Heidelberg Catechism 1

I am facilitating a group of men studying the Bible using the Heidelberg Catechism.

To that end, I want, for each of the next 52 weeks, to post the text and a couple links to it. The catechism is organized as 52 Sunday sermons, Lord’s Days, the catechism calls them. Thus the 52 posts. Hopefully I can post them 52 weeks in a row and miss none. We shall see…

The Heidelberg Catechism was an early reformed Christian teaching document to train people and new believers in what they believe (1563). This is important because as people left the Roman Catholic church, believing the aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that did not align with Roman Catholic teaching, they needed to know what to believe and to be able to organize these beliefs systematically. The Heidelberg Catechism is such a Question & Answer device to accomplish this. There are 129 Questions & Answers divided into 52 Lord’s Days. The structure is such that it can be used each weekly Sunday in catechism time or from the pulpit once per year, every year, with just a few questions per week.

Image courtesy of the Heidelblog (accessed 2023-02-19)

What follows is the text of the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day #1, translated into English, hosted at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary.

Q1. What is your only comfort
in life and death?

A. That I am not my own,
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death,
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins
with his precious blood,
and has set me free
from all the power of the devil.
He also preserves me in such a way
that without the will of my heavenly Father
not a hair can fall from my head;
indeed, all things must work together
for my salvation.
Therefore, by his Holy Spirit
he also assures me
of eternal life
and makes me heartily willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

Q2. What do you need to know
in order to live and die
in the joy of this comfort?

A. First,
how great my sins and misery are;
how I am delivered
from all my sins and misery;
how I am to be thankful to God
for such deliverance.