chapter  8
21 Pages

‘Travails for the exposition of holy scripture’

Calvin’s biblical commentaries

Scriptural exegesis was vital to Calvin's work in and for the community and Church of Geneva. It might be argued that Calvin did so much because he was aware of how little time he had in which to do it. Calvin set out what had been his expository principles - clarity, clarification, simplicity and respect for the text. Calvin's method of working on his exegetical and other literary productions seems to have become more systematic as he proceeded through the course of his labours. The bases of Calvin's commentaries remained the various forms of viva voce delivery of expositions of Scripture that he made, oral interpretations being converted by other hands into literature. It seems as though Calvin's deep underlying familiarity with the Bible allowed him, sometimes perhaps quite briefly, to refresh his memory - 'usually hardly half an hour to meditate on these lectures'.