125+ Best John Calvin Quotes: Exclusive Selection

John Calvin was a French theologian, pastor and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. Profoundly inspirational John Calvin quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for quotes from influential Christians that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound Joyce Meyer quotes, amazing Padre Pio quotes and top John Piper quotes.

Famous John Calvin Quotes

It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. – John Calvin

Christ is much more powerful to save, than Adam was to destroy. – John Calvin

A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent. – John Calvin

We shall never be fit for the service of God, if we look not beyond this fleeting life. – John Calvin

True wisdom consists in two things: Knowledge of God and Knowledge of Self. – John Calvin

men are undoubtedly more in danger from prosperity than from adversity. for when matters go smoothly, they flatter themselves, and are intoxicated by their success – John Calvin

For the fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light. – John Calvin

God is not limited to any person, but calls freely whomsoever He pleases, and bestows on those who are called whatever rewards He thinks fit. – John Calvin

Men will never worship God with a sincere heart or be roused to fear and obey Him with sufficient zeal, until they properly understand how much they are indebted to His mercy. – John Calvin

We are not to reflect on the wickedness of men but to look to the image of God in them, an image which, covering and obliterating their faults, an image which, by its beauty and dignity, should allure us to love and embrace them. – John Calvin

I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels. – John Calvin

We are nowhere forbidden to laugh. – John Calvin

God does not bestow his spirit on his people in order to set aside the use of his word, but rather to render it fruitful. – John Calvin

But a faithful believer will in all circumstances mediate on the mercy and fatherly goodness of God. – John Calvin

There is no inconsistency in saying that God rewards good works, provided we understand that nevertheless men obtain eternal life gratuitously. – John Calvin

The church is the gathering of God’s children, where they can be helped and fed like babies and then guided by her motherly care, grow up to manhood in maturity of faith. – John Calvin

Faith is like an empty, open hand stretched out towards God, with nothing to offer and everything to receive. – John Calvin

Accursed is that peace of which revolt from God is the bond and blessed are those contentions by which it is necessary to maintain the kingdom of Christ. – John Calvin

Where riches hold the dominion of the heart, God has lost His authority. – John Calvin

Without the fear of God, men do not even observe justice and charity among themselves. – John Calvin

God tolerates even our stammering and pardons our ignorance whenever something inadvertently escapes us – as, indeed, without this mercy there would be no freedom to pray. – John Calvin

Whenever the Lord holds us in suspense, and delays his aid, he is not therefore asleep, but, on the contrary, regulates all His works in such a manner that he does nothing but at the proper time. – John Calvin

The answer of our prayers is secured by the fact that in rejecting them God would in a certain sense deny His own nature. – John Calvin

If God does nothing random, there must always be something to learn. – John Calvin

For Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit, in which, as nothing is omitted that is both necessary and useful to know, so nothing is taught but what is expedient to know. Therefore we must guard against depriving believers of anything disclosed about predestination in Scripture, lest we seem either wickedly to defraud them of the blessing of their God or to accuse and scoff at the Holy Spirit for having published what it is in any way profitable to suppress. – John Calvin

Doubtful prayer is no prayer at all. – John Calvin

Prayer is the chief exercise of faith. – John Calvin

But a most pernicious error widely prevails that Scripture has only so much weight as is conceded to it by the consent of the church. As if the eternal and inviolable truth of God depended upon the decision of men! – John Calvin

In vain people busy themselves with finding any good of man’s own in his will. For any mixture of the power of freewill that men strive to mingle with God’s grace is nothing but a corruption of grace. It is just as if one were to dilute wine with muddy, bitter water. – John Calvin

Let us be peaceable as near as we can: let us relent of our own right: let us not strive for these worldly goods, honor and reputation: let us bear all wrongs and outrages, rather than be moved to any debate through our own fault. But in the meanwhile, let us fight for God’s truth with tooth and nail. – John Calvin

God promised by the mouth of Isaiah that queens should be the nursing mothers of the church. – John Calvin

When God wants to judge a nation, He gives them wicked rulers. – John Calvin

Let it stand, therefore, as an indubitable truth, which no engines can shake, that the mind of man is so entirely alienated from the righteousness of God that he cannot conceive, desire, or design anything but what is wicked, distorted, foul, impure, and iniquitous; that his heart is so thoroughly envenomed by sin that it can breathe out nothing but corruption and rottenness; that if some men occasionally make a show of goodness, their mind is ever interwoven with hypocrisy and deceit, their soul inwardly bound with the fetters of wickedness. – John Calvin

Pagan philosophers set up reason as the sole guide of life, of wisdom and conduct; but Christian philosophy demands of us that we surrender our reason to the Holy Spirit; and this means that we no longer live for ourselves, but that Christ lives and reigns within us (Rom 12:1; Eph 4:23; Gal 2:20). – John Calvin

The human heart has so many crannies where vanity hides, so many holes where falsehood works, is so decked out with deceiving hypocrisy, that it often dupes itself. – John Calvin

If true religion is to beam upon us, our principle must be, that it is necessary to begin with heavenly teaching, and that it is impossible for any man to obtain even the minutest portion of right and sound doctrine without being a disciple of Scripture. – John Calvin

Let everyone regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses. – John Calvin

That man is truly humble who neither claims any personal merit in the sight of God, nor proudly despises brethren, or aims at being thought superior to them, but reckons it enough that he is one of the members of Christ, and desires nothing more than that the Head alone should be exalted. – John Calvin

We must make the invisible kingdom visible in our midst. – John Calvin

Prayer doesn’t change things – God changes things in answer to prayer. – John Calvin

There are sons of God who do not yet appear so to us, but now do so to God; and there are those who, on account of some arrogated or temporal grace, are called so by us, but are not so to God. – John Calvin

Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone. – John Calvin

Nothing good can proceed from our will until it be formed again, and that after it is formed again in so far as it is good, it is of God, and not of us. – John Calvin

Man with all his shrewdness is as stupid about understanding by himself the mysteries of God, as an ass is incapable of understanding musical harmony. – John Calvin

Faith is the evidence of divine adoption. – John Calvin

Unless we fix certain hours in the day for prayer, it easily slips from our memory. – John Calvin

Let this be our rule for goodwill and helpfulness, that whenever we are able to assist others we should behave as stewards who must someday give an account of ourselves. – John Calvin

Let us fall before the majesty of our great God, acknowledging our faults, and praying that he will make us ever more conscious of them. – John Calvin

No man can come to God but by an extraordinary revelation of the Spirit. – John Calvin

Unless God’s Word illumine the way, the whole life of men is wrapped in darkness and mist, so that they cannot but miserably stray. – John Calvin

Whatever a person may be like, we must still love them because we love God. – John Calvin

Scripture is like a pair of spectacles which dispels the darkness and gives us a clear view of God. – John Calvin

The Holy Spirit is the bond by which Christ efficaciously unites us to himself. – John Calvin

The Scriptures obtain full authority among believers only when men regard them as having sprung from heaven, as if there the living words of God were heard. – John Calvin

All truth is God’s truth. – John Calvin

The Lord has not redeemed you so you might enjoy pleasures and luxuries or so that you might abandon yourself to ease and indolence, but rather so you should be prepared to endure all sorts of evils. – John Calvin

Peace is not to be purchased by the sacrifice of truth. – John Calvin

Joy and thanksgiving expressed in prayer and praise according to the Word of God are the heart of the Church’s worship. – John Calvin

In our good works nothing is our own. – John Calvin

I gave up all for Christ, and what have I found? Everything in Christ. – John Calvin

Where God’s Spirit does not reign, there is no humility, and men ever swell with inward pride. – John Calvin

On the contrary, therefore, Christ declares that the doctrine of the Gospel, though it is preached to all without exception, cannot be embraced by all, but that a new understanding and a new perception are requisite; and, therefore, that faith does not depend on the will of men, but that it is God who gives it. – John Calvin

The Gospel acts without threats… it teaches us about the supreme goodwill of God towards us. – John Calvin

Against the persecution of a tyrant the godly have no remedy but prayer. – John Calvin

When I took the leap, I had faith I would find a net; Instead I learned I could fly. – John Calvin

Humility is the beginning of true intelligence. – John Calvin

If a preacher is not first preaching to himself, better that he falls on the steps of the pulpit and breaks his neck than preaches that sermon. – John Calvin

If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house, then in a field,…it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light. – John Calvin

Let our chief goal, O God, be your glory, and to enjoy You forever. – John Calvin

Faith is tossed about by various doubts, so that the minds of the godly are rarely at peace. – John Calvin

The more closely we see ourselves being watched by our enemies, the more time intent we should be to avoid their slanders. – John Calvin

If we believe heaven to be our country, it is better for us to transmit our wealth thither, than to retain it here, where we may lose it by a sudden removal. – John Calvin

Prosperity inebriates men, so that they take delights in their own merits. – John Calvin

It is a most blessed thing to be subject to the sovereignty of God. – John Calvin

We should never insult others on account of their faults, for it is our duty to show charity and respect to everyone. – John Calvin

We shall never be clothed with the righteousness of Christ except we first know assuredly that we have no righteousness of our own. – John Calvin

It is therefore faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is not alone. – John Calvin

But the present life should never be hated, except insofar as it subjects us to sin, although even that hatred should not properly be applied to life itself. – John Calvin

There is nothing in afflictions which ought to disturb our joy. – John Calvin

However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts. – John Calvin

There is no place for faith if we expect God to fulfill immediately what he promises. – John Calvin

Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty. – John Calvin

If the gospel be not preached, Jesus Christ is, as it were, buried. – John Calvin

Hatred grows into insolence when we desire to excel the rest of mankind and imagine we do not belong to the common lot; we even severely and haughtily despise others as our inferiors. – John Calvin

The fire of affliction reveals the quality of our faith – John Calvin

Without the Gospel everything is useless and vain. – John Calvin

The blindness of unbelievers in no way detracts from the clarity of the gospel; the sun is no less bright because blind men do not perceive its light. – John Calvin

When a certain shameless fellow mockingly asked a pious old man what God had done before the creation of the world the latter aptly countered that he had been building hell for the curious. – John Calvin

Whoever is not satisfied with Christ alone, strives after something beyond absolute perfection. – John Calvin

Human will does not by liberty obtain grace, but by grace obtains liberty. – John Calvin

Nothing is more dangerous than to be blinded by prosperity. – John Calvin

This is what entertainment is all about- idiots, explosives and falling anvils. – John Calvin

God preordained, for his own glory and the display of His attributes of mercy and justice, a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation. – John Calvin

They babble and talk absurdly who, in the place of God’s providence, substitute bare permission – as if God sat in a watchtower awaiting chance events, and his judgments thus depended upon human will. – John Calvin

Faith consists not in ignorance, but in knowledge – knowledge not of God merely…but when we recognize God as a propitious Father through the reconciliation made by Christ, and Christ as given to us for righteousness, sanctification, and life. – John Calvin

Involvement in public life provides the opportunity to shape our manners in accordance with civil justice. – John Calvin

To be Christians under the law of grace does not mean to wander unbridled outside the law, but to be engrafted in Christ, by whose grace we are free from the curse of the law, and by whose Spirit we have the law engraved upon our hearts. – John Calvin

The excellence of the Church does not consist in multitude but in purity. – John Calvin

How do we know that God has elected us before the creation of the world? By believing in Jesus Christ. – John Calvin

Were the judgments of mankind correct, custom would be regulated by the good. But it is often far otherwise in point of fact; for, whatever the many are seen to do, forthwith obtains the force of custom. But human affairs have scarcely ever been so happily constituted as that the better course pleased the greater number. Hence the private vices of the multitude have generally resulted in public error, or rather that common consent in vice which these worthy men would have to be law. – John Calvin

When God designs to forgive us he changes our hearts and turns us to obedience by His Spirit. – John Calvin

Then let every one of us, being warned by this sentence of the angel, acknowledge that he as yet cleaves to first principles, or, at least, does not comprehend all those things which are necessary to be known; and that therefore progress is to be made to the very end of life: for this is our wisdom, to be learners to the end. – John Calvin

For we are not all equally afflicted with the same disease or all in need of the same severe cure. This is the reason why we see different persons disciplined with different crosses. The heavenly Physician takes care of the well-being of all his patients; he gives some a milder medicine and purifies others by more shocking treatments, but he omits no one; for the whole world, without exception, is ill (Deut 32:15). – John Calvin

God would remain absolutely hidden if we were not illuminated by the brightness of Christ. – John Calvin

Repentance is the true turning of our life to God, a turning that arises from a pure and earnest fear of Him; and it consists in the mortification of the flesh and the renewing of the Spirit. – John Calvin

No man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men: neither is there any other thing which keepeth us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief. – John Calvin

Angels are the dispensers and administrators of the divine beneficence toward us. – John Calvin

True faith is ever connected with hope. – John Calvin

Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. – John Calvin

No one can travel so far that he does not make some progess each day. So, let us never give up. Then we shall move forward daily in the Lord’s way. And let us never despair because of our limited success. Even though it is so much less than we would like, our labour is not wasted when today is better than yesterday! – John Calvin

God is undoubtedly ready to pardon whenever the sinner turns. Therefore, he does not will his death, in so far as he wills repentance. But experience shows that this will, for the repentance of those whom he invites to himself, is not such as to make him touch all their hearts. Still, it cannot be said that he acts deceitfully; for though the external word only renders, those who hear it, and do not obey it, inexcusable, it is still truly regarded as an evidence of the grace by which he reconciles men to himself. – John Calvin

We can experience joy in adverse circumstances by holding God’s benefits in such esteem that the recognition of them and meditation upon them shall overcome all sorrow. – John Calvin

Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration. – John Calvin

Christ’s intercession is the continual application of his death to our salvation. – John Calvin

Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone. – John Calvin

Things that are seen are temporal; things that are unseen are eternal. – John Calvin

My heart I give you, Lord, eagerly and entirely. – John Calvin

The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul. – John Calvin

It is faith alone that justifies, but faith that justifies can never be alone. – John Calvin

The surest source of destruction to men is to obey themselves. – John Calvin

Wherefore all theology, when separated from Christ, is not only vain and confused, but is also mad, deceitful, and spurious; for, though the philosophers sometimes utter excellent sayings, yet they have nothing but what is short-lived, and even mixed up with wicked and erroneous sentiments. – John Calvin

The Angels are the dispensers and administrators of the Divine beneficence toward us. They regard our safety, undertake our defense, direct our ways, and exercise a constant solicitude that no evil befall us. – John Calvin

Hypocrisy can plunge the mind of a man into a dark abyss, when he believes his own self-flattery instead of God’s verdict. – John Calvin

We should ask God to increase our hope when it is small, awaken it when it is dormant, confirm it when it is wavering, strengthen it when it is weak, and raise it up when it is overthrown. – John Calvin

Warned by such evidences of their spiritual illness, believers profit by their humiliations. Robbed of their foolish confidence in the flesh, they take refuge in the grace of God. And when they have done so, they experience the nearness of the divine protection which is to them a strong fortress. – John Calvin

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