What is a catechism?
In 1 Corinthians 14:19 Paul says, "In the church I would
rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue."
In Galatians 6:6 he says, "Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches."
Acts 18:25 says that Apollos "has been instructed in the way of the Lord."
In each of these verses the Greek word for "instruct" or "teach" is katecheo. From this
word we get our English word "catechize". It simply means to teach Biblical truth in an orderly way. Generally this
is done with questions and answers accompanied by Biblical support and explanation.
Is there a Biblical pattern of doctrine?
Several texts teach that there is. For example,
in Romans 6:17 Paul gives thanks that "you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which
you were committed." 2 Timothy 1:13 says, "Follow the pattern of sound words which you heard from me."
Acts 2:42 says, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching." 2 Thessalonians 2:15 says, "Stand
firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us." And Acts 20:27 says, "I did not shrink from
declaring to you the whole counsel of God."
So it appears that there was a body
of authoritative instruction and even a way of teaching it in the early church.
Why is it important?
1) We are required to "continue
in the faith, stable and steadfast" (Col. 1:23).
We are urged to "attain to the unity of the... knowledge of the Son of God...so that we may no longer be children, tossed
to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:13-14).
There are many deceivers (1 John 2:26).
4) There are difficult
doctrines "which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16).
5) Leaders must be raised up who can "give instruction in sound doctrine
and also confute those who contradict it" (Titus 1:9).
How shall we begin?
Make them part of your family routine or just use them for yourself.
I am excited about being a partner with you in building a "stable and firm" generation who hopes in God.
The Heidelberg Catechism
Heidelberg Catechism (extended)
The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion
As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out)
Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated
in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer.
1. Lord's Day
1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a) am not my own, (b) but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus
Christ; (c) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d) and delivered me from all the
power of the devil; (e) and so preserves me (f) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall
from my head; (g) yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit,
He also assures me of eternal life, (i) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.
To continue reading this Catechism, please click on the link below labeled Heidelberg