The late Reformation scholar Heiko Oberman noted that during Calvin's Strasbourg period (1538-1541) he was convinced, given the groundwork laid by Martin Luther, that Protestant doctrine needed to lead to a "Protestant way of life." In short, "A Reformation of life had to follow the Reformation of doctrine." Calvin had already made clear in his dedicatory letter to King Francis I, written a few years earlier, that the purpose of his Institutes was to provide his readers with a basic instruction in the teachings of Christian faith so that they may be directed to true piety. Calvin's addition of this final chapter to the Institutes was his way to cast a vision for how a Christian life should be lived—in piety, that is, "directed to the right end of ordering his life well" (681).
For Calvin this "rightly ordered life" is always summed up in Christ. From the beginning of this chapter, Calvin told his readers, "We must resemble Him (Christ) because we are His." In other words, "His image ought to be represented in our life," because God "has also established us in Christ." Thus everything Calvin said in this chapter about the Christian life may be traced back to Christ, the ultimate "Example and model of whom we must conform" (682).