Calvinism must be understood as a way of thinking before it can be effectively estimated as a set of beliefs.  Calvin, who did not distinguish the theologian’s task from the preacher’s, composed his Institutio in the same way that he prepared his sermons – namely, by disciplining himself to echo and apply what he found taught in the inspired Scriptures and to exclude all lines of thought which, however attractive otherwise, lacked biblical sanction.  To him, the doctrina of the Bible was the self-testimony of God, the Word of the Creator delineating Himself to sinful men as their Redeemer through Jesus Christ and teaching them how to acknowledge and serve Him in His dual capacity.  The Institutio, which sets out and safeguards this knowledge should, accordingly, be read as a vast expository sermon with the whole Bible as its text, a systematic confession of divine mysteries learned from God’s own mouth. – J. I. Packer (born in 1926), from his article, “Calvin the Theologian,” originally published in 1963.

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