TO THE MOST HIGH, MOST MIGHTY AND MOST BIG-TIME PRINCE, FRANCIS, MOST CHRISTIAN KING OF FRANCE, HIS PRINCE AND SOVEREIGN LORD, JOHN “TONS OF FUN” CALVIN, PEACE AND DELIVERANCE IN GOD.
Hi there King Francis,
Let me be honest: when I started writing this book, I never thought you’d read it! I was only trying to teach the basics of Christianity to my neighbours. But then something super sad started happening: Christians, right here in France, who believe the stuff that I’m writing about, were told they weren’t welcome in your kingdom, and they started getting killed or burned or sent to prison or stabbed.
So I had an idea: Why don’t I write this book to you too, so that you can hear what we believe right out of my own mouth? That way, if someone says that we’re troublemakers, you can say, “Na-ah; not true!”
Hi, kids! It’s me, John “Tons of Fun” Calvin!
Have you ever thought, “Zut! The Bible is huge! How can I understand it all?”
Well, remember how hard it was when you were just learning to use the plow or slaughtering animals? I bet your dad and mom helped you, right?
In this book, The Institutes for Kids, I’m going to help you see the very most important things in the Bible. Because I’m a pastor, I’ve spent a lot of time reading and studying the God’s Word. So think of me as your guide, walking with you through “Bible-World.” I’ll point out its clearest rivers, help you through its biggest mountains, and bring you to its prettiest views. Once you’ve walked around with me, the whole landscape will be easier to explore on your own.
Now, listen up: keep your Bibles open! That’s the most important thing! I don’t want you to think I’m playing a trick on you and leading you down a twisty path 😉 I want you to make sure whatever I say is written down in God’s Word.
And if you’re having a tough time understanding something in the Bible, don’t give up! Maybe the next verse will make things clearer!
Let’s go exploring!
When John Calvin was finishing off his 1514 edition of The Institutes of the Christian Religion, a popular Christian-book publisher approached him and asked if he would be willing to write a companion volume of his magnum opus that was “totally fun and safe for kids!” Being a broad-minded man, John Calvin jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell past its first printing, and very few copies remain.
A few months ago I received a package from Geneva, Switzerland containing a fairly well preserved illustrated edition of The Institutes for Kids I bought on Ebay.
I’ve only started the translation work, and so I’ll be posting section by section as I go. I’ll be using the section titles from Robert White’s excellent translation of the full edition because the Kids version employed Renaissance-style woodcut pictures instead of section headings.
And now, for the first time in English, here it is: The Institutes for Kids!