Educated in Glasgow and possibly at St. Andrews, Knox received minor orders, set up as a notary in Haddington, and then became a private tutor, c. 1544. Soon afterwards he embraced the principles of the Reformation. After being taken prisoner by the French during their attack on St. Andrews, he made his way from France to England, where he served briefly as chaplain to Edward VI. Upon Queen Mary’s ascension, he fled to the continent, where he met and was influenced by John Calvin in Geneva, c. 1554.
Eventually returning to Scotland in 1559, Knox became a leader of the Reforming party, drew up the Scottish Confession, and was the main author of the Book of Common Order (1556-64), the Scottish service book.