Calvin Seerveld was raised by Christian parents, Letitia Elizabeth Van Tielen and Lester Benjamin Seerveld, in the rural village of West Sayville, on the south side of Long Island, New York. Bible reading was a mainstay in the home. Although literature and philosophy were his major areas of study, Seerveld has kept biblical theology as a supplemental hobby. He learned classical Greek at Calvin College and later studied the biblical Newer Testament under Oscar Cullmann at Basel Universität (1953-1954), where he learned Hebrew under Walter Baumgartner. Later he continued Older Testament studies under Gerhard von Rad in Heidelberg (1966-1967) and Hans-Joachim Kraus in München (1981).
Of special interest to Seerveld are the "wisdom literature" texts of the Older Testament, and the book of the Psalms. His original translation and oratorio arrangement (with cantor Ina Lohr) of The Song of Songs has been performed around the world. Currently he is busy with a performative translation of Ecclesiastes as a chorus of multiple voices. He served as a "poet" member of the committee that spent ten years developing a Psalter Hymnal for the Christian Reformed Church of North America (1977-1986), and has versified various psalms for Genevan tunes and sturdy Welsh melodies. Seerveld is particularly interested in biblical laments and has composed several Blues melodies for God's people, to balance their "praise songs."
Both Seerveld's professional studies and popular lectures have sought to explicate, both devoutly and playfully, a biblical wisdom for daily living. He has served as a Bible reader and lay exhorter in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. Earlier books with this cachet are Take Hold of God and Pull (1967, rev. ed. 1999), How to Read the Bible to Hear God Speak (1979, revised expanded ed. 2003), In the Fields of the Lord: A Seerveld reader (2000), Voicing God's Psalms (with CD, 2005), and a lecture-recital CD, The Gift of Genevan Psalmody for Today: Sprung from its historical context, with Stephanie Martin directing Pax Christi Chorale (2011).