The Creed | The Lord’s Prayer | Baptism | Confession | Holy Communion | Download a One-Page Version of this catechism (put together by Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller)

The Ten Commandments

as the Head of the Family Should Teach Them in a Simple Way to His Household

The First Commandment
You shall have no other gods.
What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

The Second Commandment.
You shall not misuse the name of your God.
What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

The Third Commandment.
You shall sanctify the day of worship.

What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.

The Fourth Commandment.
You shall honor your father and your mother.

What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem.

The Fifth Commandment.
You shall not kill.

What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God that we may not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need.

The Sixth Commandment.
You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God that we may lead a chaste and decent life in words and deeds, and each love and honor his spouse.

The Seventh Commandment.
You shall not steal.

What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God that we may not take our neighbor’s money or property, nor get them by false ware or dealing, but help him to improve and protect his property and business.

The Eighth Commandment.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.

The Ninth Commandment.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God that we may not craftily seek to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, and obtain it by a show of right, etc., but help and be of service to him in keeping it.

The Tenth Commandment.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, servants, animals, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God that we may not estrange, force, or entice away our neighbor’s wife, servants, or cattle, but urge them to stay and do their duty.

What Does God Say of All These Commandments?
Answer: He says, “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
What does this mean?
Answer: God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything contrary to these commandments. But He promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him, and gladly do what He commands.

The Creed

The First Article.
Of Creation.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
What does this mean?
Answer: I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason and all my senses, and still looks after them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and everything I own. He richly and daily supplies me with everything I need to support this body and life. He shields me from all danger, and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does out of pure fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this I owe it to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

The Second Article.
Of Redemption.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
What does this mean?
Answer: I believe that Jesus Christ—true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary—is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, bought me, and won 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; in order that I may be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.

The Third Article.
Of Sanctification.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
What does this mean?
Answer: I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; just as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian Church, He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the last day He will raise me and all the dead and give everlasting life to me and to all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven.
What does this mean?
Answer: Here God tenderly urges us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that we may ask Him confidently and with full conviction, as dear children ask their dear father.

The First Petition.
Hallowed be Thy name.

What does this mean?
Answer: God’s name is certainly holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may become holy among us also.

How is this done?
Answer: When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we as the children of God also lead holy lives in accordance with it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches and lives in any other way than what God’s Word teaches defiles the name of God among us. Preserve us from this, Heavenly Father!

The Second Petition.
Thy kingdom come.

What does this mean?
Answer: The kingdom of God comes by itself even without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it would come to us also.

How is this done?
Answer: When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead a godly life here in time and there in eternity.

The Third Petition.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?
Answer: The good and gracious will of God is certainly done without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also.

How is this done?
Answer: When God breaks and hinders every evil counsel and intention which would not let us hallow the name of God nor let His kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our flesh; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until our end. This is His gracious and good will.

The Fourth Petition.
Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?
Answer: God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all evil people; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to recognise this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread?
Answer: Everything that belongs to the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, property, land, animals, money, goods, a devout spouse, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honour, good friends, faithful neighbours, and other such things.

The Fifth Petition.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean?
Answer: We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor refuse our petitions because of them; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them. Instead, we pray that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much, and we truly deserve nothing but punishment. In the same way, on our part, we will also sincerely forgive and willingly do good to those who sin against us.

The Sixth Petition.
And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?
Answer: God certainly tempts no one; but we pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and our flesh may not deceive or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice; and that, though they attack us, we would finally overcome and win the victory.

The Seventh Petition.
But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?
Answer: We pray in this petition, in summary, that our Father in heaven would deliver us from every kind of evil of body and soul, property and honour; and that finally, when our last hour comes, He would give us a blessed end and graciously take us from this valley of tears to Himself into heaven.

Amen.
What does this mean?
Answer: I should be certain that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven and that he hears them; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way, and has promised that He will hear us. “Amen, Amen,” that is, “Yes, yes, it shall be so.”

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

First.
What is Baptism?
Answer:
Baptism is not only plain water, but it is the water set in God’s command and joined to God’s Word.

Which is that word of God?
Answer: Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” [Matthew 28:19]

Secondly.
What is the gift or benefit of Baptism?
Answer:
It brings about forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Which are such words and promises of God?
Answer: Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” [Mark 16:16]


Thirdly.
How can water do such great things?
Answer:
Of course it is not the water that does them, but the word of God, which is in and with the water, and the faith that trusts this word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is just water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a water of life rich in grace, and a washing of new birth by the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says in Titus chapter three:

“He saved us … by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is most certainly true.” [Titus 3:5–8]

Fourthly.
What does such baptizing with water signify?
Answer:
It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily remorse and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new person should daily come forth and arise, to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?
Answer: St Paul says in Romans chapter six: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” [Romans 6:4]

How Christians should be taught to confess

What is Confession?
Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins. The other is that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, by no means doubting but firmly believing that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven.

What sins should we confess?
Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins. The other is that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, by no means doubting but firmly believing that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven.

Which are these?
Consider your place in life according to the Ten Commandments. Are you a father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife or servant? Have you been disobedient, unfaithful, lazy, angry, rude or quarrelsome? Have you hurt anyone by words or actions; have you have stolen, neglected or wasted anything, or done any harm?

Please give me a brief form of Confession

Answer: You should speak to the confessor thus:

Dear sir, I ask you to hear my confession and to pronounce forgiveness in accordance with God’s will.

I, a poor sinner, confess before God that I am guilty of all sins. In particular, I confess before you that I am a servant, a maid, etc. Alas, I serve my master unfaithfully; for in this and in that I have not done what they commanded me; I have provoked them, and caused them to curse, have been negligent and have allowed damage to be done. I have also been shameless in words and deeds, have quarrelled with my equals, have grumbled and sworn at my mistress, etc. For all this I am sorry, and I pray for grace. I want to do better.

A master or lady of the house may say this:

In particular I confess before you that I have not faithfully trained my children, servants and wife to honor God. I have cursed and set a bad example by rude words and deeds. I have done harm to my neighbor and spoken evil of him. I have overcharged, sold shoddy goods, and used false weights and measures.

The penitent should add anything else he has done against God’s commandments and his own position in life.

If anyone does not find himself burdened with these or greater sins, he should not trouble himself, searching for or inventing other sins. That would make confession a torture. Instead, he should mention one or two that he knows. For example: “In particular I confess that I have cursed, or that I have used obscene words, or that I have neglected this or that, etc.” Let this be enough.

But if you know of no sins at all (which is surely impossible), then mention none in particular, but receive forgiveness upon your general confession which you make before God to the confessor.

Then shall the confessor say: God be merciful to you and strengthen your faith. Amen.

Furthermore:

Do you believe that my forgiveness is God’s forgiveness?
Answer:
Yes, dear sir.

Then let him say: “Let it be done for you as you believe.* And by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you your sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Depart in peace.”

The confessor will know other passages of Scripture to comfort and encourage those
who have great burdens upon their consciences, or who are distressed and tempted.

This is only a general form of confession for ordinary people.

The Sacrament of the Altar

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, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.

Where is this written?
Answer:
The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul, write:
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: ‘Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.’

“In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying, ‘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. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ ”
[Matthew 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–24; Luke 22:19–20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–25]

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?
Answer:
These words, “Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins,” show us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?
Answer:
Indeed, it is not the eating and drinking that does them, but rather these words: “Given, and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” These words are the main thing in the Sacrament; and whoever believes these words has what they say, namely, the forgiveness of sins.


Who, then, receives such Sacrament worthily?
Answer:
Fasting and bodily preparation are indeed a fine outward discipline; but that person truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

But whoever does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and ill-prepared; for the words “For you” require nothing but believing hearts.

. . . . . . . . . .

This translation is by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England (2016).
Distributed under Creative Commons Licence CC BY-SA 4.0