Heidelberg Catechism

The Heidelberg Catechism, the second of our doctrinal standards, was written in Heidelberg at the request of Elector Frederick III, ruler of the most influential German province, the Palatinate, from 1559 to 1576. This pious Christian prince commissioned Zacharias Ursinus, twenty-eight years of age and professor of theology at the Heidelberg University, and Caspar Olevianus, twenty-six years old and Frederick’s court preacher, to prepare a catechism for instructing the youth and for guiding pastors and teachers. Frederick obtained the advice and cooperation of the entire theological faculty in the preparation of the Catechism. The Heidelberg Catechism was adopted by a Synod in Heidelberg and published in German with a preface by Frederick III, dated January 19, 1563. A second and third German edition, each with some small additions, as well as a Latin translation were published in Heidelberg in the same year. The Catechism was soon divided into fifty-two sections, so that a section of the Catechism could be explained to the churches each Sunday of the year.

In the Netherlands this Heidelberg Catechism became generally and favourably known almost as soon as it came from the press, mainly through the efforts of Petrus Dathenus, who translated it into the Dutch language and added this translation to his Dutch rendering of the Genevan Psalter, which was published in 1566. In the same year Peter Gabriel set the example of explaining this catechism to his congregation at Amsterdam in his Sunday afternoon sermons. The National Synods of the sixteenth century adopted it as one of the doctrinal standards of the Reformed churches, requiring office-bearers to subscribe to it and ministers to explain it to the churches. These requirements were strongly emphasized by the great Synod of Dort in 1618-19.

The Heidelberg Catechism has been translated into many languages and is the most influential and the most generally accepted of the several catechisms of Reformation times.

Lord’s Day 1


What is your only comfort

in life and death?


That I am not my own,1

but belong with body and soul,

both in life and in death,2

to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.3

He has fully paid for all my sins

with his precious blood,4

and has set me free

from all the power of the devil.5

He also preserves me in such a way6

that without the will of my heavenly Father

not a hair can fall from my head;7

indeed, all things must work together

for my salvation.8

Therefore, by his Holy Spirit

he also assures me

of eternal life9

and makes me heartily willing and ready

from now on to live for him.10

1 1 Cor 6:19, 20.

2 Rom 14:7-9.

3 1 Cor 3:23; Tit 2:14.

4 1 Pet 1:18, 19; 1 Jn 1:7; 2:2.

5 Jn 8:34-36; Heb 2:14, 15; 1 Jn 3:8.

6 Jn 6:39, 40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess 3:3; 1 Pet 1:5.

7 Mt 10:29-31; Lk 21:16-18.

8 Rom 8:28.

9 Rom 8:15, 16; 2 Cor 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph 1:13, 14.

10 Rom 8:14.


What do you need to know

in order to live and die

in the joy of this comfort?



how great my sins and misery are;1


how I am delivered

from all my sins and misery;2


how I am to be thankful to God

for such deliverance.3

1 Rom 3:9, 10; 1 Jn 1:10.

2 Jn 17:3; Acts 4:12; 10:43.

3 Mt 5:16; Rom 6:13; Eph 5:8-10; 1 Pet 2:9, 10.

The First Part

Lord’s Day 2


From where do you know

your sins and misery?


From the law of God.1

1 Rom 3:20; 7:7-25.


What does God’s law require of us?


Christ teaches us this in a summary in Matthew 22:

You shall love the Lord your God

with all your heart

and with all your soul

and with all your mind.1

This is the great and first commandment.

And a second is like it:

You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

On these two commandments depend

all the Law and the Prophets.2

1 Deut 6:5.

2 Lev 19:18.


Can you keep all this perfectly?


No,1 I am inclined by nature

to hate God and my neighbour.2

1 Rom 3:10, 23; 1 Jn 1:8, 10.

2 Gen 6:5; 8:21; Jer 17:9; Rom 7:23; 8:7; Eph 2:3; Tit 3:3.

Lord’s Day 3


Did God, then, create man

so wicked and perverse?


No, on the contrary,

God created man good1 and in his image,2

that is, in true righteousness and holiness,3

so that he might rightly know God his Creator,4

heartily love him,

and live with him in eternal blessedness

to praise and glorify him.5

1 Gen 1:31.

2 Gen 1:26, 27.

3 Eph 4:24.

4 Col 3:10.

5 Ps 8.


From where, then, did man’s depraved nature come?


From the fall and disobedience of our first parents,

Adam and Eve, in Paradise,1

for there our nature became so corrupt2

that we are all conceived and born in sin.3

1 Gen 3.

2 Rom 5:12, 18, 19.

3 Ps 51:5.


But are we so corrupt

that we are totally unable to do any good

and inclined to all evil?


Yes,1 unless we are regenerated

by the Spirit of God.2

1 Gen 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; Is 53:6.

2 Jn 3:3-5.

Lord’s Day 4


But does not God do man an injustice

by requiring in his law

what man cannot do?



for God so created man

that he was able to do it.1

But man, at the instigation of the devil,2

in deliberate disobedience3

robbed himself and all his descendants

of these gifts.4

1 Gen 1:31.

2 Gen 3:13; Jn 8:44; 1 Tim 2:13, 14.

3 Gen 3:6.

4 Rom 5:12, 18, 19.


Will God allow such disobedience and apostasy

to go unpunished?


Certainly not.

He is terribly angry

with our original sin

as well as our actual sins.

Therefore he will punish them

by a just judgment

both now and eternally,1

as he has declared:2

Cursed be everyone

who does not abide by all things

written in the Book of the Law, and do them (Gal 3:10).

1 Gen 2:17; Ex 34:7; Ps 5:4-6; 7:11; Nahum 1:2; Rom 1:18; 5:12; Eph 5:6; Heb 9:27.

2 Deut 27:26.


But is God not also merciful?


God is indeed merciful,1

but he is also just.2

His justice requires

that sin committed

against the most high majesty of God

also be punished with the most severe,

that is, with everlasting,

punishment of body and soul.3

1 Ex 20:6; 34:6, 7; Ps 103:8, 9.

2 Ex 20:5; 34:7; Deut 7:9-11; Ps 5:4-6; Heb 10:30, 31.

3 Mt 25:45, 46.

The Second Part

Lord’s Day 5


Since, according to God’s righteous judgment

we deserve temporal and eternal punishment,

how can we escape this punishment

and be again received into favour?


God demands that his justice be satisfied.1

Therefore we must make full payment,

either by ourselves or through another.2

1 Ex 20:5; 23:7; Rom 2:1-11.

2 Is 53:11; Rom 8:3, 4.


Can we by ourselves make this payment?


Certainly not.

On the contrary, we daily increase our debt.1

1 Ps 130:3; Mt 6:12; Rom 2:4, 5.


Can any mere creature pay for us?



In the first place,

God will not punish another creature

for the sin which man has committed.1


no mere creature can sustain

the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin

and deliver others from it.2

1 Ezek 18:4, 20; Heb 2:14-18.

2 Ps 130:3; Nahum 1:6.


What kind of mediator and deliverer

must we seek?


One who is a true1 and righteous2 man,

and yet more powerful than all creatures;

that is, one who is at the same time true God.3

1 1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:17.

2 Is 53:9; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26.

3 Is 7:14; 9:6; Jer 23:6; Jn 1:1; Rom 8:3, 4.

Lord’s Day 6


Why must he be a true and righteous man?


He must be a true man

because the justice of God requires

that the same human nature which has sinned

should pay for sin.1

He must be a righteous man

because one who himself is a sinner

cannot pay for others.2

1 Rom 5:12, 15; 1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:14-16.

2 Heb 7:26, 27; 1 Pet 3:18.


Why must he at the same time be true God?


He must be true God

so that by the power of his divine nature1

he might bear in his human nature

the burden of God’s wrath,2

and might obtain for us

and restore to us

righteousness and life.3

1 Is 9:6.

2 Deut 4:24; Nahum 1:6; Ps 130:3.

3 Is 53:5, 11; Jn 3:16; 2 Cor 5:21.


But who is that Mediator

who at the same time is true God

and a true and righteous man?


Our Lord Jesus Christ,1

who became to us wisdom from God,

righteousness and sanctification

and redemption (1 Cor 1:30).

1 Mt 1:21-23; Lk 2:11; 1 Tim 2:5; 3:16.


From where do you know this?


From the holy gospel,

which God himself first revealed in Paradise.1

Later, he had it proclaimed

by the patriarchs2 and prophets,3

and foreshadowed

by the sacrifices and other ceremonies

of the law.4

Finally, he had it fulfilled

through his only Son.5

1 Gen 3:15.

2 Gen 12:3; 22:18; 49:10.

3 Is 53; Jer 23:5, 6; Mic 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Heb 1:1.

4 Lev 1-7; Jn 5:46; Heb 10:1-10.

5 Rom 10:4; Gal 4:4, 5; Col 2:17.

Lord’s Day 7


Are all men, then, saved by Christ

just as they perished through Adam?



Only those are saved

who by a true faith

are grafted into Christ

and accept all his benefits.1

1 Mt 7:14; Jn 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; Rom 11:16-21.


What is true faith?


True faith is a sure knowledge

whereby I accept as true

all that God has revealed to us in his Word.1

At the same time it is a firm confidence2

that not only to others, but also to me,3

God has granted forgiveness of sins,

everlasting righteousness, and salvation,4

out of mere grace,

only for the sake of Christ’s merits.5

This faith the Holy Spirit works in my heart

by the gospel.6

1 Jn 17:3, 17; Heb 11:1-3; Jas 2:19.

2 Rom 4:18-21; 5:1; 10:10; Heb 4:16.

3 Gal 2:20.

4 Rom 1:17; Heb 10:10.

5 Rom 3:20-26; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-10.

6 Acts 16:14; Rom 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor 1:21.


What, then, must a Christian believe?


All that is promised us in the gospel,1

which the articles of our

catholic and undoubted Christian faith

teach us in a summary.

1 Mt 28:19; Jn 20:30, 31.


What are these articles?

I believe in God the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only-begotten Son, our Lord;
he was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary;
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he arose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand
of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge
the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
I believe a holy catholic Christian church,
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.

Lord’s Day 8


How are these articles divided?


Into three parts:

the first is about God the Father and our creation;

the second about God the Son and our redemption;

the third about God the Holy Spirit

and our sanctification.


Since there is only one God,1

why do you speak of three persons,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?


Because God has so revealed himself in his Word2

that these three distinct persons

are the one, true, eternal God.

1 Deut 6:4; Is 44:6; 45:5; 1 Cor 8:4, 6.

2 Gen 1:2, 3; Is 61:1; 63:8-10; Mt 3:16, 17; 28:18, 19; Lk 4:18; Jn 14:26; 15:26; 2 Cor 13:14; Gal 4:6; Tit 3:5, 6.

God the Father and our Creation

Lord’s Day 9


What do you believe when you say:

I believe in God the Father almighty,

Creator of heaven and earth?


That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who out of nothing created heaven and earth

and all that is in them,1

and who still upholds and governs them

by his eternal counsel and providence,2

is, for the sake of Christ his Son,

my God and my Father.3

In him I trust so completely

as to have no doubt

that he will provide me

with all things necessary for body and soul,4

and will also turn to my good

whatever adversity he sends me

in this life of sorrow.5

He is able to do so as almighty God,6

and willing also as a faithful Father.7

1 Gen 1 and 2; Ex 20:11; Job 38 and 39; Ps 33:6; Is 44:24; Acts 4:24; 14:15.

2 Ps 104:27-30; Mt 6:30; 10:29; Eph 1:11.

3 Jn 1:12, 13; Rom 8:15, 16; Gal 4:4-7; Eph 1:5.

4 Ps 55:22; Mt 6:25, 26; Lk 12:22-31.

5 Rom 8:28.

6 Gen 18:14; Rom 8:31-39.

7 Mt 6:32, 33; 7:9-11.

Lord’s Day 10


What do you understand by the providence of God?


God’s providence is

his almighty and ever present power,1

whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds

heaven and earth and all creatures,2

and so governs them that

leaf and blade,

rain and drought,

fruitful and barren years,

food and drink,

health and sickness,

riches and poverty,3

indeed, all things,

come to us not by chance4

but by his fatherly hand.5

1 Jer 23:23, 24; Acts 17:24-28.

2 Heb 1:3.

3 Jer 5:24; Acts 14:15-17; Jn 9:3; Prov 22:2.

4 Prov 16:33.

5 Mt 10:29.


What does it benefit us to know

that God has created all things

and still upholds them by his providence?


We can be patient in adversity,1

thankful in prosperity,2

and with a view to the future

we can have a firm confidence

in our faithful God and Father

that no creature shall separate us

from his love;3

for all creatures are so completely in his hand

that without his will

they cannot so much as move.4

1 Job 1:21, 22; Ps 39:10; Jas 1:3.

2 Deut 8:10; 1 Thess 5:18.

3 Ps 55:22; Rom 5:3-5; 8:38, 39.

4 Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov 21:1; Acts 17:24-28.

God the Son and our Redemption

Lord’s Day 11


Why is the Son of God called Jesus,

that is, Saviour?


Because he saves us from all our sins,1

and because salvation is not to be sought or found

in anyone else.2

1 Mt 1:21; Heb 7:25.

2 Is 43:11; Jn 15:4, 5; Acts 4:11, 12; 1 Tim 2:5.


Do those who seek

their salvation or well-being

in saints, in themselves, or anywhere else,

also believe in the only Saviour Jesus?



Though they boast of him in words,

they in fact deny the only Saviour Jesus.1

For one of two things must be true:

either Jesus is not a complete Saviour,

or those who by true faith accept this Saviour

must find in him all that is necessary

for their salvation.2

1 1 Cor 1:12, 13; Gal 5:4.

2 Col 1:19, 20; 2:10; 1 Jn 1:7.

Lord’s Day 12


Why is he called Christ,

that is, Anointed?


Because he has been ordained by God the Father,

and anointed with the Holy Spirit,1 to be

our chief Prophet and Teacher,2

who has fully revealed to us

the secret counsel and will of God

concerning our redemption;3

our only High Priest,4

who by the one sacrifice of his body

has redeemed us,5

and who continually intercedes for us

before the Father;6

and our eternal King,7

who governs us by his Word and Spirit,

and who defends and preserves us

in the redemption obtained for us.8

1 Ps 45:7 (Heb 1:9); Is 61:1 (Lk 4:18); Lk 3:21, 22.

2 Deut 18:15 (Acts 3:22).

3 Jn 1:18; 15:15.

4 Ps 110:4 (Heb 7:17).

5 Heb 9:12; 10:11-14.

6 Rom 8:34; Heb 9:24; 1 Jn 2:1.

7 Zech 9:9 (Mt 21:5); Lk 1:33.

8 Mt 28:18-20; Jn 10:28; Rev 12:10, 11.


Why are you called a Christian?


Because I am a member of Christ by faith1

and thus share in his anointing,2

so that I may

as prophet confess his name,3

as priest present myself

a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him,4

and as king fight with a free and good conscience

against sin and the devil in this life,5

and hereafter reign with him eternally

over all creatures.6

1 1 Cor 12:12-27.

2 Joel 2:28 (Acts 2:17); 1 Jn 2:27.

3 Mt 10:32; Rom 10:9, 10; Heb 13:15.

4 Rom 12:1; 1 Pet 2:5, 9.

5 Gal 5:16, 17; Eph 6:11; 1 Tim 1:18, 19.

6 Mt 25:34; 2 Tim 2:12.

Lord’s Day 13


Why is he called God’s only-begotten Son,

since we also are children of God?


Because Christ alone

is the eternal, natural Son of God.1

We, however, are children of God by adoption,

through grace, for Christ’s sake.2

1 Jn 1:1-3, 14, 18; 3:16; Rom 8:32; Heb 1; 1 Jn 4:9.

2 Jn 1:12; Rom 8:14-17; Gal 4:6; Eph 1:5, 6.


Why do you call him our Lord?


Because he has ransomed us,

body and soul,1

from all our sins,

not with silver or gold

but with his precious blood,2

and has freed us

from all the power of the devil

to make us his own possession.3

1 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Tim 2:5, 6.

2 1 Pet 1:18, 19.

3 Col 1:13, 14; Heb 2:14, 15.

Lord’s Day 14


What do you confess when you say:

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary?


The eternal Son of God,

who is and remains true and eternal God,1

took upon himself true human nature

from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary,2

through the working of the Holy Spirit.3

Thus he is also the true seed of David,4

and like his brothers in every respect,5

yet without sin.6

1 Jn 1:1; 10:30-36; Rom 1:3; 9:5; Col 1:15-17; 1 Jn 5:20.

2 Mt 1:18-23; Jn 1:14; Gal 4:4; Heb 2:14.

3 Lk 1:35.

4 2 Sam 7:12-16; Ps 132:11; Mt 1:1; Lk 1:32; Rom 1:3.

5 Phil 2:7; Heb 2:17.

6 Heb 4:15; 7:26, 27.


What benefit do you receive

from the holy conception and birth of Christ?


He is our Mediator,1

and with his innocence and perfect holiness

covers, in the sight of God,

my sin, in which I was conceived and born.2

1 1 Tim 2:5, 6; Heb 9:13-15.

2 Rom 8:3, 4; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 4:4, 5; 1 Pet 1:18, 19.

Lord’s Day 15


What do you confess when you say

that he suffered?


During all the time he lived on earth,

but especially at the end,

Christ bore in body and soul

the wrath of God against the sin

of the whole human race.1

Thus, by his suffering,

as the only atoning sacrifice,2

he has redeemed our body and soul

from everlasting damnation,3

and obtained for us

the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life.4

1 Is 53; 1 Tim 2:6; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:18.

2 Rom 3:25; 1 Cor 5:7; Eph 5:2; Heb 10:14; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10.

3 Rom 8:1-4; Gal 3:13; Col 1:13; Heb 9:12; 1 Pet 1:18, 19.

4 Jn 3:16; Rom 3:24-26; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 9:15.


Why did he suffer under Pontius Pilate as judge?


Though innocent, Christ was condemned

by an earthly judge,1

and so he freed us

from the severe judgment of God

that was to fall on us.2

1 Lk 23:13-24; Jn 19:4, 12-16.

2 Is 53:4, 5; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13.


Does it have a special meaning

that Christ was crucified

and did not die in a different way?



Thereby I am assured

that he took upon himself

the curse which lay on me,

for a crucified one

was cursed by God.1

1 Deut 21:23; Gal 3:13.

Lord’s Day 16


Why was it necessary for Christ

to humble himself even unto death?


Because of the justice and truth of God1

satisfaction for our sins

could be made in no other way

than by the death of the Son of God.2

1 Gen 2:17.

2 Rom 8:3; Phil 2:8; Heb 2:9, 14, 15.


Why was he buried?


His burial testified

that he had really died.1

1 Is 53:9; Jn 19:38-42; Acts 13:29; 1 Cor 15:3, 4.


Since Christ has died for us,

why do we still have to die?


Our death is not a payment for our sins,

but it puts an end to sin

and is an entrance into eternal life.1

1 Jn 5:24; Phil 1:21-23; 1 Thess 5:9, 10.


What further benefit do we receive

from Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross?


Through Christ’s death

our old nature is crucified,

put to death,

and buried with him,1

so that the evil desires of the flesh

may no longer reign in us,2

but that we may offer ourselves to him

as a sacrifice of thankfulness.3

1 Rom 6:5-11; Col 2:11, 12.

2 Rom 6:12-14.

3 Rom 12:1; Eph 5:1, 2.


Why is there added:

He descended into hell?


In my greatest sorrows and temptations

I may be assured and comforted

that my Lord Jesus Christ,

by his unspeakable anguish, pain, terror, and agony,

which he endured throughout all his sufferings1

but especially on the cross,

has delivered me

from the anguish and torment of hell.2

1 Ps 18:5, 6; 116:3; Mt 26:36-46; 27:45, 46; Heb 5:7-10.

2 Is 53.

Lord’s Day 17


How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us?



by his resurrection

he has overcome death,

so that he could make us share

in the righteousness

which he had obtained for us

by his death.1


by his power

we too are raised up

to a new life.2


Christ’s resurrection

is to us a sure pledge

of our glorious resurrection.3

1 Rom 4:25; 1 Cor 15:16-20; 1 Pet 1:3-5.

2 Rom 6:5-11; Eph 2:4-6; Col 3:1-4.

3 Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 15:12-23; Phil 3:20, 21.

Lord’s Day 18


What do you confess when you say,

he ascended into heaven?


That Christ,

before the eyes of his disciples,

was taken up from the earth into heaven,1

and that he is there for our benefit2

until he comes again

to judge the living and the dead.3

1 Mk 16:19; Lk 24:50, 51; Acts 1:9-11.

2 Rom 8:34; Heb 4:14; 7:23-25; 9:24.

3 Mt 24:30; Acts 1:11.


Is Christ, then, not with us

until the end of the world,

as he has promised us?1


Christ is true man and true God.

With respect to his human nature

he is no longer on earth,2

but with respect to

his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit

he is never absent from us.3

1 Mt 28:20.

2 Mt 26:11; Jn 16:28; 17:11; Acts 3:19-21; Heb 8:4.

3 Mt 28:18-20; Jn 14:16-19; 16:13.


But are the two natures in Christ

not separated from each other

if his human nature is not present

wherever his divinity is?


Not at all,

for his divinity has no limits

and is present everywhere.1

So it must follow that his divinity

is indeed beyond the human nature

which he has taken on

and nevertheless is within this human nature

and remains personally united with it.2

1 Jer 23:23, 24; Acts 7:48, 49.

2 Jn 1:14; 3:13; Col 2:9.


How does Christ’s ascension into heaven benefit us?



he is our Advocate in heaven

before his Father.1


we have our flesh in heaven

as a sure pledge that he, our Head,

will also take us, his members,

up to himself.2


he sends us his Spirit as a counter-pledge,3

by whose power we seek

the things that are above,

where Christ is,

seated at the right hand of God,

and not the things that are on earth.4

1 Rom 8:34; 1 Jn 2:1.

2 Jn 14:2; 17:24; Eph 2:4-6.

3 Jn 14:16; Acts 2:33; 2 Cor 1:21, 22; 5:5.

4 Col 3:1-4.

Lord’s Day 19


Why is it added,

and sits at the right hand of God?


Christ ascended into heaven

to manifest himself there

as Head of his church,1

through whom the Father governs all things.2

1 Eph 1:20-23; Col 1:18.

2 Mt 28:18; Jn 5:22, 23.


How does the glory of Christ, our Head, benefit us?



by his Holy Spirit

he pours out heavenly gifts

upon us, his members.1


by his power

he defends and preserves us

against all enemies.2

1 Acts 2:33; Eph 4:7-12.

2 Ps 2:9; 110:1, 2; Jn 10:27-30; Rev 19:11-16.


What comfort is it to you

that Christ will come to judge

the living and the dead?


In all my sorrow and persecution

I lift up my head

and eagerly await

as judge from heaven

the very same person

who before has submitted himself

to the judgment of God

for my sake,

and has removed all the curse from me.1

He will cast all his and my enemies

into everlasting condemnation,

but he will take me and all his chosen ones

to himself

into heavenly joy and glory.2

1 Lk 21:28; Rom 8:22-25; Phil 3:20,21; Tit 2:13, 14.

2 Mt 25:31-46; 1 Thess 4:16, 17; 2 Thess 1:6-10.

God the Holy Spirit and our Sanctification

Lord’s Day 20


What do you believe

concerning the Holy Spirit?



he is, together with the Father and the Son,

true and eternal God.1


he is also given to me,2

to make me by true faith

share in Christ and all his benefits,3

to comfort me,4

and to remain with me forever.5

1 Gen 1:1, 2; Mt 28:19; Acts 5:3, 4; 1 Cor 3:16.

2 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 1:21, 22; Gal 4:6; Eph 1:13.

3 Gal 3:14; 1 Pet 1:2.

4 Jn 15:26; Acts 9:31.

5 Jn 14:16, 17; 1 Pet 4:14.

Lord’s Day 21


What do you believe

concerning the holy catholic Christian church?


I believe that the Son of God,1

out of the whole human race,2

from the beginning of the world to its end,3

gathers, defends, and preserves for himself, 4

by his Spirit and Word,5

in the unity of the true faith,6

a church chosen to everlasting life.7

And I believe that I am8

and forever shall remain

a living member of it.9

1 Jn 10:11; Acts 20:28; Eph 4:11-13; Col 1:18.

2 Gen 26:4; Rev 5:9.

3 Is 59:21; 1 Cor 11:26.

4 Ps 129:1-5; Mt 16:18; Jn 10:28-30.

5 Rom 1:16; 10:14-17; Eph 5:26.

6 Acts 2:42-47; Eph 4:1-6.

7 Rom 8:29; Eph 1:3-14.

8 1 Jn 3:14, 19-21.

9 Ps 23:6; Jn 10:27, 28; 1 Cor 1:4-9; 1 Pet 1:3-5.


What do you understand by

the communion of saints?



that believers, all and everyone,

as members of Christ

have communion with him

and share in all his treasures and gifts.1


that everyone is duty-bound

to use his gifts

readily and cheerfully

for the benefit and well-being

of the other members.2

1 Rom 8:32; 1 Cor 6:17; 12:4-7, 12, 13; 1 Jn 1:3.

2 Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:20-27; 13:1-7; Phil 2:4-8.


What do you believe

concerning the forgiveness of sins?


I believe that God,

because of Christ’s satisfaction,

will no more remember

my sins,1

nor my sinful nature,

against which I have to struggle

all my life,2

but will graciously grant me

the righteousness of Christ,

that I may never come into condemnation.3

1 Ps 103:3, 4, 10, 12; Mic 7:18, 19; 2 Cor 5:18-21; 1 Jn 1:7; 2:2.

2 Rom 7:21-25.

3 Jn 3:17, 18; 5:24; Rom 8:1, 2.

Lord’s Day 22


What comfort does

the resurrection of the body

offer you?


Not only shall my soul

after this life

immediately be taken up

to Christ, my Head,1

but also this my flesh,

raised by the power of Christ,

shall be reunited with my soul

and made like Christ’s glorious body.2

1 Lk 16:22; 23:43; Phil 1:21-23.

2 Job 19:25, 26; 1 Cor 15:20, 42-46, 54; Phil 3:21; 1 Jn 3:2.


What comfort do you receive

from the article about

the life everlasting?


Since I now already

feel in my heart

the beginning of eternal joy,1

I shall after this life

possess perfect blessedness,

such as no eye has seen,

nor ear heard,

nor the heart of man conceived—

a blessedness in which to praise God forever.2

1 Jn 17:3; Rom 14:17; 2 Cor 5:2, 3.

2 Jn 17:24; 1 Cor 2:9.

Our Justification

Lord’s Day 23


But what does it help you

now that you believe all this?


In Christ I am righteous before God

and heir to life everlasting.1

1 Hab 2:4; Jn 3:36; Rom 1:17; 5:1, 2.


How are you righteous before God?


Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.1

Although my conscience accuses me

that I have grievously sinned

against all God’s commandments,

have never kept any of them,2

and am still inclined to all evil,3

yet God, without any merit of my own,4

out of mere grace,5

imputes to me

the perfect satisfaction,

righteousness, and holiness of Christ.6

He grants these to me

as if I had never had nor committed

any sin,

and as if I myself had accomplished

all the obedience

which Christ has rendered for me,7

if only I accept this gift

with a believing heart.8

1 Rom 3:21-28; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8, 9; Phil 3:8-11.

2 Rom 3:9, 10.

3 Rom 7:23.

4 Deut 9:6; Ezek 36:22; Tit 3:4, 5.

5 Rom 3:24; Eph 2:8.

6 Rom 4:3-5; 2 Cor 5:17-19; 1 Jn 2:1, 2.

7 Rom 4:24, 25; 2 Cor 5:21.

8 Jn 3:18; Acts 16:30, 31; Rom 3:22.


Why do you say

that you are righteous

only by faith?


Not that I am acceptable to God

on account of the worthiness

of my faith,

for only the satisfaction, righteousness,

and holiness of Christ

is my righteousness before God.1

I can receive this righteousness

and make it my own

by faith only.2

1 1 Cor 1:30, 31; 2:2.

2 Rom 10:10; 1 Jn 5:10-12.

Lord’s Day 24


But why can our good works not be

our righteousness before God,

or at least a part of it?


Because the righteousness

which can stand before God’s judgment

must be absolutely perfect

and in complete agreement

with the law of God,1

whereas even our best works in this life

are all imperfect and defiled with sin.2

1 Deut 27:26; Gal 3:10.

2 Is 64:6.


But do our good works earn nothing,

even though God promises to reward them

in this life and the next?1


This reward is not earned;

it is a gift of grace.2

1 Mt 5:12; Heb 11:6.

2 Lk 17:10; 2 Tim 4:7, 8.


Does this teaching not make people

careless and wicked?



It is impossible

that those grafted into Christ

by true faith

should not bring forth

fruits of thankfulness.1

1 Mt 7:18; Lk 6:43-45; Jn 15:5.

Word and Sacraments

Lord’s Day 25


Since then faith alone

makes us share in Christ and all his benefits,

where does this faith come from?


From the Holy Spirit,1

who works it in our hearts

by the preaching of the gospel,2

and strengthens it

by the use of the sacraments.3

1 Jn 3:5; 1 Cor 2:10-14; Eph 2:8; Phil 1:29.

2 Rom 10:17; 1 Pet 1:23-25.

3 Mt 28:19, 20; 1 Cor 10:16.


What are the sacraments?


The sacraments are holy, visible signs and seals.

They were instituted by God

so that by their use

he might the more fully declare and seal to us

the promise of the gospel.1

And this is the promise:

that God graciously grants us

forgiveness of sins and everlasting life

because of the one sacrifice of Christ

accomplished on the cross.2

1 Gen 17:11; Deut 30:6; Rom 4:11.

2 Mt 26:27, 28; Acts 2:38; Heb 10:10.


Are both the Word and the sacraments

then intended to focus our faith

on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross

as the only ground of our salvation?


Yes, indeed.

The Holy Spirit teaches us in the gospel

and assures us by the sacraments

that our entire salvation

rests on Christ’s one sacrifice for us

on the cross.1

1 Rom 6:3; 1 Cor 11:26; Gal 3:27.


How many sacraments

has Christ instituted in the new covenant?


Two: holy baptism and the holy supper.1

1 Mt 28:19, 20; 1 Cor 11:23-26.

Holy Baptism

Lord’s Day 26


How does holy baptism

signify and seal to you

that the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross

benefits you?


In this way:

Christ instituted this outward washing1

and with it gave the promise that,

as surely as water washes away

the dirt from the body,

so certainly his blood and Spirit

wash away the impurity of my soul,

that is, all my sins.2

1 Mt 28:19.

2 Mt 3:11; Mk 16:16; Jn 1:33; Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3, 4; 1 Pet 3:21.


What does it mean

to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit?


To be washed with Christ’s blood means

to receive forgiveness of sins from God,

through grace,

because of Christ’s blood,

poured out for us

in his sacrifice on the cross.1

To be washed with his Spirit means

to be renewed by the Holy Spirit

and sanctified to be members of Christ,

so that more and more

we become dead to sin

and lead a holy and blameless life.2

1 Ezek 36:25; Zech 13:1; Eph 1:7; Heb 12:24; 1 Pet 1:2; Rev 1:5; 7:14.

2 Jn 3:5-8; Rom 6:4; 1 Cor 6:11; Col 2:11, 12.


Where has Christ promised

that he will wash us with his blood and Spirit

as surely as we are washed

with the water of baptism?


In the institution of baptism, where he says:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father

and of the Son

and of the Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19).

Whoever believes and is baptized

will be saved,

but whoever does not believe

will be condemned (Mk 16:16).

This promise is repeated where Scripture calls baptism

the washing of regeneration and the washing away of sins

(Titus 3:5; Acts 22:16).

Lord’s Day 27


Does this outward washing with water

itself wash away sins?


No, only the blood of Jesus Christ

and the Holy Spirit

cleanse us from all sins.1

1 Mt 3:11; 1 Pet 3:21; 1 Jn 1:7.


Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism

the washing of regeneration

and the washing away of sins?


God speaks in this way for a good reason.

He wants to teach us

that the blood and Spirit of Christ

remove our sins

just as water takes away

dirt from the body.1

But, even more important,

he wants to assure us

by this divine pledge and sign

that we are

as truly cleansed from our sins spiritually

as we are bodily washed with water.2

1 1 Cor 6:11; Rev 1:5; 7:14.

2 Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3, 4; Gal 3:27.


Should infants, too, be baptized?



Infants as well as adults

belong to God’s covenant and congregation.1

Through Christ’s blood

the redemption from sin

and the Holy Spirit, who works faith,

are promised to them

no less than to adults.2

Therefore, by baptism, as sign of the covenant,

they must be incorporated into the Christian church

and distinguished from the children of unbelievers.3

This was done in the old covenant by circumcision,4

in place of which baptism was instituted

in the new covenant.5

1 Gen 17:7; Mt 19:14.

2 Ps 22:10; Is 44:1-3; Acts 2:38, 39; 16:31.

3 Acts 10:47; 1 Cor 7:14.

4 Gen 17:9-14.

5 Col 2:11-13.

The Lord’s Supper

Lord’s Day 28


How does the Lord’s supper

signify and seal to you

that you share in

Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross

and in all his gifts?


In this way:

Christ has commanded me and all believers

to eat of this broken bread

and drink of this cup

in remembrance of him.

With this command he gave these promises:1


as surely as I see with my eyes

the bread of the Lord broken for me

and the cup given to me,

so surely was his body offered for me

and his blood poured out for me

on the cross.


as surely as I receive

from the hand of the minister

and taste with my mouth

the bread and the cup of the Lord

as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood,

so surely does he himself

nourish and refresh my soul

to eternal life

with his crucified body and shed blood.

1 Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19, 20; 1 Cor 11:23-25.


What does it mean

to eat the crucified body of Christ

and to drink his shed blood?



to accept with a believing heart

all the suffering and the death of Christ,

and so receive

forgiveness of sins and life eternal.1


to be united more and more to his sacred body

through the Holy Spirit,

who lives both in Christ and in us.2

Therefore, although Christ is in heaven3

and we are on earth,

yet we are flesh of his flesh

and bone of his bones,4

and we forever live and are governed

by one Spirit,

as the members of our body are

by one soul.5

1 Jn 6:35, 40, 50-54.

2 Jn 6:55, 56; 1 Cor 12:13.

3 Acts 1:9-11; 3:21; 1 Cor 11:26; Col 3:1.

4 1 Cor 6:15, 17; Eph 5:29, 30; 1 Jn 4:13.

5 Jn 6:56-58; 15:1-6; Eph 4:15, 16; 1 Jn 3:24.


Where has Christ promised

that he will nourish and refresh believers

with his body and blood

as surely as

they eat of this broken bread

and drink of this cup?


In the institution of the Lord’s supper:

The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,

and when he had given thanks,

he broke it, and said,

This is my body which is for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying,

This cup is the new covenant in my blood.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,

you proclaim the Lords death

until he comes (1 Cor 11:23-26).

This promise is repeated by Paul where he says:

The cup of blessing that we bless,

is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?

The bread that we break,

is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

Because there is one bread,

we who are many are one body,

for we all partake of the one bread (1 Cor 10:16, 17).

Lord’s Day 29


Are then the bread and wine

changed into the real body and blood of Christ?



Just as the water of baptism

is not changed into the blood of Christ

and is not the washing away of sins itself

but is simply God’s sign and pledge,1

so also the bread in the Lord’s supper

does not become the body of Christ itself,2

although it is called Christ’s body3

in keeping with the nature and usage of sacraments.4

1 Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5.

2 Mt 26:26-29.

3 1 Cor 10:16, 17; 11:26-28.

4 Gen 17:10, 11; Ex 12:11, 13; 1 Cor 10:3, 4; 1 Pet 3:21.


Why then does Christ call the bread his body

and the cup his blood,

or the new covenant in his blood,

and why does Paul speak of a participation

in the body and blood of Christ?


Christ speaks in this way for a good reason:

He wants to teach us by his supper

that as bread and wine sustain us

in this temporal life,

so his crucified body and shed blood

are true food and drink for our souls

to eternal life.1

But, even more important,

he wants to assure us by this visible sign and pledge,


that through the working of the Holy Spirit

we share in his true body and blood

as surely as we receive with our mouth

these holy signs in remembrance of him,2

and, second,

that all his suffering and obedience

are as certainly ours

as if we personally

had suffered and paid for our sins.3

1 Jn 6:51, 55.

2 1 Cor 10:16, 17; 11:26.

3 Rom 6:5-11.

Lord’s Day 30


What difference is there

between the Lord’s supper and the papal mass?


The Lord’s supper testifies to us,


that we have complete forgiveness of all our sins

through the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ,

which he himself accomplished on the cross

once for all;1

and, second,

that through the Holy Spirit

we are grafted into Christ,2

who with his true body is now in heaven

at the right hand of the Father,3

and this is where he wants to be worshipped.4

But the mass teaches,


that the living and the dead

do not have forgiveness of sins

through the suffering of Christ

unless he is still offered for them daily

by the priests;

and, second,

that Christ is bodily present

in the form of bread and wine,

and there is to be worshipped.

Therefore the mass is basically

nothing but a denial

of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ,

and an accursed idolatry.

1 Mt 26:28; Jn 19:30; Heb 7:27; 9:12, 25, 26; 10:10-18.

2 1 Cor 6:17; 10:16, 17.

3 Jn 20:17; Acts 7:55, 56; Heb 1:3; 8:1.

4 Jn 4:21-24; Phil 3:20; Col 3:1; 1 Thess 1:10.


Who are to come

to the table of the Lord?


Those who are truly displeased with themselves

because of their sins

and yet trust that these are forgiven them

and that their remaining weakness is covered

by the suffering and death of Christ,

and who also desire more and more

to strengthen their faith

and amend their life.

But hypocrites and those who do not repent

eat and drink judgment upon themselves.1

1 1 Cor 10:19-22; 11:26-32.


Are those also to be admitted to the Lord’s supper

who by their confession and life

show that they are unbelieving and ungodly?


No, for then the covenant of God

would be profaned

and his wrath kindled

against the whole congregation.1


according to the command of Christ and his apostles,

the Christian church is duty-bound

to exclude such persons

by the keys of the kingdom of heaven,

until they amend their lives.

1 Ps 50:16; Is 1:11-17; 1 Cor 11:17-34.

Lord’s Day 31


What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven?


The preaching of the holy gospel

and church discipline.

By these two the kingdom of heaven

is opened to believers

and closed to unbelievers.1

1 Mt 16:19; Jn 20:21-23.


How is the kingdom of heaven

opened and closed

by the preaching of the gospel?


According to the command of Christ,

the kingdom of heaven is opened

when it is proclaimed and publicly testified

to each and every believer

that God has really forgiven

all their sins

for the sake of Christ’s merits,

as often as they by true faith

accept the promise of the gospel.

The kingdom of heaven is closed

when it is proclaimed and testified

to all unbelievers and hypocrites

that the wrath of God

and eternal condemnation

rest on them

as long as they do not repent.

According to this testimony of the gospel,

God will judge

both in this life

and in the life to come.1

1 Mt 16:19; Jn 3:31-36; 20:21-23.


How is the kingdom of heaven

closed and opened

by church discipline?


According to the command of Christ,

people who call themselves Christians

but show themselves to be un-christian

in doctrine or life

are first repeatedly admonished

in a brotherly manner.

If they do not give up

their errors or wickedness,

they are reported to the church,

that is, to the elders.

If they do not heed

also their admonitions,

they are forbidden the use of the sacraments,

and they are excluded by the elders

from the Christian congregation,

and by God himself

from the kingdom of Christ.1

They are again received

as members of Christ

and of the church

when they promise and show

real amendment.2

1 Mt 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:3-5; 11-13; 2 Thess 3:14, 15.

2 Lk 15:20-24; 2 Cor 2:6-11.

The Third Part

Lord’s Day 32


Since we have been delivered

from our misery

by grace alone through Christ,

without any merit of our own,

why must we yet do good works?


Because Christ,

having redeemed us by his blood,

also renews us by his Holy Spirit

to be his image,

so that with our whole life

we may show ourselves thankful to God

for his benefits,1

and he may be praised by us.2

Further, that we ourselves

may be assured of our faith

by its fruits,3

and that by our godly walk of life

we may win our neighbours for Christ.4

1 Rom 6:13; 12:1, 2; 1 Pet 2:5-10.

2 Mt 5:16; 1 Cor 6:19, 20.

3 Mt 7:17, 18; Gal 5:22-24; 2 Pet 1:10, 11.

4 Mt 5:14-16; Rom 14:17-19; 1 Pet 2:12; 3:1, 2.


Can those be saved

who do not turn to God

from their ungrateful and impenitent

walk of life?


By no means.

Scripture says that no unchaste person,

idolater, adulterer,

thief, greedy person,

drunkard, slanderer,

robber, or the like

shall inherit the kingdom of God.1

1 1 Cor 6:9, 10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5, 6; 1 Jn 3:14.

Lord’s Day 33


What is the true repentance or conversion of man?


It is the dying of the old nature

and the coming to life of the new.1

1 Rom 6:1-11; 1 Cor 5:7; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-10.


What is the dying of the old nature?


It is to grieve with heartfelt sorrow

that we have offended God by our sin,

and more and more to hate it

and flee from it.1

1 Ps 51:3, 4, 17; Joel 2:12, 13; Rom 8:12, 13; 2 Cor 7:10.


What is the coming to life

of the new nature?


It is a heartfelt joy

in God through Christ,1

and a love and delight

to live according to the will of God

in all good works.2

1 Ps 51:8, 12; Is 57:15; Rom 5:1; 14:17.

2 Rom 6:10, 11; Gal 2:20.


But what are good works?


Only those which are done

out of true faith,1

in accordance with the law of God,2

and to his glory,3

and not those based

on our own opinion

or on precepts of men.4

1 Jn 15:5; Rom 14:23; Heb 11:6.

2 Lev 18:4; 1 Sam 15:22; Eph 2:10.

3 1 Cor 10:31.

4 Deut 12:32; Is 29:13; Ezek 20:18, 19; Mt 15:7-9.

The Ten Words

Lord’s Day 34


What is the law of the LORD?


God spoke all these words:

I am the LORD your God,

who brought you out of the land of Egypt,

out of the house of slavery.


You shall have no other gods before me.


You shall not make for yourself a carved image

or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above

or that is in the earth beneath,

or that is in the water under the earth.

You shall not bow down to them or serve them,

for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God,

visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children

to the third and fourth generation

of those who hate me,

but showing steadfast love to thousands of those

who love me and keep my commandments.


You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain,

for the LORD will not hold him guiltless

who takes his name in vain.


Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Six days you shall labour, and do all your work,

but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.

On it you shall not do any work,

you, or your son, or your daughter,

your male servant, or your female servant,

or your livestock,

or the sojourner who is within your gates.

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them,

and rested on the seventh day.

Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day

and made it holy.


Honour your father and your mother,

that your days may be long

in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.


You shall not murder.


You shall not commit adultery.


You shall not steal.


You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.


You shall not covet your neighbours house;

you shall not covet your neighbours wife,

or his male servant, or his female servant,

or his ox, or his donkey,

or anything that is your neighbours.1

1 Ex 20:1-17; Deut 5:6-21.


How are these commandments divided?


Into two parts.

The first

teaches us how to live in relation to God;

the second,

what duties we owe our neighbour.1

1 Mt 22:37-40.


What does the LORD require

in the first commandment?


That for the sake of my very salvation

I avoid and flee

all idolatry,1 witchcraft, superstition,2

and prayer to saints or to other creatures.3


that I rightly come to know

the only true God,4

trust in him alone,5

submit to him

with all humility6 and patience,7

expect all good from him only,8

and love,9 fear,10 and honour him11

with all my heart.

In short,

that I forsake all creatures

rather than do the least thing

against his will.12

1 1 Cor 6:9, 10; 10:5-14; 1 Jn 5:21.

2 Lev 19:31; Deut 18:9-12.

3 Mt 4:10; Rev 19:10; 22:8, 9.

4 Jn 17:3.

5 Jer 17:5, 7.

6 1 Pet 5:5, 6.

7 Rom 5:3, 4; 1 Cor 10:10; Phil 2:14; Col 1:11; Heb 10:36.

8 Ps 104:27, 28; Is 45:7; Jas 1:17.

9 Deut 6:5 (Mt 22:37).

10 Deut 6:2; Ps 111:10; Prov 1:7; 9:10; Mt 10:28; 1 Pet 1:17.

11 Deut 6:13 (Mt 4:10); Deut 10:20.

12 Mt 5:29, 30; 10:37-39; Acts 5:29.


What is idolatry?


Idolatry is

having or inventing something

in which to put our trust

instead of, or in addition to,

the only true God

who has revealed himself in his Word.1

1 1 Chron 16:26; Gal 4:8, 9; Eph 5:5; Phil 3:19.

Lord’s Day 35


What does God require

in the second commandment?


We are not to make an image of God in any way,1

nor to worship him in any other manner

than he has commanded in his Word.2

1 Deut 4:15-19; Is 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom 1:23.

2 Lev 10:1-7; Deut 12:30; 1 Sam 15:22, 23; Mt 15:9; Jn 4:23, 24.


May we then not make

any image at all?


God cannot and may not

be visibly portrayed in any way.

Creatures may be portrayed,

but God forbids us

to make or have any images of them

in order to worship them

or to serve God through them.1

1 Ex 34:13, 14, 17; Num 33:52; 2 Kings 18:4, 5; Is 40:25.


But may images not be tolerated

in the churches

as “books for the laity”?


No, for we should not be wiser than God.

He wants his people to be taught

not by means of dumb images1

but by the living preaching of his Word.2

1 Jer 10:8; Hab 2:18-20.

2 Rom 10:14, 15, 17; 2 Tim 3:16, 17; 2 Pet 1:19.

Lord’s Day 36


What is required

in the third commandment?


We are not to blaspheme or to abuse the name of God

by cursing,1 perjury,2 or unnecessary oaths,3

nor to share in such horrible sins

by being silent bystanders.4

Rather, we must use the holy name of God

only with fear and reverence,5

so that we may rightly confess him,6

call upon him,7

and praise him in all our words and works.8

1 Lev 24:10-17.

2 Lev 19:12.

3 Mt 5:37; Jas 5:12.

4 Lev 5:1; Prov 29:24.

5 Ps 99:1-5; Is 45:23; Jer 4:2.

6 Mt 10:32, 33; Rom 10:9, 10.

7 Ps 50:14, 15; 1 Tim 2:8.

8 Rom 2:24; Col 3:17; 1 Tim 6:1.


Is the blaspheming of God’s name

by swearing and cursing

such a grievous sin

that God is angry also with those

who do not prevent and forbid it

as much as they can?


Certainly,1 for no sin is greater

or provokes God’s wrath more

than the blaspheming of his name.

That is why he commanded it to be punished

with death.2

1 Lev 5:1.

2 Lev 24:16.

Lord’s Day 37


But may we swear an oath

by the name of God

in a godly manner?


Yes, when the government demands it

of its subjects,

or when necessity requires it,

in order to maintain and promote

fidelity and truth,

to God’s glory and for our neighbour’s good.

Such oath-taking is based on God’s Word1

and was therefore rightly used

by saints in the Old and the New Testament.2

1 Deut 6:13; 10:20; Jer 4:1, 2; Heb 6:16.

2 Gen 21:24; 31:53; Josh 9:15; 1 Sam 24:22; 1 Kings 1:29, 30; Rom 1:9; 2 Cor 1:23.


May we also swear by saints

or other creatures?



A lawful oath is a calling upon God,

who alone knows the heart,

to bear witness to the truth,

and to punish me if I swear falsely.1

No creature is worthy of such honour.2

1 Rom 9:1; 2 Cor 1:23.

2 Mt 5:34-37; 23:16-22; Jas 5:12.

Lord’s Day 38


What does God require

in the fourth commandment?



that the ministry of the gospel and the schools

be maintained1

and that, especially on the day of rest,

I diligently attend the church of God2

to hear God’s Word,3

to use the sacraments,4

to call publicly upon the LORD,5

and to give Christian offerings for the poor.6


that all the days of my life

I rest from my evil works,

let the LORD work in me through his Holy Spirit,

and so begin in this life

the eternal Sabbath.7

1 Deut 6:4-9; 20-25; 1 Cor 9:13, 14; 2 Tim 2:2; 3:13-17; Tit 1:5.

2 Deut 12:5-12; Ps 40:9, 10; 68:26; Acts 2:42-47; Heb 10:23-25.

3 Rom 10:14-17; 1 Cor 14:26-33; 1 Tim 4:13.

4 1 Cor 11:23, 24.

5 Col 3:16; 1 Tim 2:1.

6 Ps 50:14; 1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 8 and 9.

7 Is 66:23; Heb 4:9-11.

Lord’s Day 39


What does God require

in the fifth commandment?


That I show all honour, love, and faithfulness

to my father and mother

and to all those in authority over me,

submit myself with due obedience

to their good instruction and discipline,1

and also have patience with their weaknesses

and shortcomings,2

since it is God’s will

to govern us by their hand.3

1 Ex 21:17; Prov 1:8; 4:1; Rom 13:1, 2; Eph 5:21, 22; 6:1-9; Col 3:18-4:1.

2 Prov 20:20; 23:22; 1 Pet 2:18.

3 Mt 22:21; Rom 13:1-8; Eph 6:1-9; Col 3:18-21.

Lord’s Day 40


What does God require

in the sixth commandment?


I am not to dishonour, hate, injure,

or kill my neighbour

by thoughts, words, or gestures,

and much less by deeds,

whether personally or through another;1

rather, I am to put away

all desire of revenge.2

Moreover, I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself.3

Therefore, also, the government bears the sword

to prevent murder.4

1 Gen 9:6; Lev 19:17, 18; Mt 5:21, 22; 26:52.

2 Prov 25:21, 22; Mt 18:35; Rom 12:19; Eph 4:26.

3 Mt 4:7; Rom 13:11-14.

4 Gen 9:6; Ex 21:14; Mt 26:52; Rom 13:4.


But does this commandment

speak only of killing?


By forbidding murder God teaches us

that he hates the root of murder,

such as envy, hatred, anger, and desire of revenge,1

and that he regards all these as murder.2

1 Prov 14:30; Rom 1:29; 12:19; Gal 5:19-21; Jas 1:20; 1 Jn 2:9-11.

2 1 Jn 3:15.


Is it enough, then,

that we do not kill our neighbour

in any such way?



When God condemns envy, hatred, and anger,

he commands us

to love our neighbour as ourselves,1

to show patience, peace, gentleness,

mercy, and friendliness toward him,2

to protect him from harm as much as we can,

and to do good even to our enemies.3

1 Mt 7:12; 22:39; Rom 12:10.

2 Mt 5:5; Lk 6:36; Rom 12:10, 18; Gal 6:1, 2; Eph 4:2; Col 3:12; 1 Pet 3:8.

3 Ex 23:4, 5; Mt 5:44, 45; Rom 12:20.

Lord’s Day 41


What does the seventh commandment teach us?


That all unchastity is cursed by God.1

We must therefore detest it from the heart2

and live chaste and disciplined lives,

both within and outside of holy marriage.3

1 Lev 18:30; Eph 5:3-5.

2 Jude 22, 23.

3 1 Cor 7:1-9; 1 Thess 4:3-8; Heb 13:4.


Does God in this commandment

forbid nothing more than adultery

and similar shameful sins?


Since we, body and soul,

are temples of the Holy Spirit,

it is God’s will

that we keep ourselves pure and holy.

Therefore he forbids all unchaste acts,

gestures, words, thoughts, desires,1

and whatever may entice us to unchastity.2

1 Mt 5:27-29; 1 Cor 6:18-20; Eph 5:3, 4.

2 1 Cor 15:33; Eph 5:18.

Lord’s Day 42


What does God forbid

in the eighth commandment?


God forbids not only outright theft and robbery1

but also such wicked schemes and devices as

false weights and measures,

deceptive merchandising,

counterfeit money,

and usury;2

we must not defraud our neighbour in any way,

whether by force or by show of right.3

In addition God forbids all greed4

and all abuse or squandering of his gifts.5

1 Ex 22:1; 1 Cor 5:9, 10; 6:9, 10.

2 Deut 25:13-16; Ps 15:5; Prov 11:1; 12:22; Ezek 45:9-12; Lk 6:35.

3 Mic 6:9-11; Lk 3:14; Jas 5:1-6.

4 Lk 12:15; Eph 5:5.

5 Prov 21:20; 23:20, 21; Lk 16:10-13.


What does God require of you

in this commandment?


I must promote my neighbour’s good

wherever I can and may,

deal with him

as I would like others to deal with me,

and work faithfully

so that I may be able to give

to those in need.1

1 Is 58:5-10; Mt 7:12; Gal 6:9, 10; Eph 4:28.

Lord’s Day 43


What is required

in the ninth commandment?


I must not give false testimony against anyone,

twist no one’s words,

not gossip or slander,

nor condemn or join in condemning anyone

rashly and unheard.1

Rather, I must avoid all lying and deceit

as the devil’s own works,

under penalty of God’s heavy wrath.2

In court and everywhere else,

I must love the truth,3

speak and confess it honestly,

and do what I can

to defend and promote

my neighbour’s honour and reputation.4

1 Ps 15; Prov 19:5, 9; 21:28; Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37; Rom 1:28-32.

2 Lev 19:11, 12; Prov 12:22; 13:5; Jn 8:44; Rev 21:8.

3 1 Cor 13:6; Eph 4:25.

4 1 Pet 3:8, 9; 4:8.

Lord’s Day 44


What does the tenth commandment

require of us?


That not even the slightest thought or desire

contrary to any of God’s commandments

should ever arise in our heart.

Rather, with all our heart

we should always hate all sin

and delight in all righteousness.1

1 Ps 19:7-14; 139:23, 24; Rom 7:7, 8.


But can those converted to God

keep these commandments perfectly?



In this life even the holiest

have only a small beginning

of this obedience.1

Nevertheless, with earnest purpose

they do begin to live

not only according to some

but to all the commandments of God.2

1 Eccles 7:20; Rom 7:14, 15; 1 Cor 13:9; 1 Jn 1:8.

2 Ps 1:1, 2; Rom 7:22-25; Phil 3:12-16.


If in this life no one

can keep the ten commandments perfectly,

why does God have them

preached so strictly?



so that throughout our life

we may more and more become aware of

our sinful nature,

and therefore seek more eagerly

the forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ.1


so that, while praying to God

for the grace of the Holy Spirit,

we may never stop striving

to be renewed more and more

after God’s image,

until after this life we reach

the goal of perfection.2

1 Ps 32:5; Rom 3:19-26; 7:7, 24, 25; 1 Jn 1:9.

2 1 Cor 9:24; Phil 3:12-14; 1 Jn 3:1-3.


Lord’s Day 45


Why is prayer necessary for Christians?


Because prayer is the most important part

of the thankfulness

which God requires of us.1

Moreover, God will give

his grace and the Holy Spirit

only to those who constantly

and with heartfelt longing

ask him for these gifts

and thank him for them.2

1 Ps 50:14, 15; 116:12-19; 1 Thess 5:16-18.

2 Mt 7:7, 8; Lk 11:9-13.


What belongs to a prayer

which pleases God

and is heard by him?



we must from the heart

call upon the one true God only,

who has revealed himself in his Word,

for all that he has commanded us to pray.1


we must thoroughly know

our need and misery,

so that we may humble ourselves

before God.2


we must rest on this firm foundation

that, although we do not deserve it,

God will certainly hear our prayer

for the sake of Christ our Lord,

as he has promised us in his Word.3

1 Ps 145:18-20; Jn 4:22-24; Rom 8:26, 27; Jas 1:5; 1 Jn 5:14, 15; Rev 19:10.

2 2 Chron 7:14; 20:12; Ps 2:11; 34:18; 62:8; Is 66:2; Rev 4.

3 Dan 9:17-19; Mt 7:8; Jn 14:13, 14; 16:23; Rom 10:13; Jas 1:6.


What has God commanded us

to ask of him?


All the things we need

for body and soul,1

as included in the prayer

which Christ our Lord himself taught us.

1 Mt 6:33; Jas 1:17.


What is the Lord’s prayer?


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.

For yours is the kingdom

and the power

and the glory, forever. Amen.1

1 Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4.

Lord’s Day 46


Why has Christ commanded us

to address God as our Father?


To awaken in us

at the very beginning of our prayer

that childlike reverence and trust

toward God

which should be basic to our prayer:

God has become our Father

through Christ

and will much less deny us

what we ask of him in faith

than our fathers would

refuse us earthly things.1

1 Mt 7:9-11; Lk 11:11-13.


Why is there added,

in heaven?


These words teach us

not to think of God’s heavenly majesty

in an earthly manner,1

and to expect from his almighty power

all things we need

for body and soul.2

1 Jer 23:23, 24; Acts 17:24, 25.

2 Mt 6:25-34; Rom 8:31, 32.

Lord’s Day 47


What is the first petition?


Hallowed be your name.

That is:

Grant us first of all

that we may rightly know you,1

and sanctify, glorify, and praise you

in all your works,

in which shine forth

your almighty power,

wisdom, goodness, righteousness,

mercy, and truth.2

Grant us also

that we may so direct our whole life—

our thoughts, words, and actions—

that your name is not blasphemed because of us

but always honoured and praised.3

1 Jer 9:23, 24; 31:33, 34; Mt 16:17; Jn 17:3.

2 Ex 34:5-8; Ps 145; Jer 32:16-20; Lk 1:46-55, 68-75; Rom 11:33-36.

3 Ps 115:1; Mt 5:16.

Lord’s Day 48


What is the second petition?


Your kingdom come.

That is:

So rule us by your Word and Spirit

that more and more we submit to you.1

Preserve and increase your church.2

Destroy the works of the devil,

every power that raises itself against you,

and every conspiracy against your holy Word.3

Do all this

until the fullness of your kingdom comes,

wherein you shall be all in all.4

1 Ps 119:5, 105; 143:10; Mt 6:33.

2 Ps 51:18; 122:6-9; Mt 16:18; Acts 2:42-47.

3 Rom 16:20; 1 Jn 3:8.

4 Rom 8:22, 23; 1 Cor 15:28; Rev 22: 17, 20.

Lord’s Day 49


What is the third petition?


Your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

That is:

Grant that we and all men

may deny our own will,

and without any murmuring

obey your will,

for it alone is good.1

Grant also that everyone

may carry out the duties

of his office and calling2

as willingly and faithfully

as the angels in heaven.3

1 Mt 7:21; 16:24-26; Lk 22:42; Rom 12:1, 2; Tit 2:11, 12.

2 1 Cor 7:17-24; Eph 6:5-9.

3 Ps 103:20, 21.

Lord’s Day 50


What is the fourth petition?


Give us this day our daily bread.

That is:

Provide us with all our bodily needs1

so that we may acknowledge

that you are the only fountain of all good,2

and that our care and labour,

and also your gifts,

cannot do us any good

without your blessing.3

Grant, therefore, that we may

withdraw our trust

from all creatures

and place it only in you.4

1 Ps 104:27-30; 145:15, 16; Mt 6:25-34.

2 Acts 14:17; 17:25; Jas 1:17.

3 Deut 8:3; Ps 37:16; 127:1, 2; 1 Cor 15:58.

4 Ps 55:22; 62; 146; Jer 17:5-8; Heb 13:5, 6.

Lord’s Day 51


What is the fifth petition?


And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

That is:

For the sake of Christ’s blood,

do not impute to us,

wretched sinners,

any of our transgressions,

nor the evil which still clings to us,1

as we also find this evidence of your grace in us

that we are fully determined

wholeheartedly to forgive our neighbour.2

1 Ps 51:1-7; 143:2; Rom 8:1; 1 Jn 2:1, 2.

2 Mt 6:14, 15; 18:21-35.

Lord’s Day 52


What is the sixth petition?


And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.

That is:

In ourselves we are so weak

that we cannot stand even for a moment.1

Moreover, our sworn enemies—

the devil,2 the world,3 and our own flesh4

do not cease to attack us.

Will you, therefore,

uphold and strengthen us

by the power of your Holy Spirit,

so that in this spiritual war5

we may not go down to defeat,

but always firmly resist our enemies,

until we finally obtain

the complete victory.6

1 Ps 103:14-16; Jn 15:1-5.

2 2 Cor 11:14; Eph 6:10-13; 1 Pet 5:8.

3 Jn 15:18-21.

4 Rom 7:23; Gal 5:17.

5 Mt 10:19, 20; 26:41; Mk 13:33; Rom 5:3-5.

6 1 Cor 10:13; 1 Thess 3:13; 5:23.


How do you conclude your prayer?


For yours is the kingdom

and the power

and the glory, forever.

That is:

All this we ask of you

because, as our King,

having power over all things,

you are both willing and able

to give us all that is good,1

and because not we

but your holy name

should so receive all glory


1 Rom 10:11-13; 2 Pet 2:9.

2 Ps 115:1; Jer 33:8, 9; Jn 14:13.


What does the word Amen mean?


Amen means:

It is true and certain.

For God has much more certainly

heard my prayer

than I feel in my heart

that I desire this of him.1

1 Is 65:24; 2 Cor 1:20; 2 Tim 2:13.

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