The Small Catechism of Martin Luther by Philip Hoppe

Pastor Philip Hoppe has made a very nice use of Prezi to introduce people to the Small Catechism. Any Lutheran will find handy uses for this with fellow church members, family, friends, online acquaintances, and others.

Transcript of The Small Catechism

The Small Catechism
A book of questions and answers that answers briefly the question, “What does the Bible teach?”
Written by Martin Luther because he found most people did not know the basics of the faith.
Written for fathers and pastors to teach their familes and flocks.
What is the Small Catechism?
Shows how God’s people are to live.
Reveals that we do not live as we should.
Leads us to despair of earning our own salvation.
Leaves us in need of a Savior outside of ourselves.
The Ten Commandments
Reveals to us our Savior God
Reveals to us that he is Triune, three persons in one God.
The Father creates, The Son redeems, The Holy Spirit sanctifies

The Creed
Teaches us about life with God.
Teaches us how to talk to our Heavenly Father.
Tells us what is important in this world and the next.
Teaches us how God first brings us the salvation Jesus won for us at the cross.
Reveals that our old man has been killed.
Reveals that a new man has been raised up to live a new life.
The Sacrament of
Holy Baptism
Reminds us what to do with the sins that continue after Baptism
Reminds us that pastors are given to us in order that forgiveness might be delivered to us so that we can live with a clear conscience.
Assures us that Christ comes to us in his Body and Blood
Reveals to us why weekly gathering to receive this gift is critical to faith.
Proclaims Christ’s death until He comes.
The Lord’s Supper
Daily Prayers
Asking a Blessing
Returning Thanks
Table of Duties
Pastor and People
Government and Citizens
Husbands and Wives
Parents and Children
Bosses and Employees
Christian Questions
with Their Answers
A series of questions that leads one through what the catechism has taught them about faith and life in preparation for receiving the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Prayer


HT, T.R. Halverson,

“From Heaven the Angel Troop Came Near”

luther from heaven

In Bethlehem, David’s town of old,
As Prophet Micah has foretold;
’Tis the Lord Jesus Christ, I wis,
Who of you all the Savior is.
And ye may well break out in mirth,
That God is one with you henceforth;
For he is born your flesh and blood—
Your brother is the eternal Good.
What can death do to you, or sin?
The true God is to you come in.
Let hell and Satan raging go—
The Son of God’s your comrade now.
He will nor can from you go hence;
Set you in him your confidence.
Let many battle on you make,
Defy them—he cannot forsake.
At last you must approval win,
For you are now of God’s own kin,
For this thank God, ever and aye,
Content and patient all the day. Amen


Martin Luther

Luther: diligently learn the Word of God

Luther Bibel

“You should diligently learn the Word of God and by no means imagine that you know it. Let him who is able to read take a psalm in the morning, or some other chapter of Scripture, and study it for a while. This is what I do. When I get up in the morning, I pray and recite the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer with the children, adding any one of the psalms. I do this only to keep myself well acquainted with these matters, and I do not want to let the mildew of the notion grow that I know them well enough. The devil is a greater rascal than you think he is. You do as yet not know what sort of fellow he is and what a desperate rogue you are. His definite design is to get you tired of the Word and in this way to draw you away from it. This is his aim.”

-Martin Luther (WA 32, 64f.).

Luther’s ‘Becoming’ Prayer


“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”

-Martin Luther

Luther’s Explanation to the Second Article

luther statue church

“He redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, bought and won me from all sins, from death and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with His holy and precious blood and with His innocent sufferings and death, in order that I may be His, live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns forever. This is most certainly true.”
-Martin Luther, Explanation to The Creed, Second Article

Martin Luther: Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio


ORATIO, MEDITATIO, TENTATIO (Prayer, Meditation, Testing): Luther’s teaching on the relation of prayer to theology from the preface to his Psalms commentary

Luther’s “Right Way to Study Theology”

I will show you a right way to study theology, which I myself have practiced, and, if you adhere to it, you too shall be so learned that, if need should arise, you will be able to write books that are as good as those of the fathers and councils, just as I may make bold to boast in God, without pride or deceit, that I would not acknowledge that some of the fathers had much on me when it comes to writing books, though I am far from being able to boast the same of my life. It is the way that King David teaches in Psalm 119 and which was without a doubt adhered to by all the patriarchs and prophets. There you will find three rules which are abundantly set forth in the whole psalm: oratio, meditatio, tentatio.

First, you must know that the Holy Scriptures is a book that makes foolishness of the wisdom of all other books, because none of them teaches eternal life, only this one alone. Therefore you must straightway despair of your own mind and reason, for you will not attain it by these. On the contrary, with such presumption you will cast yourself, and others with you, from heaven into the abyss of hell, as did Lucifer. Rather kneel down in your closet and pray to God in true humility and earnestness that through his dear Son he may grant you his Holy Spirit to enlighten, guide and give you understanding. You see how David in the above-mentioned psalm prays again and again: Teach me! O Lord, instruct me! Show me! and many other expressions like them. Even though he knew well the text of Moses and other books and heard and read them daily, he still desires the real Master of the Scriptures himself in order that he may not tackle them with his reason and make himself the master. For this produces those sectarians who allow themselves to think that the Scriptures are subject to them and easily mastered with their own reason, as if they were the fables of Markolf or Aesop, which require neither the Holy Spirit nor prayer.

Second, you should meditate, not only in your heart but also outwardly, repeating and comparing the actual, literal words in the book, reading and rereading them with careful attention and thought as to what the Holy Spirit means by them. And guard against being satiated or thinking that when you have read, heard, or said it once or twice you understand it fully; for this will never make an excellent theologian; it will be like immature fruit that falls before it is half ripe.

This is why in the psalm you see David constantly exulting that he would do nothing else, day and night and always, but speak, write, utter, sing, hear, and read God’s Word and commandments. For God will not give you his Spirit apart from the external word. Be guided accordingly, for it was not for nothing that he commanded that his Word should be outwardly written, preached, read, sung, and spoken.

Thirdly, there is trial (tentatio). This is the touchstone that teaches you not only to know and understand but also to experience how right, how true, how sweet, how lovely, how mighty, how comforting is God’s Word, wisdom above all wisdom. So you see why it is that David so often in this psalm laments concerning all the enemies, the wicked princes and tyrants, the lying and godless spirits, which he must suffer by reason of the very fact that he meditates, that he applies himself to God’s Word, as we have said. For as soon as God’s Word goes forth through you the devil will afflict you and make you a real doctor [of theology] and teach you by his temptations to seek and to love God’s Word. For I myself…must be very thankful to my papists for pummeling, pressing, and terrifying me; that is, for making me a fairly good theologian, for otherwise I would not have become one…

So there you have David’s rule. If you study well according to this example, you will also sing and praise with him in the words of the same psalm: “The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” “Thy commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep thy precepts.” And you will find how flat and moldy the books of the fathers will taste to you; you will not only despise the enemy’s books but the longer you go on the less will you be pleased with your own writing and teaching. When you have come to this point then you may confidently trust that you have begun to become a real theologian, who is able to teach not only young and imperfect Christians but also the advanced and mature; for Christ’s church has in it all kinds of Christians, young, old, weak, sick, sound, strong, fresh, lazy, simple, wise, etc.

Martin Luther, quoted in Minister’s Prayer Book, ed., by John W. Doberstein (pp. 287ff.)