A Catechism is a manual of Christian doctrine drawn up in the form of questions and answers, especially one for religious instruction. The first such manual was compiled by the English scholar Alcuin in the 8th century (source: Biblestudytools.com). Both in Europe and the New World, catechisms were the prime instrument of religious education for nearly 400 years. With the introduction of compulsory education in the 18th and 19th centuries, the main use of catechisms came to be for religious education in schools; the method of learning remained that of memorizing and reciting the text (source: religion-religions.com).
Q. Isn’t Catechism just a Roman Catholic thing?
A.No.There are many Catechisms, most correlate to a religion.Catechisms areinstruments for the transmission and explication of the faith.
In the course of my studies I came across this “First Catechism” written for children, but I still found pearls as I read and reflected (source: opc.org). I present this “First Catechism” as a tool you may deem necessary at some point in your studies.I suggest you read slowly and reflect before moving on to the next question.Some of the answers I reflected on for minutes, some for hours.
Why did God make you and all things? For his own glory.
How can you glorify God? By loving him and doing what he commands.
Why are you to glorify God? Because he made me and takes care of me.
Is there more than one true God? No. There is only one true God.
In how many Persons does this one God exist? In three Persons.
Name these three Persons. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
What is God? God is a Spirit and does not have a body like men.
Where is God? God is everywhere.
Can you see God? No. I cannot see God, but he always sees me.
Does God know all things? Yes. Nothing can be hidden from God.
Can God do all things? Yes. God can do all his holy will.
Where do you learn how to love and obey God? In the Bible alone.
Who wrote the Bible? Chosen men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Who were our first parents? Adam and Eve.
How did God create man? God created man, male and female, after his own image.
Of what were our first parents made? God made Adam's body out of the ground and Eve's body out of a rib from Adam.
What else did God give Adam and Eve besides bodies? He gave them souls that will last forever.
Do you have a soul as well as a body? Yes. And my soul is going to last forever.
How do you know your soul will last forever? Because the Bible tells me so.
In what condition did God make Adam and Eve? He made them holy and happy.
What covenant did God make with Adam? The covenant of life.
What is a covenant? A relationship that God establishes with us and guarantees by his word.
In the covenant of life, what did God require Adam to do? To obey God perfectly.
What did God promise in the covenant of life? To reward Adam with life if he obeyed God perfectly.
What did God threaten in the covenant of life?
To punish Adam with death if he disobeyed God.
Did Adam keep the covenant of life? No. He sinned against God.
What is sin? Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of, the law of God.
What is meant by lack of conformity? Not being or doing what God requires.
What is meant by transgression? Doing what God forbids.
What does every sin deserve? The wrath and curse of God.
What was the sin of our first parents? Eating the forbidden fruit.
Who tempted Adam and Eve to this sin? Satan tempted Eve first, and then he used her to tempt Adam.
How did Adam and Eve change when they sinned? Instead of being holy and happy, they became sinful and miserable.
Did Adam act for himself alone in the covenant of life? No. He represented the whole human race.
What effect did the sin of Adam have on all people? We are all born guilty and sinful.
How sinful are you by nature? I am corrupt in every part of my being.
What is the sinful nature that we inherit from Adam called? Original sin.
Can anyone go to heaven with this sinful nature? No. Our hearts must be changed before we can believe in Jesus and go to heaven.
What is this change of heart called? The new birth, or regeneration.
Who can change a sinner's heart? The Holy Spirit alone.
Can anyone be saved through the covenant of life? No. No one can be saved through the covenant of life.
Why can't anyone be saved through the covenant of life? Because all have broken it and are condemned by it.
How did you break the covenant of life? Adam represented all people, and so I fell with Adam in his first sin.
How, then, can you be saved? By the Lord Jesus Christ through the covenant of grace.
Whom did Christ represent in the covenant of grace? His elect people.
How did Christ fulfill the covenant of grace? Christ obeyed the whole law for his people, and then suffered the punishment due for their sins.
Did Jesus ever sin? No. He lived a sinless life.
How could Christ suffer? Christ, the Son of God, became a man so that he could obey and suffer in our place.
For whom did Christ obey and suffer? For all whom God the Father gave to Christ.
What kind of life did Christ live on earth? A life of obedience, service and suffering.
What kind of death did Jesus die? The painful and shameful death of the cross.
What is meant by the atonement? Christ satisfied God's justice by his suffering and death as a substitute for sinners.
What does God the Father guarantee in the covenant of grace? To justify and sanctify all those for whom Christ died.
How does God justify you? God forgives all my sins and accepts me as righteous through Christ.
How does God sanctify you? God makes me more and more holy in heart and conduct.
What must you do to be saved? I must repent of my sin and believe in Christ as my Savior.
How do you repent of your sin? I must be sorry for my sin, and hate and forsake it.
Why must you hate and forsake your sin? Because sin displeases God.
What does it mean to believe in Christ? To trust in Christ alone for my salvation.
Can you repent and believe in Christ by your own power? No. I cannot repent and believe unless the Holy Spirit changes my heart.
How can you get the help of the Holy Spirit? God has told us to pray for the Holy Spirit's help.
How long ago did Christ die? About two thousand years ago.
How were sinners saved before Christ came? By believing in the promised Messiah.
Before Christ came, how did believers show their faith? By offering the sacrifices God required.
What did these sacrifices represent? Christ, the Lamb of God, who would come to die for sinners.
How many offices does Christ fulfill as the promised Messiah? Christ fulfills three offices.
What are they? The offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king.
How is Christ your prophet? Christ teaches me the will of God.
How is Christ your priest? Christ died for my sins and continues to pray for me.
How is Christ your king? Christ rules over me, the world and Satan, and he defends me.
Why do you need Christ as your prophet? Because I am ignorant by nature.
Why do you need Christ as your priest? Because I am guilty of breaking God's law.
Why do you need Christ as your king? Because I am weak and helpless.
How many commandments did God give on Mount Sinai? Ten commandments.
Why should we obey the Ten Commandments? Because God is our Creator, Savior and King.
What do the first four commandments teach? What it means to love and serve God.
What do the last six commandments teach? What it means to love and serve my neighbor.
What do the Ten Commandments teach? To love God with all my heart, and my neighbor as myself.
Who is your neighbor? Everybody is my neighbor.
Is God pleased with those who love and obey him? Yes. God says, "I love them that love me." (KJV)
Is God displeased with those who do not love and obey him? Yes. "God is angry with the wicked every day." (KJV)
What is the first commandment? The first commandment is "You shall have no other gods before Me." (NKJV)
What does the first commandment teach you? To worship the true God, and him only.
What is the second commandment? The second commandment is "You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." (NKJV)
What does the second commandment teach you? To worship God only as he commands, and not to worship God by using statues or pictures.
What is the third commandment? The third commandment is "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." (NKJV)
What does the third commandment teach you? To treat God's name, word and works with reverence.
What is the fourth commandment? The fourth commandment is "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." (NKJV)
What does the fourth commandment teach you? To work six days and keep the Sabbath day holy.
What day of the week is the Christian Sabbath? The first day of the week, called the Lord's Day.
Why is it called the Lord's Day? Because on that day the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
How should you keep the Lord's Day? I should rest from my daily work and faithfully worship God.
What is the fifth commandment? The fifth commandment is "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you." (NKJV)
What does the fifth commandment teach you? To love and obey my parents and all others that God appoints over me.
What is the sixth commandment? The sixth commandment is "You shall not murder." (NKJV)
What does the sixth commandment teach you? Not to take anyone's life unjustly and not to sin when I am angry.
What is the seventh commandment? The seventh commandment is "You shall not commit adultery." (NKJV)
What does the seventh commandment teach you? To be pure in heart, language and conduct, and to be faithful in marriage.
What is the eighth commandment? The eighth commandment is "You shall not steal." (NKJV)
What does the eighth commandment teach you? Not to take anything that belongs to someone else.
What is the ninth commandment? The ninth commandment is "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (NKJV)
What does the ninth commandment teach you? Never to lie, but to tell the truth at all times.
What is the tenth commandment? The tenth commandment is "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." (NKJV)
What does the tenth commandment teach you? To be content with whatever God chooses to give me.
Can you keep the Ten Commandments perfectly? No. Since the fall of Adam, the only One who has been able to do this is Jesus.
Of what use are the Ten Commandments to you? They teach me what is pleasing to God, and how much I need a Savior.
What is prayer? Prayer is praising God, giving thanks for all his blessings, and asking him for the things he has promised in the Bible.
In whose name should we pray? Only in the name of Christ.
What did Christ give us to teach us about prayer? The Lord's Prayer.
What is the Lord's Prayer? The Lord's Prayer is "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen." (KJV)
How many petitions are there in the Lord's Prayer? Six.
What is the first petition? The first petition is "Hallowed be thy name."
What does it mean to pray, "Hallowed be thy name"? We are asking God to help us and others to respect and honor him.
What is the second petition? The second petition is "Thy kingdom come."
What does it mean to pray, "Thy kingdom come"? We are asking God to bring more and more people to hear, believe and obey his gospel.
What is the third petition? The third petition is "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
What does it mean to pray, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"? We are asking God to make us able and willing to serve him on earth just as he is served in heaven.
What is the fourth petition? The fourth petition is "Give us this day our daily bread."
What does it mean to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread"? We are asking God to provide us with all that we really need.
What is the fifth petition? The fifth petition is "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
What does it mean to pray, "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors"? We are asking God to forgive our sins for Christ's sake, and to make us willing to forgive others.
What is the sixth petition? The sixth petition is "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
What does it mean to pray, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"? We are asking God to keep us from being tempted and to make us strong enough to resist when we are tempted.
How many sacraments are there? Two.
What are they? Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
Who appointed these sacraments? The Lord Jesus Christ.
Why did Christ appoint these sacraments? To distinguish his people from the world, and to comfort and strengthen them.
What sign is used in baptism? Washing with water.
What does this washing with water represent? That we are united to Christ and cleansed from sin by his blood.
Into whose name are we baptized? Into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Who are to be baptized? Believers and their children.
Why are we baptized even as little infants? Because God includes the children of believers in his covenant and marks them in baptism.
What did Jesus say about little children? "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
What does baptism call you to be? A true follower of Christ.
What sign is used in the Lord's Supper? Eating bread and drinking wine to remember the suffering and death of Jesus.
What does the bread represent? Christ's body sacrificed for our sins.
What does the wine represent? Christ's blood shed for our sins.
Who may rightly partake of the Lord's Supper? Those who repent of their sins, trust in Christ, live a godly life, and profess their faith before the Church.
Did Christ remain in the grave after his crucifixion? No. He rose bodily from the grave on the third day after his death.
Where is Christ now? In heaven, ruling his kingdom and interceding for us.
Will the Lord Jesus come again? Yes! He will return to judge the world on the last day.
What happens to believers when they die? Our bodies will return to the dust and our souls will go to be with the Lord forever.
What happens to unbelievers when they die? Their bodies will return to dust also, but their souls will go to hell.
What is hell? Hell is an awful place, where unbelievers are separated from God to suffer for their sins.
Will the bodies of all the dead be raised again? Yes. At the last day some will be raised to everlasting life and others to everlasting death.
What will God do to unbelievers at the last day? He will judge them, and condemn them to everlasting punishment in the lake of fire with Satan and his angels.
What will God do for believers at the last day? He will give them a home with him in the new heaven and the new earth.
What will the new heaven and the new earth be like? A glorious and happy place, where the saved will be with Jesus foreve