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The Expository Genius of John Calvin

(A Long Line of Godly Men Profile)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  791 ratings  ·  90 reviews
“The aim of this book is to raise the bar for a new generation of expositors.”
—Steven J. Lawson

Looking to the past for outstanding Bible-based, Christ-centered, and life-changing preaching, Dr. Steven J. Lawson focuses on sixteenth-century Geneva, Switzerland. It was there that John Calvin ministered for decades as a faithful shepherd to a flock of believers.

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Hardcover, 142 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Reformation Trust
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Derek Brown
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Steve Lawson, senior pastor at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama, has started a project - a big project. The project, "A Long Line of Godly Men" is a book series that will survey the doctrines of grace as they have been taught and defended from the time of Moses, to the apostle John, to Augustine, to Luther and Calvin, to Warfield, to present day teachers such as A.W. Pink, Martyn Lloyd Jones, John Piper and John MacArthur. The first installment of this series entitled Foundati ...more
Jami Balmet
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love this whole series by Steve Lawson!! This is probably my least favorite of the series so far but that’s probably because I know more about Calvin already than the others 🤣 I can’t wait to read through (listen through) the rest of this series! I must add that I love the audio book reader who does the whole series. He does such a fantastic job!!
Douglas Domer
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Doctor Lawson has done an excellent job of giving a brief but detailed study of the life of John Calvin. Dr. Lawson also serves as the editor of the series Long Line of Godly Men Profiles. This book, as well as the entire series, can be read quickly yet give much depth into the life of the Profile addressed. This book contains many footnote for further study.
Jacob London
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
I liked this book. It does little to tell us about John Calvin himself (and there are swaths of biographies on the man) and thats fine. Instead it focuses on 32 elements of his preaching. Although I enjoyed the book it is not a must read text for those who want to know more of the Genevan Reformer.
Neil Kruger
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
A lively and entertaining biography that focuses on Calvin's preaching. Lawson's approach of highlighting distinctives such as Calvin's commitment to biblical authority, pulpit priority, pursuing the glory of God and exposition concerned with the author's original meaning, are particularly helpful to the reader to follow the train of thought in what is not a typical biography.

Another way to describe this book is that it is deliciously biased. Therefore some of Calvin's opponents may walk away fr
Matt Lee
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
A short, concise introduction to the life and, more importantly, the expository preaching of John Calvin. The first book in an excellent series looking at the focus of the preaching of some the best and most influential preachers over the centuries.

Lawson does an excellent job of putting Calvin's life into historical, and theological, context. The myths surrounding Calvin, such as his tyrannical Genevan dictatorship, are shown to clearly be false and Lawson clearly shows an appreciation for Calv
Jason Holt
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although I’m not a John Calvin fan, this book gave a very intriguing insight into his pulpit ministry. No doubt there is much that can be learned here for every preacher.
Garry Geer
May 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Its a pithy little volume that checks out the person and preaching of John Calvin from a bird's eye view. There are enjoyable helpful tidbits, but for 12 bucks it is really over-priced.

Michael Goldfuss
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michael by: Mike Sr
Through the study of his life, commentaries, and sermons, Dr Steven Lawson pinpoints the following elements and foundations of Calvin’s preaching (32 total)

*Approaching the Pulpit*
1. Biblical authority
2. Divine presence
3. Pulpit priority - “What God has to say to me and is infinitely more important than what man has to say to God” p. 30.
4. Sequential expository preaching

*Preparing the Preacher*
5. Diligent Mind
6. Devoted Heart
7. Relentless Will

*Launching the Sermon*
8. Direct Beginning
9. Extempora
Peter Jones
May 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
2009 Review: Whether or not you like this book probably depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for a detailed look at Calvin's preaching you will need to go elsewhere. I might suggests T.H.L Parker's book on Calvin's Preaching. Lawson's book is great for a quick review of the main aspects of Calvin's preaching. When I need direction for my preaching, whether delivery or preparation or the conclusion, I can pull out Lawson's book and get some quick input. It is almost like a refe ...more
Philip Mcduffie
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, preaching
Lawson reveals the preaching of Calvin in a way that is extremely applicable for any preacher. The Genevan reformer cannot be imitated on many things, but one can take some very helpful advice on Calvin's approach before and during his time in the pulpit exalting the majesty of the God of heaven and earth. ...more
Douglas Wilson
Aug 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a very fine, compact handling of John Calvin's attitude toward the Scriptures, and the duties of the faithful preacher in expositing the Scriptures. This is a good one, particularly recommended to preachers. ...more
Wesley Rea
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great follow-up to the Martin Luther book. Covered a great detail of Calvin's life and helped me learn some surprising facts about his personal life. This really helped to raise my respect for the great -yet often misunderstood - preacher even more. ...more
Kin Wei
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This short book is easy to read as the author leads the reader through different aspects of the preaching methods of Calvin: What the famous preacher thought of the ministry of the pulpit (chapter 2), the preacher himself (ch. 3), beginning the sermon (ch. 4), how to handle the text (ch. 5), giving form to the content (ch. 6), the application of the truth (ch. 7) and how to conclude the sermon (ch. 8).

This book is a plea to preachers to prepare their sermons and preach in the style and dispositi
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This just took a couple hours to read. For some reason I thought it was going to be about the life of John Calvin, but it was specifically about how he preached. So there is a little bit of a summary of his life, but the bulk of the book is about sermon prep, methodology, delivery, ideology, tone, break down of the beginning, middle end and even how he would transition. It's not technical just brief summary.

I found it really insightful and helpful. Everytime I read about Calvin or read Calvin's
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was really a book on homiletics posing as a book about John Calvin’s expository preaching. It is a good book for noting important criteria that preachers ought to keep in mind and strive for, and it is a brief introduction to Calvin as preacher. However, it is extremely light in substance in terms of delving into Calvin’s thoughts on preaching and analysis of his expositional method. One would have to take Lawson’s word for it that Calvin possessed expository genius, which I don’t contest; ...more
Nathan Schneider
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: preaching
John Calvin, as an intellectual giant in the history of Christianity, is one of the most well-known preachers of Christendom. Lawson evaluates Calvin's sermon manuscripts and draws conclusions about his preaching style, citing examples throughout the book. I learned a lot about Calvin's style from this little work, such as Calvin preaching without notes and rarely referring to the original languages in his sermon. I was also challenged by Calvin's intentionality toward study and the serious unde ...more
Mathew Nix
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
The beginning of the book was a biography of Calvin, and this was the part that interested me most. After this, the rest of the book is primarily geared towards preachers as it offers insights into the methods utilized by Calvin to preach the Word properly. Thus, this book is definitely best for that intended audience. For all others, like me, who do not preach, there are still some good insights for improving one's own Bible study techniques that can be drawn from this. ...more
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Biographies are always great to read. Especially of giants in the faith. This particular one was helpful to think through Calvin’s pastoral and preaching ministry. So many people think that Calvin was cold and passionless but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Dr. Lawson does a good job of mixing in Calvin’s journey and struggles with analysis on how and why he preached the way that he did.

Good read.
Lachlan Phillips
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
I thought this book was a great introduction to John Calvin as a pastor. Above all of his other accomplishments, he was first-of-all a servant to his congregation, and he poured his heart, soul, and mind into teaching them the will of God for their salvation.

It was inspiring, reading of a man who gave himself to God's Word and wanted to proclaim it as accurately and clearly as possible. I'd like to go read some of his sermons, when I get the chance.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an incredible book! Calling for our preachers to stand firmly in Biblical exposition to relate the Word of God to His people - rather than the bringing the philosophies and redefining the Word to fit these.

The missing star is mainly for the obligatory transitional phrases that seemed to be more filler than necessary in some areas.
Adam Packer
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting format that I was not expecting as I started the book. One of Reformation Trust's Long Line of Godly Men books, the focus on one characteristic of Calvin's ministry was rather eye opening. Seeing what went into just one message preached by this man was both encouraging and convicting. ...more
Julienne Wangle
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every Christian needs to read this book to know what a great preacher of the Word of God and the faith that he placed in the scripture.

Calvin was very well educated and lived a humble life totally dedicated to the Lord and the holy scriptures. IT was a great book to read.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was really surprised by this one. Chapter one is a brief biography, while the rest of the book is a walk through the segments of Calvin's sermons with an eye to how he used introductions, illustrations, applications, conclusions, etc. Excellent. ...more
Michael Locklear
This is an educating (re: Calvin's life and pastoral work), excellent (well-researched and written) and encouraging (to me, as a preacher and minister) book. I highly recommend this small, but prolific and inspiring book. Thank you, Dr. Lawson! ...more
Jesus Archuleta
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was such a delight to read. John Calvin was and still is a blessing to the church. Lawson puts his preaching into perspective and calls men today to follow the same path that the great John Calvin set forth in us.
Tim  Franks
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not much new here or very thorough study of John Calvin's life, but it still was enjoyable and helpful read focused on his preaching. I appreciate the author's push for expository and preaching with authority that is often missing in the world around us. I am thankful for the life and ministry of John Calvin, we are still reaping the benefits 500 years later! ...more
Tony Ross
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I learned a few things about John Calvin that I previously did not know. He earned a Master's degree at the age of 17. He protected the communion table against the libertines and he died quoting scripture. Quite the life. ...more
Joel Gass
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book really encourages the reader to pour everything into sermon prep. Thank You Steve Lawson!
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
[I listened to this on audiobook.] I would give the book 3.5 stars.
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Dr. Steven J. Lawson is the Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama, having served as a pastor in Arkansas and Alabama for the past twenty-nine years. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University (B.B.A.), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and Reformed Theological Seminary (D. Min.)

Other books in the series

A Long Line of Godly Men Profile (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards
  • The Mighty Weakness of John Knox
  • The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile)
  • The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther
  • The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts (A Long Line of Godly Men Profiles)
  • The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield
  • The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen
  • The Daring Mission of William Tyndale
  • The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile)
  • The Missionary Fellowship of William Carey (Long Line of Godly Men Profile)

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26 likes · 3 comments
“Expository preaching consists in the explanation and application of a passage of Scripture. Without explanation it is not expository; without application it is not preaching."32” 5 likes
“It is desperately essential in this hour that preachers recover a soaring vision of the supremacy of God. Life-changing, history-altering preaching will come only when pastors reclaim a high view of God's blazing holiness and are overshadowed by His absolute sovereignty. Towering thoughts of God's transcendent glory must captivate preachers' souls.” 3 likes
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