intended as an elementary manual for general readers who wanted to know something about the evangelical faith. The first part of the title expressed this aim: “The Principles of the Christian Faith, containing almost the whole sum of godliness and whatever it is necessary to know about saving doctrine.”
Calvin later wrote that, when he undertook the work, “all I had in mind was to hand on some elementary teaching by which anyone who had been touched by an interest in religion might be formed to true godliness. I labored at the task especially for our own Frenchmen, for I saw that many were hungering and thirsting after Christ and yet that only a very few had any real knowledge of him.”
About the Author
John Calvin (1509-1564) the French theologian and reformer was persecuted as a protestant. As a result, he traveled from place to place. In 1534 at Angouleme he began the work of systematizing protestant thought in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, one of the most influential theological works of all time.