Heidelcast Series: Caspar Olevianus On The Comfort Of The Covenant

Caspar Olevianus (1536–87) is not very well known today but he was one of the more significant figures in the history of Reformed theology and particularly in the development of Reformed covenant theology. He is best known as one of the Heidelberg theologians and pastors (1561–76) who contributed to the Heidelberg Catechism (1563). He was a Bible commentator (his Romans commentary alone runs to 700 pages), an educator who helped to found two schools, one in Heidelberg and one in Herborn, and contributor in the growth of Reformed covenant theology. His (untranslated) treatise, On the Substance of the Covenant of Grace Between God and the Elect is a major work. He was a churchman, a pastor, a scholar, husband, and father.


Heidelcast Series: Caspar On The Comfort of The Covenant (links are live when published)

  1. Heidelcast for August 25, 2024: Who was Caspar Olevianus?
  2. Heidelcast for September 04, 2024: What was Olevianus’ covenant theology?
  3. Heidelcast for September 11, 2024: Why does his covenant theology matter?
  4. Heidelcast for September 18, 2024: Why and When did he write Firm Foundation?
  5. Heidelcast for September 25, 2024: What are the spiritual benefits of a right understanding the covenant of grace?

Select Bibliography

Bierma, Lyle D. German Calvinism in the Confessional Age: The Covenant Theology of Caspar Olevianus. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996.

Bierma, Lyle D. “Lutheran-Reformed polemics in the late Reformation: Olevian’s proposal” in Derk Visser, ed. Controversy and Conciliation: The Reformation and the Palatinate, 1559–1583. Allison Park, PA.: Pickwick Publications, 1986.

Clark, R. Scott. A Historical, Theological, Pastoral Commentary On The Heidelberg Catechism. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2025.

Clark, R. Scott. Caspar Olevian and the Substance of the Covenant: The Double Benefit of Christ. Edinburgh: Rutherford House, 2005. Reprinted by Reformation Heritage Books in the Reformed Historical Theology series.

Clark, R. Scott. “God the Son and the Covenant of Grace: Caspar Olevianus On Eternal Generation, and the Substance of the Covenant of Grace,” in Credo Magazine volume 10.4 (November 29, 2020).

Clark, R. Scott. “Law and Gospel in Early Reformed Orthodoxy: Hermeneutical Conservatism in Olevianus’ Commentary on Romans,” in Jordan J. Ballor, David S. Sytsma and Jason Zuidema editors, Church and School in Early Modern Protestantism: Studies in Honor of Richard A. Muller on the Maturation of a Theological Tradition (Leiden: Brill, 2013).

Clark, R. Scott. “Olevianus and the Old Perspective on Paul: A Preliminary Report,” The Confessional Presbyterian 4 (2008): 15–26.

Clark, R. Scott. “The Authority of Reason in the Later Reformation: Scholasticism in Caspar Olevian and Antoine de la Faye” in Carl R. Trueman and R. Scott Clark, ed. Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment. Carlisle: Paternoster, 1999.

Clark, R. Scott. “The Catholic-Calvinist Trinitarianism of Caspar Olevian,” Westminster Theological Journal 61 (1999): 15–39.

Clark, R. Scott. “The Reception of Paul in Heidelberg: The Pauline Commentaries of Caspar Olevianus”in ed. R. Ward Holder, A Companion to Paul in the Reformation (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 297–318.

Mühling, Andreas. “Caspar Olevian und die Einführung des Heidelberger Katechismus” in Huijgen, Arnold, ed. The Spirituality of the Heidelberg Catechism: Papers of the International Conference on the Heidelberg Catechism Held in Apeldoorn 2013. Göttingen/Bristol, CN: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015.

Olevianus, Caspar. A Firm Foundation: An Aid to Interpreting the Heidelberg Catechism. Trans. Lyle D. Bierma. Carlisle, UK/Grand Rapids: Paternoster Press/Baker Books, 1995.

Olevianus, Caspar. An Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed, or, the Articles of the Faith, in Which the Main Points of the Gracious Eternal Covenant between God and Believers Are Briefly and Clearly Treated. Trans. Lyle Bierma. Classic Reformed Theology. Ed. R. Scott Clark. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2009.

Olevianus, Caspar. Expositio Symboli Apostolici, Sive Articulorum Fidei: In qua Summa Gratuiti Foederis Aeterni Inter Deum & Fideles Breviter & Perspicu Tractatur. Frankfurt: Apud Andream Wechelum, 1576.

Olevianus, Caspar. In Epistolam D. Pauli Apostoli Ad Romanos Notae, Ex Gasparis Oleviani Concionibus Excerptae, & Theodoro Beza Editae: Cum Praefatione Eiusdem Bezae. Genevae: Apud Eustathium Vignon, 1579.

Olevianus, Caspar. In Epistolas D. Pauli Apostoli Ad Philippenses & Colossenses. Genevae: Apud Eustathium Vignon, 1580.

Olevianus, Caspar. In Epistolam D. Pauli Apost. Ad Galatas Notae. Genevae: Apud Eustathium Vignon, 1578.

Olevianus, Caspar. De Substantia Foederis Gratuiti Inter Deum et Electos. Genevae: Apud Eustathium Vignon, 1585.

Olevianus, Caspar. De Inventione Dialecticae Liber Geneva: Excudebat Eustathius Vignon, 1583.

Sudhoff, Karl C. Olevianus Und Z. Ursinus: Leben Und Ausgewälhlte Schriften: Nach Handschriftlichen Und Gleichzeitigen Quellen. Elberfeld: R.L. Friderichs, 1857.

Woolsey, Andrew A. Unity and Continuity in Covenantal Thought: A Study in the Reformed Tradition to the Westminster Assembly. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012.

Heidelblog Resources

  1. Review: Caspar Olevianus, Exposition Of The Apostles’ Creed
  2. Olevianus: Lasting Reconciliation With God Through Covenant
  3. Olevianus: The Kingdom And Its Benefits
  4. Olevianus: Salvation Is Through Faith Alone Because Christ Is A Complete Savior
  5. Olevianus: Good Works Contribute Nothing To Our Justification But They Do Have Three Purposes
  6. Olevianus: The Reformed Retain The Distinction Between Law And Gospel
  7. Olevianus On The Second Commandment And Worshiping The True God
  8. Olevianus: The Gospel Is That Salvation Is Freely Given and Received Through Faith Alone
  9. Caspar Olevianus: Saved For Ministry
  10. How Olevianus Characterized The Kingdom Of God
  11. Olevianus On The Distinction Between Law And Gospel
  12. Caspar Olevianus Defines The Gospel
  13. On Olevianus, Calvin, History, and Union: Points 5 and 6–updated
  14. Olevianus on Law, Gospel, and Justification
  15. Caspar Olevianus on the “Law of Nature”
  16. Olevianus on Two Kinds of Holiness
  17. Caspar Olevianus on Church and Kingdom
  18. Caspar Olevianus on “Final Justification” and “Spirit-Wrought Sanctity”
  19. Union with Christ In Caspar Olevianus’ Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed
  20. Olevianus: Why Covenant Theology?
  21. Olevianus: Salvation Is By Grace Alone Or Jesus Is But Half A Savior
  22. Caspar Olevianus On The State Of Believers In The Judgment
  23. Olevianus On Moses As A Legal Covenant

Media (links are live when published)

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