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Review – Sermons on the Beatitudes – Banner of Truth

June 2007 | by John Cook

Sermons on the Beatitudes
John Calvin
Banner of Truth
128 pages; £9.00
ISBN: 0-85151-934-2


This is a modern translation by Robert White of five sermons preached by Calvin in Geneva in 1560 covering Matthew 5:1-2, Mark 3:13-19 and Luke 6:12-26.


The excellent introduction illuminates the historical and literary background and asserts that the Beatitudes reveal the characteristics of believers who are being changed into Christ’s likeness.


The first sermon (‘Called and chosen’) emphasises the sovereignty of Christ in the choice of his apostles and his purpose of preparing and authorising them to carry out their subsequent mission.


The second (‘Broken and blessed’) reveals the kind of life to which Jesus calls his disciples, describing the poor in spirit as ‘Those who, rightly humbled by the experience of affliction, have put aside pride and look to God alone for help’.


The third (‘Meekness and mercy’) teaches that although Jesus’ affirmation of blessedness seems strange, those who patiently and sincerely persevere in the faith experience God’s care.


The fourth (‘The price of peace’) links purity in heart with peace-making, emphasising that when ‘nothing is dearer to us than God’s truth’ we shall often be persecuted.


The fifth (‘The rejected recompensed’) proclaims that it is worth suffering for biblical truth, for it is ‘the key to our salvation, happiness and hope of glory’.


There are helpful examples of prayer related to the sermons, informative endnotes, and an index of scripture references. This well-researched book should benefit all readers by conveying the careful exposition that characterised Calvin’s preaching.


John Cook