Luther’s Small Catechism: With Explanation
“The deplorable, miserable conditions which I recently observed when visiting the parishes have constrained and pressed me to put this catechism of Christian doctrine into the brief, plain, and simple form. How pitiable, so help me God, were the things I saw: the common man, especially in the villages, knows practically nothing of Christian doctrine, and many of the pastors are almost entirely incompetent and unable to teach.”
Thus begins Martin Luther in his incomparable little guide to the Christian faith. His Small Catechism is simple enough to be understood by a child, yet challenging enough for the most mature Christian.
In his book, Luther outlines the basics of the Faith:
The Ten Commandments
The Lord’s Prayer
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
Confession (the Office of the Keys)
The Sacrament of the Altar
Luther also adds Daily Prayers, a Table of Duties, and Christian Questions with Their Answers.
This edition also contains more elaborate question and answers involving the six chief parts. Luther was at his finest as a theologian and a pastor when he penned his Small Catechism. It is a book not meant to be merely read, but continually reviewed, memorized, and taken to heart, where its doctrines deeply planted will transform the mind.