"The Small Catechism"

Information

The wrong choice will blow up in your face

 

Other Services

Catechism with a Digital Imagination is supported by, The Church Solution.
Catechism with a Digital Imagination is called to bring Christian teaching into your home.

The Church Solution also supports the Parenting In Christ Ministries. The goal of this ministry is to provide parents with ways and means of raising their children.

The Small Catechism with a
Digital Imagination

The Ten Commandments
The Lords Prayer
The Apostle's Creed
Baptism
Communion
Daily Prayers
Bible passages

The Ten Commandments:

God's Commandments:

In a simple way in which the head of a household is to present them to the household

The First Commandment as given by Christ Jesus.

You are to love God with your whole mind, your whole soul, and your whole body. The true First Commandment, given to us by Christ Jesus, was originally split into 3 sub-commandments.

The First Commandment as given to Moses:

You shall have no other gods besides me.

What is this?

Answer: We love and trust God in all things and above all things. We must also recognize that there is only one God and creating imaginary gods will limit our ability to love and trust God above all things. We cannot have two masters.

The Second Commandment as given to Moses:

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

What is this?

Answer: We must love and trust God in all things. Names have power, using any name is an attempt to control the individual with at name. Using God's name to obtain benefit at the expense of others is sinful, using God's name to cause harm to others is sinful, God's name must never be used with harmful intent. We must never curse or ask God to punish another person.

God's name must only be used in time of need to call on, pray to, praise, and give thanks to God.

The Third Commandment as given to Moses:

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.

What is this?

Answer: We must love and trust God so that we do not reject the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, by those whom he has called to teach and preach his Word, but instead keep that Word holy and gladly hear and learn it.

The Second Commandment as given by Christ Jesus.

You are to love your neighbor as you love yourself, also implying that you should love yourself. You are created in the image of God and are loved by God. If God finds you worthy of love then you should find yourself worthy of love.

The Second commandment was broken down into 7 sub-commandments.

The Fourth Commandment as given to Moses:

You are to honor your father and your mother.

What is this?

Answer: We must love and trust God in all things, so that we neither despise nor anger our parents and others in authority, but instead we must be the best person we can so our lives honor, serve, obey, love, and respect them.

The Fifth Commandment as given to Moses:

You shall not kill.

What is this?

Answer: We must love and trust God in all things, so that we neither endanger nor harm the lives of our neighbors, but instead help and support them in all of life’s needs.

The Sixth Commandment as given to Moses:

You shall not commit adultery.

What is this?

Answer: We must love and trust God in all things, so that we lead pure and decent lives in word and deed, and each of us loves and honors his or her spouse.

The Seventh Commandment as given to Moses:

You shall not steal.

What is this?

Answer: We must love and trust God in all things, so that we neither take our neighbors’ money or property nor acquire them by using shoddy merchandise or crooked deals, but instead help them to improve and protect their property and income.

The Eighth Commandment as given to Moses:

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What is this?

Answer: We must love and trust God in all things, so that we do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray, libel, or slander them, or destroy their reputations. Instead we are to come to their defense, speak well of them, and interpret everything they do in the best possible light.

The Ninth Commandment as given to Moses:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What is this?

Answer: We must love and trust God in all things, so that we do not try to defraud our neighbors out of their inheritance or property or try to get it for ourselves by claiming to have a legal right to it and the like, but instead be of help and service to them in keeping what is theirs.

The Tenth Commandment as given to Moses:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, cattle, or whatever is his.

What is this?

Answer: We must love and trust God in all things, so that we do not entice, force, or steal away from our neighbors their spouses, household workers, or livestock, but instead urge them to stay and fulfill their responsibilities to our neighbors.

What then does God say about all these commandments?

Answer: God says the following: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

What is this?

Answer: God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. God's punishment is to pull away from humanity, separating us from him. Therefore we are to fear his wrath and not disobey these commandments. However, God promises grace and every good thing to all those who keep these commandments. Therefore we also are to love and trust him and gladly act according to his commands.

Back to top

The Creed:

In a very simple way in which the head of a house
is to present it to the household

The First Article: On Creation

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

What is this? Answer:

I believe that God has created me together with all that exists. God has given me and still preserves my body and soul: eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties. In addition, God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and farm, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property—along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life. God protects me against all danger and shields and preserves me from all evil. And all this is done out of pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all! For all of this I owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.

The Second Article: On Redemption

And [I believe] in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. On the third day he rose [again]; he ascended into heaven, seated at the right hand of God, the almighty Father, from where he will come to judge the living and the dead.

What is this? Answer:

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father in eternity, and also a true human being, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned human being. He has purchased and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I may belong to him, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as he is risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally. This is most certainly true.

The Third Article: On Being Made Holy

I believe in the Holy Spirit, one holy Christian church, the community of the saints, forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the flesh, and eternal life. Amen.

What is this? Answer:

I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith. Daily in this Christian church the Holy Spirit abundantly forgives all sins—mine and those of all believers. On the Last Day the Holy Spirit will raise me and all the dead and will give to me and all believers in Christ eternal life. This is most certainly true.

Back to Top

The Lord’s Prayer:

In a very simple way in which the head of a house
is to present it to the household

Our Father, you who are in heaven.

What is this? Answer:

With these words God wants to entice us, so that we come to believe he is truly our Father and we are truly his children, in order that we may ask him boldly and with complete confidence, just as loving children ask their loving father.

The First Petition

May your name be hallowed.

What is this? Answer:

It is true that God’s name is holy in itself, but we ask in this prayer that it may also become holy in and among us.

How does this come about? Answer:

Whenever the Word of God is taught clearly and purely and we, as God’s children, also live holy lives according to it. To this end help us, dear Father in heaven! However, whoever teaches and lives otherwise than the Word of God teaches profanes the name of God among us. Preserve us from this, heavenly Father!

The Second Petition

May your kingdom come.

What is this? Answer:

In fact, God’s kingdom comes on its own without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also come to us.

How does this come about? Answer:

Whenever our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that through his grace we believe his Holy Word and live godly lives here in time and hereafter in eternity.

The Third Petition

May your will come about on earth as in heaven.

What is this? Answer:

In fact, God’s good and gracious will comes about without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also come about in and among us.

How does this come about? Answer:

Whenever God breaks and hinders every evil scheme and will—as are present in the will of the devil, the world, and our flesh—that would not allow us to hallow God’s name and would prevent the coming of his kingdom, and instead whenever God strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith until the end of our lives. This is his gracious and good will.

The Fourth Petition

Give us today our daily bread.

What is this? Answer:

In fact, God gives daily bread without our prayer, even to all evil people, but we ask in this prayer that God cause us to recognize what our daily bread is and to receive it with thanksgiving.

What then does “daily bread” mean? Answer:

Everything included in the necessities and nourishment for our bodies, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, fields, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

The Fifth Petition

And remit our debts, as we remit what our debtors owe.

What is this? Answer:

We ask in this prayer that our heavenly Father would not regard our sins nor deny these petitions on their account, for we are worthy of nothing for which we ask, nor have we earned it. Instead we ask that God would give us all things by grace, for we daily sin much and indeed deserve only punishment. So, on the other hand, we, too, truly want to forgive heartily and to do good gladly to those who sin against us.

The Sixth Petition

And lead us not into temptation.

What is this? Answer:

It is true that God tempts no one, but we ask in this prayer that God would preserve and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and our flesh may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice, and that, although we may be attacked by them, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.

Note: I prefer the translation "Protect us from calamity and affliction."

The Seventh Petition

But deliver us from evil.

What is this? Answer:

We ask in this prayer, as in a summary, that our Father in heaven may deliver us from all kinds of evil—affecting body or soul, property or reputation—and at last, when our final hour comes, may grant us a blessed end and take us by grace from this valley of tears to himself in heaven.

Amen.

What is this? Answer:

That I should be certain that such petitions are acceptable to and heard by our Father in heaven, for he himself commanded us to pray like this and has promised to hear us. “Amen, amen” means “Yes, yes, it is 
going to come about just like this.”

Back to top

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism:

In a simple way in which the head of a house
is to present it to the household

First

What is baptism? Answer:

Baptism is not simply plain water. Instead it is water enclosed in God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

What then is this Word of God? Answer:

Where our Lord Christ says in Matthew 28[:19*], “Go into all the world, teach all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Second

What gifts or benefits does baptism grant? Answer:

It brings about forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe it, as the words and promise of God declare.

What are these words and promise of God? Answer:

Where our Lord Christ says in Mark 16[:16*], “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be damned.”

Third

How can water do such great things? Answer:

Clearly the water does not do it, but the Word of God, which is with and alongside the water, and faith, which trusts this Word of God in the water. For without the Word of God the water is plain water and not a baptism, but with the Word of God it is a baptism, that is, a grace-filled water of life and a “bath of the new birth in the Holy Spirit,” as St. Paul says to Titus in chapter 3[:5–8*], “through the bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which he richly poured out over us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that through that very grace we may be righteous and heirs in hope of eternal life. This is surely most certainly true.”

Fourth

What then is the significance of such a baptism with water? Answer:

It signifies that the old creature in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned and die through daily contrition and repentance, and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written? Answer:

St. Paul says in Romans 6[:4*], “We were buried with Christ through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we, too, are to walk in a new life.”

How simple people are to be taught to confess

What is confession? Answer:

Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins. The other is that we receive the absolution, that is, forgiveness, from the confessor as from God himself and by no means doubt but firmly believe that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

Which sins is a person to confess?

Before God one is to acknowledge the guilt for all sins, even those of which we are not aware, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. However, before the confessor we are to confess only those sins of which we have knowledge and which trouble us.

Which sins are these?

Here reflect on your walk of life in light of the Ten Commandments: whether you are father, mother, son, daughter, master, mistress, servant; whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, lazy, whether you have harmed anyone by word or deed; whether you have stolen, neglected, wasted, or injured anything.

Please provide me with a brief form of confession! Answer:

You are to say to the confessor:

Honorable, dear sir, I ask you to listen to my confession and declare to me forgiveness for God’s sake.”

Proceed.”

I, a poor sinner, confess before God that I am guilty of all my sins. In particular I confess in your presence that although I am a manservant, maidservant, etc., I unfortunately serve my master unfaithfully, for in this and that instance I did not do what they told me; I made them angry and caused them to curse; I neglected to do my duty and allowed harm to occur. I have also spoken and acted impudently. I have quarreled with my equals; I have grumbled about and sworn at my mistress, etc. I am sorry for all this and ask for grace. I want to do better.”

A master or mistress may say the following:

In particular I confess to you that I have not faithfully cared for my child, the members of my household, my spouse to the glory of God. I have cursed, set a bad example with indecent words and deeds, done harm to my neighbors, spoken evil of them, overcharged them, and sold them inferior goods and shortchanged them,” and whatever else he or she has done against the commands of God and their walk of life, etc.

However, if some individuals do not find themselves burdened by these or greater sins, they are not to worry, nor are they to search for or invent further sins and thereby turn confession into torture. Instead mention one or two that you are aware of in the following way: “In particular I confess that I cursed once, likewise that one time I was inconsiderate in my speech, one time I neglected this or that, etc.” Let that be enough.

If you are aware of no sins at all (which is really quite unlikely), then do not mention any in particular, but instead receive forgiveness on the basis of the general confession, which you make to God in the presence of the confessor.

Thereupon the confessor is to say:

God be gracious to you and strengthen your faith. Amen.”

Let the confessor say [further]:

Do you also believe that my forgiveness is God’s forgiveness?”

[Answer:] “Yes, dear sir.”

Thereupon he may say:

“‘Let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And I by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ forgive you your sin in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Go in peace.”

A confessor, by using additional passages of Scripture, will in fact be able to comfort and encourage to faith those whose consciences are heavily burdened or who are distressed and under attack. This is only to be an ordinary form of confession for simple people.

Back to top

The Sacrament of the Altar:

In a simple way in which the head of a house

is to present it to the household

What is the Sacrament of the Altar? Answer:

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.

Where is this written? Answer:

The holy evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and St. Paul write thus:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night in which he was betrayed, took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, ‘Take; eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

In the same way he also took the cup after the supper, gave thanks, and gave it to them and said, ‘Take, and drink of it, all of you. This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ ”

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking? Answer:

The words “given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” show us that forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation are given to us in the sacrament through these words, because where there is forgiveness of sin, there is also life and salvation.

How can bodily eating and drinking do such a great thing? Answer:

Eating and drinking certainly do not do it, but rather the words that are recorded: “given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, when accompanied by the physical eating and drinking, are the essential thing in the sacrament, and whoever believes these very words has what they declare and state, namely, “forgiveness of sins.”

Who, then, receives this sacrament worthily? Answer:

Fasting and bodily preparation are in fact a fine external discipline, but a person who has faith in these words, “given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” is really worthy and well prepared. However, a person who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, because the words “for you” require truly believing hearts.

Back to top

How the head of the house is to teach the members
of the household to say morning and evening blessings

[The Morning Blessing]

In the morning, as soon as you get out of bed, you are to make the sign of the holy cross and say:

God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.”

Then, kneeling or standing, say the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you wish, you may in addition recite this little prayer as well:

I give thanks to you, my heavenly Father through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you that you would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please you completely. For into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.”

After singing a hymn perhaps (for example, one on the Ten Commandments) or whatever else may serve your devotion, you are to go to your work joyfully.

[The Evening Blessing]

In the evening, when you go to bed, you are to make the sign of the holy cross and say:

God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.”

Then, kneeling or standing, say the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you wish, you may in addition recite this little prayer as well:

I give thanks to you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously protected me today, and I ask you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously to protect me tonight. For into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.”

Then you are to go to sleep quickly and cheerfully.

How the head of the house is to teach members of the household
to offer blessing and thanksgiving at meals

[The table blessing]

The children and the members of the household are to come devoutly to the table, fold their hands, and recite:

The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy all living things with delight.”

Comment: “Delight” means that all animals receive enough to eat to make them joyful and of good cheer, because worry and greed prevent such delight.

Then they are to recite the Lord’s Prayer and the following prayer:

Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these your gifts, which we receive from your bountiful goodness through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Thanksgiving

Similarly, after eating they should in the same manner fold their hands and recite devoutly:

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is gracious and his goodness endures forever. He gives food to all flesh. He gives food to the cattle and to the young ravens that cry to him. He takes no pleasure in the power of the horse, nor is he pleased with human strength. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him and wait for his goodness.”

Then recite the Lord’s Prayer and the following prayer:

We give thanks to you, Lord God our Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord for all your benefits, you who live and reign forever. Amen.”

Back to top

The Household Chart of Some Bible Passages

for all kinds of holy orders and walks of life, through which they may be admonished, as through lessons particularly pertinent to their office and duty.

For Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers

A bishop is to be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, virtuous, moderate, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not vicious, not involved in dishonorable work, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not stingy, one who manages his own household well, who has obedient and honest children, not a recent convert, who holds to the Word that is certain and can teach, so that he may be strong enough to admonish with saving teaching and to refute those who contradict it. From 1 Timothy 3[:2–4*, 6a*].

Concerning Governing Authorities

Let everyone be subject to the governing authority. For wherever the governing authority is, it is ordered by God. But whoever resists the governing authority, resists God’s order, and whoever resists will incur judgment, for that authority does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s handmaid who executes punishment against those who do evil.” From Romans 13[:1–2*, 4b*].

For Husbands

You husbands, live reasonably with your wives and, as co-heirs of the grace of life, give honor to wives as to the [weakest] instrument, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” From 1 Peter 3[:7*]. “And do not be harsh with them.” From Colossians 3[:19*].

For Wives

Let wives be subjected to their husbands as to the Lord, as Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. And you have become her daughters, when you do right and are not so fearful. From 1 Peter 3[:1*, 6*].

For Parents

You fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, lest they become fearful. Instead, bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.” From Ephesians 6[:4*].

For Children

You children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment that has a promise, namely: ‘that it may go well for you and that you may live long on earth.’ ” From Ephesians 6[:1–3*].

For Male and Female Servants, Day Laborers, Workers, etc.

You servants, be obedient to your bodily lords with fear and trembling, with singleness of heart, as to Christ himself; not with service meant only for the eyes, done to please people, but rather as servants of Christ, so that you do the will of God from the heart [with a good will]. Imagine to yourselves that you are serving the Lord and not people, and know that whatever good anyone does, the same will that person receive, whether servant or free.”

For Masters and Mistresses

You lords, do the same to them, and refrain from making threats, and know that you also have a lord in heaven, and there is no partiality with him.” Ephesians 6[:9*].

For Young People in General

You young people, be subject to your elders and in this way show humility. For ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in his time.” From 1 Peter 5[:5–6*].

For Widows

She who is a real widow and is left all alone sets her hope on God and remains in prayer day and night; whereas she who lives self-indulgently is dead while alive.” From 1 Timothy 5[:5–6*].

For All in the Community

Love your neighbor as yourself. In this all the commandments are summarized.” From Romans 13[:9*]. “And entreat [God] with prayers for all people.” From 1 Timothy 2[:1*].

Let all their lessons learn with care,

So that the household well may fare.

Back to top

Robert Kolb et al., The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 351.