A Study of
Luther's Large Catechism
as found in Concordia: the Lutheran Confessions, A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord edited by Paul Timothy McCain, Second Edition, Concordia Publishing House, © 2006
Lord, Help Us Ever to Retain
By: Ludwig Helmbold
Lord, help us ever to retain
The Catechisms doctrine plain
As Luther taught the word of truth
In simple style to tender youth.
Help us your holy Law to learn,
To mourn our sin and from it turn
In faith to you and to your Son
And Holy Spirit, Three in One.
Hear us, dear Father, when we pray
For needed help from day to day
That as your children we may live,
Whom you baptized and so received.
Lord, when we fall or go astray,
Absolve and lift us up, we pray;
And through the Sacrament increase
Our faith till we depart in peace.
Hymn # 865 Lutheran Service Book
1st Published in: 1585
Read the “Editor’s Introduction to the Catechisms” (p. 309-312).
- Briefly consider the classroom routine in ancient and medieval times. Does this method show any advantages or disadvantages to the methods used in classes you may have recently had?
- List the 6 parts Luther included in his Catechism.
- What goals did Luther have in mind in writing the Small Catechism? In writing the Large Catechism? (p. 309).
- Understanding that Luther was, and Lutherans since have been, especially motivated to distinguish Law and Gospel in the teaching of the Christian faith, describe the significance of the order of things in Luther’s Catechisms. (p. 310)
- Luther’s words toward the bottom of page 310 describe the need for a catechism. Would Luther be impressed if he made a visit of churches today?
- Note how the timeline on page 312 fits into the more thorough timeline at about page xli and xlii. In rough terms, at what point in Luther’s career as a reformer did he publish his catechism?
Read the Preface in the Large Catechism pages 351 through the top of page 357, and answer the following questions.
- As you read Luther’s criticism of preachers and teachers on page 351, place these words in their historical context using the timeline on page 350. Note the following:
- The separation from the pope’s jurisdiction in the year ____________.
- Luther’s visitation of the church’s in the years ________________
- And the publishing of these words in the year ________________
- How would daily reading the catechism be an improvement over the burdensome babbling of the seven canonical hours of prayer? (p. 351, #3)
- How is the study of Christian doctrine different than the pursuit of other disciplines, such as math, where a student typically learns higher, more complex lessons at each session? (p. 353 and Mark 10:13-16)
- List some benefits to be expected from the daily reading or recitation of the catechism? (page 353, #10 and Psalm 1, esp. verse 2; Colossians 3:16; James 4:7
- Luther mentions Deuteronomy 6:7-8 (p. 354, #14). Look up the context of this passage:
- Deuteronomy 3:26-29: God would not let Moses go into the promised land with the rest of the Israelites.
- Deuteronomy 4:1-2: So Moses begins to preach his farewell sermon to the people. . .
- Deuteronomy 5:1-22: which included a review of the 10 Commandments
- In summary, what are the people of God to do with God’s Word?
- How does Luther sum up the Psalms (p. 354, #18)?
- In the “Short Preface” what does Luther require the head of the household to do (p. 356, #4)?
- Why does Luther believe those who do not know the catechism should be excluded from the sacraments? (see 1 Corinthians 11:26-28)
- How shall young people show that they have learned well the parts of the catechism (p. 358)?