The question I want to consider in this month’s article is, “How can I use the Small Catechism in my daily life?” To answer this question, let us look briefly at Luther’s arrangement of the first three parts of his Catechism: the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer.
The word, “catechism” simply means ‘instruction’ or ‘teaching.’ There were others throughout the history of the Christian Church leading up to Martin Luther who put together catechisms to teach and instruct the members of the Church in the basics of the Christian Faith. Almost all of the catechisms throughout church history contained instruction on the Ten Commandments, the Creeds, and the Lord’s Prayer. However, Luther’s arrangement was unique. He was one of the very first to put the Ten Commandments first. When asked why he arranged the Small Catechism the way he did he gave this helpful comparison to a sick man in need of medicine: