Why Would Anyone Ever Want to Read the Catechism?

For many Christians, it might seem childish or “too easy” to read the catechism (the book that lays out the basics of the Christian faith.) This is the book that most people learn with while they’re still kids, after all, so once they finish it, why would they ever go back?

Well, Martin Luther wrote the Small and Large Catechisms, and here’s a great quote from him on why he even found it necessary to go back and read them often.

…For myself I say this: I am also a doctor and preacher; yes, as learned and experienced as all the people who have such assumptions and contentment. Yet I act as a child who is being taught the catechism. Every morning – and whenever I have time – I read and say, word for word, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, and such. I must still read and study them daily. Yet I cannot master the catechism as I wish. But I must remain a child and pupil of the catechism, and am glad to remain so….

Besides, catechism study is a most effective help against the devil, the world, the flesh, and all evil thoughts. It helps to be occupied with God’s Word, to speak it, and meditate on it, just as the first Psalm declares people blessed who meditate on God’s Law day and night (Psalm 1:2). Certainly you will not release a stronger incense or other repellent against the devil than to be engaged by God’s commandments and words, and speak, sing, or think them [Colossians 3:16]. For this is indeed the true “holy water” and “holy sign” from which the devil runs and by which he may be driven away [James 4:7].

Now, for this reason alone you ought gladly to read, speak, think, and use these things, even if you had no other profit and fruit from them than driving away the devil and evil thoughts by doing so. For he cannot hear or endure God’s Word. God’s Word is not like some other silly babbling… But as St. Paul says in Romans 1:16, it is “the power of God.” Yes indeed, it is the power of God that gives the devil burning pain and strengthens, comforts, and helps us beyond measure.

– Martin Luther – Preface to the Large Catechism (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions – A Readers’ Edition of the Book of Concord2nd ed. St. Louis: CPH, 2006. 353:7-8, 353-354:10-11)

Have you read the catechism lately?

HT: The Shepherd’s Study



5 thoughts on “Why Would Anyone Ever Want to Read the Catechism?

  1. Pr. Walters, what a great post! The Small Catechism is not a book to be read (or maybe looked at) during your 7th and 8th grade years and then tucked away on a book shelf for the rest of your life. If only our people truly knew the gem that they have in their hands.

  2. Pingback: A great read–“Why Would Anyone Ever Want to Read the Catechism?” | Rev. Tucher

  3. I hope you’ll permit me to share my warped sense of humor…

    I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw this: “Pastor Walters Has a Blog” followed by this: “Why Would Anyone Ever Want to Read the Catechism?”

    Thanks for the juxtaposition.

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