John Calvin was born on July 10, 1509, in Noyon, Picardy, France.
The second of five sons to Girard and Jeanne Cauvin, the young Calvin received a humanistic education through the influence of which he converted to Protestantism, despite what he would later describe as the obdurate attachment to papistical superstitions of his youth. Recognized as the Father of Reformed Theology, Calvin's most famous work, his Institutes of the Christian Religion, was among the first comprehensive statements of Protestant theology, growing from six chapters in the first edition (1536) to 79 chapters in four books in the final edition (1559). Calvin's teaching on the sovereignty of God, the doctrines of grace, and covenant theology found development and expansion in the Reformed confessions of the 16th and 17th centuries.
When he visited Geneva in 1536, Calvin was persuaded to help the struggling church there. Under his leadership, Geneva became a center of Reformed Protestantism, developing Presbyterian forms of government, worship, and discipline that would spread throughout Europe, the British Isles, and eventually in North America.