Calvin on Preaching, Grieving and Singleness


While we don’t quite have a version of Luther’s famous ‘Table Talk’ for John Calvin, here are four quotes on different subjects. The first two deal with public ministry but the second two are highly personal and give us a glimpse of his own struggles and challenges.

On the act of preaching
A preacher ‘preaches so that God may speak to us by the mouth of a man.’ (p.107)

On the importance of sermon preparation
‘If I should enter the pulpit without deigning to glance at a book, and should frivolously think to myself, ‘Oh well, when I preach, God will give me enough to say’, and come here without troubling to read or thinking what I ought to declare, and do not carefully consider how I must apply Holy Scripture to the edification of the people, then I should be an arrogant upstart.’ (p.110)

On the death of his beloved, formerly Anabaptist, wife
‘Truly mine is no common grief. I have been bereaved of the best friend of my life, of one who, if it had been so ordained, would willingly have shared not only my poverty but also my death. During her life she was the faithful helper of my ministry. From her I never experienced the slightest hindrance.’ (p.121)

On singleness
(Calvin didn’t remarry after the death of his wife)
‘As for me, I do not want anyone to think me very virtuous because I am not married. It would rather be a fault in me if I could serve God better in marriage than remaining as I am…But I know my infirmity, that perhaps a woman might not be happy with me. However that may be, I abstain from marriage in order that I may be more free to serve God. But this is not because I think that I am more virtuous than my brethren. Fie to me if I had that false opinion.’ (p. 121)

Read about John Calvin and the Great Commission here

Above quotes are from THL Parker, John Calvin, Lion 1975

© 2009 Lex Loizides


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