John Calvin was born July 10th, 1509, in Noyon, Picardy. He was raised up in a staunch Roman Catholic family. Early in his life, Calvin’s father was employed by the local bishop as an administrator at the town’s cathedral. With this newly acquired job, John Calvin’s father wanted Calvin to be a priest. Due to the fact that his family had close ties with the bishop and his noble family, Calvin’s classmates in Noyon were aristocratic and culturally influential in his childhood.
At the age of fourteen, Calvin set off for Paris to study at the College de Marche. This helped him prepare for university study. At the College de Marche, he studied seven subjects: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. Towards the end of 1523, Calvin left College de Marche, and headed for the more well-known College Montaigu. While in Paris, he changed his name to the Latin form, Ioannis Calvinus, which in French, became Jean Calvin. During this period of his life, Calvin’s education thrived. It was fully paid for by income from several small parishes. Although new theological teachings of people such as Luther and Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples were spreading throughout Paris, Calvin was still a member of the Roman Catholic Church. However, by 1527, Calvin had made friends who were reform-minded. These new friends had impact on his switch over to the Reformed faith. Also, Calvin’s father requested that Calvin study law rather than theology.
By 1528, Calvin moved to Orleans. There, is where he would study civil law. During the next few years, Calvin would study in various places and under different teachers, as he developed a humanist education. In 1532, he finished his law studies and also got around to publishing his very first book, which ended up being a commentary on De Clementia by Seneca, who was a Roman philosopher at the time being. A year later, Calvin ran away from Paris. Reason being, his “friends” wrote papers and gave lectures opposing the Roman Catholic Church, which frightened Calvin.
For the next three or so years, John Calvin lived in several places outside of France. This included him using a dozen or so names; changing it from place to place he traveled. He traveled alone, studying by himself, preaching, and beginning work on the Institutes of the Christian Religion, which turned out to be an instant best seller. By 1536, he had stopped work in the Roman Catholic Church, and made plans to leave France for good. He planned on leaving France and heading over to Strasbourg. However, due to the war between Francis I and Charles V, Calvin decided to make a detour to Geneva.
Calvin was a huge success in Geneva. Farel, a reformer, invited him to stay in Geneva. Farel also threatened Calvin’s life with God’s anger if he chose not to stay. After deciding to stay in Geneva, thus began a long relationship with the city. Due to theological conflicts, Calvin was asked to leave the city, where he began as a lecturer and...