Category Archives: Parental Responsibility

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 4b — Confession and Keys

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 4b – Confession and Keys

Nathan confronts David about his sins (2 Samuel 12:1-22)
David confesses (Psalm 51)
John preaches repentance (Matthew 3:1-12)
Jesus preaches repentance (Matthew 4:12-17)
The prodigal son confesses (Luke 15:17-24)
The tax collector confesses (Luke 18;9-14)
I will give you the keys of the kingdom (Mathew 16:13-21)
Jesus gives the Church power to forgive sin (John 20:19-23)
If your brother sins against you (Matthew 18:15-19)
An excommunicated person is reinstated (2 Corinthians 2:5-11)
O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger (Psalm 6)
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven (Psalm 32)
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD (Psalm 130)

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 4a — Baptism

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 4a – Baptism

God saves Noah through the flood waters (Genesis 7:17-8:19)
Moses is drawn from the water (Exodus 2:1-10)
Baptism in the cloud and in the sea (Exodus 14:9-3; 1 Corinthians 10:1)
God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:1-14)
Water and the Word cleanse Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-16)
John preaches baptism of repentance for remission of sins (Mark 1:4-8)
The baptism of John and Jesus (John 1:19-34)
The Trinity in Baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
New birth from above by water and the Spirit (John 3:1-15)
Jesus blesses little children and infants (Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17)
John the Baptist filled with the Holy Spirit before and from birth (Luke 1:15, 41-44)
Ceremonial washing of the Pharisees (Mark 7:3-4)
Jesus commands and promises Baptism (Matthew 28:18-20)
The apostles preach repentance and Baptism on Pentecost (Acts 2:38-39)
Ananias teaches Paul to wash away his sins in Baptism (Acts 22:12-16)
The Ethiopian is instructed and baptized (Acts 8:26-39)
The jailer is instructed and baptized (Acts 16:19-34)
Buried and raised with Christ in Baptism (Romans 6:1-11)

 

Slow and Steady Wins the Catechetical Race — by Pastor Ryan Loeslie

Editor’s Note:  The following is a guest article by Rev. Ryan Loeslie, Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Merna, Nebraska.

 

Most of us are familiar with Aesop’s Fable of the tortoise and the hare.  The hare boasted of his speed repeatedly.  But tiring of the excessive boasting, the tortoise challenged the hare to a race.  They agreed.  Once the race was on, the hare predictably got out to a great lead.  Seeing the tortoise so far behind, the hare thought he had ample time to take a nice nap.  Of course, this was a bad idea.  By the time he woke again, the tortoise was just about finish the race.  The hare jolted for the finish line, but it was too late.  The tortoise was victorious.  Slow and steady won the race.

Aesop’s Fable about the tortoise and the hare can be applied to many facets of life.  One place where it applies is the catechesis of our children.  Catechesis is like a race.  For several generations now, by and large Lutheran congregations have employed the hare’s method of running the race and catechizing our children.  We consider the hare.  He was built for the race.  He had the skills and the lightning speed.  The tortoise shouldn’t stand a chance against him.  So also we have entrusted pastors with teaching our children the Small Catechism.  Pastors are like the hare.  They are educated and equipped especially for this job.  Certainly, we reason, the pastor should be able to do a better job at teaching the faith than the parents.  Just as the hare is better equipped for the race than the tortoise, the pastor is better equipped for catechesis than the parents.  And so what have we done?  We have placed our bets on the hare to win the race.

But we can extend this analogy even further.  We consider how the hare ran his race.  He got off to a big lead, and he saw the tortoise safely in the distance.  No worries, he thought, and so he thought he might take a nice break and settle in for a nap.  This is a shocking parallel to the way Lutherans have catechized their children for the past several decades.  Children meet with the pastor for an intense hour of instruction once a week, and then for the next week there is nothing – a nice break like the hare took.  I suppose conscientious families in the past have taken memory work seriously, but this is simply not enough over the long haul.  When school is out, catechesis breaks for an entire summer.  When children are confirmed, many never take up the Small Catechism again.  Like the hare, our congregations have been caught napping.  If they are even fortunate enough to wake up, they will see they have lost the race to those competitors in this world who have worked harder to indoctrinate their children – the media, the academy, secular culture, Hollywood, etc.  These are relentless every day.

I don’t have to cite technical statistics to claim that Missouri Synod congregations are losing.  Too many congregations bury more than they baptize.  Children often never show up in church again after confirmation.  If they do, chances are still high that they go to college and fall away from the faith.  Long-established congregations have been in decline for almost five full decades.  Why?  We have adopted the hare’s approach to running the race.  We have relied too much on the so-called “experts.”  We have become ignorant of our responsibility to teach the faith at home.  Like the hare, we have taken too many breaks, and we have relied on quick fixes and programs when these never last over the long haul.

Wouldn’t it be great if our congregations started winning again?  I believe they can.  They can, if they adopt the tortoise’s strategy.  Slow and steady wins the catechetical race.  This means a change of direction for most of our congregations.  Instead of the pastor being in charge of Small Catechism instruction, parents must take this responsibility themselves.  And this is not a once a week for two years type of thing.  This must be done over the long haul – every day for a child’s entire upbringing.  At least this is the goal we shoot for every day.

Perhaps this sounds overwhelming and unreasonable, but it’s not.  Remember, this is the tortoise we’re talking about here.  He doesn’t try and bite off the whole race in one step, but he takes just a small step every day.  And so families should spend just a little bit of time in the Small Catechism every day.  For the parent, this could mean reciting just one of the Commandments with your children every day at the dinner table or with bedtime prayers.  It could mean just reviewing Jesus’ words of institution for Baptism or the Lord’s Supper.  Perhaps it is reviewing one article of the Creed with Luther’s explanation.  Maybe go sequentially through the Catechism one question at a time.  Learn to enjoy this time conversing with your kids.  It’s quality time.  The point is, you’re not trying to accomplish everything at once.  Neither are you speeding through everything like the hare.  You’re doing like the tortoise does.  You take a slow step in the right direction every day. Slowly but surely, you will see results.  You will find yourself loving the Small Catechism and what it teaches you about Jesus.  You will find yourself loving your church and what your pastor preaches.  You will find your children loving it too.  After decades of losing with the hare, it’s time to try a different formula.  It’s time to go with the tortoise.

Running the catechetical race with the tortoise, you can be confident that you are also running in the way which Scripture commands.  I think of the words of Psalm 119.  “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart” (Psalm 119:32).  For us as Christians, this race can be grueling.  Even going at the tortoise’s pace, there are many distractions and fears in this life which vie for our attention and push us off course.  And yet, we know that Jesus is always with us.  He forgives our weaknesses and failures.  And still God equips us with his perfect words that we may run the race set before us.

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 3 — The Lord’s Prayer

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 3 – The Lord’s Prayer

Prayer in General

Lord, teach us to pray (Luke 11, 1-13)
And when you pray (Matthew 6:5-15)
Ask, seek, and knock (Matthew 7:7-12, Luke 11:9-13)
The Canaanite woman prays for her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28)
Praying in Jesus’ name (John 16:23-27)
The leper’s request and thanksgiving (Luke 17:11-19)
The request of the mother of James and John (Matthew 20:20-23)
Abraham prays for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-32)
Solomon prays for wisdom (1 Kings 3:5-14)
Paul prays about the thorn in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:1-9)
The widow persists in prayer (Luke 18:1-8)
Jesus prays for believers (John 17)

Our Father who art in heaven

I bow my knees to the Father (Ephesians (3:14-20)
Elijah and the priests of Baal pray to different gods (1 Kings 18:25-29, 36-39)
The people of Lystra would sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:8-18)

The First Petition
Hallowed by Thy Name

Solomon prays at dedication of the temple (1 Kings 12-30)

The Second Petition
Thy kingdom come

The little Syrian maid (2 Kings 5:1-17)
The Reign of Messiah (Psalm 72)
Kings of the earth gather together against Christ (Acts 4:23-31)
Parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29)
Parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32)

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

Jesus prays in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44)
Abraham’s trial (Genesis 22:1-19)
God uses the sin of Joseph’s brothers for good (Genesis 15:15-21)
Peter and John pray for boldness (Acts 4:13-37)

The Fourth Petition
Give us this day our daily bread

Do not worry (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:22-31)
Jesus heals a centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13.
Jesus heals a paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8)
Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52)
Jesus Heals ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19)
Parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:15-21)

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

Jesus prays for his enemies (Luke 23:32-35)
Steven prays for his enemies (Acts 7:54-60)
Joseph forgives his brothers (Genesis 50:15-21)
The unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
The prodigal son’s father forgives him (Luke 15:17-24)

The Sixth Petition
And lead us not into temptation

The devil tempts Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-6)
Jesus uses the Word against temptation (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13)
The world tempts Peter to deny Christ (Luke 22:54-62, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:15-18, 25-27)
David’s flesh tempts him to commit adultery (2 Samuel 11:2-4)
Joseph flees from temptation (Genesis 39:1-20)
God tests Abraham (Genesis 22:1-19)
Put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)

The Seventh Petition
But deliver us from evil

God delivers Job from his troubles (Job 42:10-17)
Three men in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3)
Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6:1-23)
God does not let the Devil destroy Job (Job 1:1-2:6)

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for every and ever. Amen.

The King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:13-16)
I will extol you, My God, My King (Psalm 145)

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 2c — The Third Article of the Creed

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 2 – The Creed

Part 2c – The Third Article – Sanctification

The Holy Spirit

Joel’s prophesy of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32)
Fulfillment of Joel’s prophesy (Acts 2:1-13)
Peter’s Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:14-31)
Ananias lies to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11)
Jesus sends the Helper (John 16:5-15)

The Holy Christian church

The 7,000 in Israel (1 Kings 19:9-18)
Solomon builds the temple (2 Chronicles 6:1-14; 7:1-3)
Birthday of the church (Acts 2:1-4, 37-42)
The church commissions Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:1-5)
Weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30)
Beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20)

The forgiveness of sins

David’s prayer for pardon (Psalm 51)
Jesus heals the man with palsy (Mark 2:1-12)
The king forgave the servant all his debts (Matthew 18:23-35)
The publican justified (Luke 18:9-14)

The resurrection of the body

Elisha raises the widow’s son (1 Kings 17:17-24)
The judgment scene (Matthew 25:31-46)
Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection (1 Corinthians 15)
Lazarus raised from the dead (John 11:17-44)

Life everlasting

The holy city (Revelation 21:1-7)

The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps

“Called me by the Gospel”

Invitation to the wedding banquet of the king’s son (Matthew 22:1-10)
Invitation to the great banquet (Mark 14:16-17)

“Enlightened me with his gifts”

Philip preaches Christ to the Samaritans (Acts 8:5-8)
The Philippian jailer and his family come to believe (Acts 16:25-34)

Repentance

Jesus dines with a Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50)

Faith

Abraham’s faith (Genesis 12:1-4; 22:1-19)
Heroes of faith (Hebrews 11)
Many of the Apostles hearers believe (Acts 17:1-12)
Peter’s confession (Matthew 16:13-20)

Justification and regeneration

The blessedness of forgiveness (Psalm 32)
The woman of Samaria (John 4:1-26)

Conversion

Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:1-19)

Sanctification and preservation

The Psalmists prayer for pardon (Psalm 86:1-12)
The Christian’s daily life (Colossians 3:1-17)

 

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 2b — The Second Article of the Creed

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 2 – The Creed

Part 2b – The Second Article – Redemption

“Jesus Christ, true God”

Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18-25)
The Holy Spirit will come upon you (Luke 1:26-38)
The transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8)
The load of fish that started sinking the boat (Luke 5:5-11)
Jesus sees Nathaniel under the fig tree (John 1:43-51)
The woman at Jacob’s well (John 4:16-26)
Jesus knows his betrayer (Matthew 26:20-25)
Jesus predicts his death and resurrection (Luke 18:31-34)
The man carrying a pitcher of water (Luke 22:1-13)
Jesus turns water into wine (John 2:1-11)
Jesus rebukes a storm (Luke 8:22-25)
Jesus heals a paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8)
Jesus raises Lazarus from death (John 11:38-44)
The centurion’s confession (Matthew 27:51-54)

“Jesus Christ, also true Man”

Jesus is born of Mary (Luke 2:1-21)
Son of Man came eating and drinking (Matthew 11:18-19)
Jesus appears to his disciples (Luke 24:36-43)
Thomas sees the print of the nails (John 20:24-26)

“Who has redeemed me”

The chastisement of our peace was upon him (Isaiah 53)
As Moses lifted up the serpent (Number 21:4-9, John 3:14-17)
Trial before Pilate (John 18:28 to 19:16)
Why have you forsaken me (Psalm 22)
Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27:33-56, Mark 15:21-41, Luke 23:26-49, John 23-30)
Better covenant, sanctuary, sacrifice, priest (Hebrews 9)

“His innocent suffering”

Temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)
Jesus Christ pays tribute (Matthew 17:24-27)
To do your will, O Lord (Hebrews 10:5-10)
Temptation in Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46)

“A lost and condemned person”

The fall into sin (Genesis 3)
Effects of the fall (Romans 3:9-23)

Who died

Jesus yields up his spirit (Matthew 27:45-50)
Jesus breathed his last (Mark 15:33-37)
Blood and water came from Jesus’ pierced side (John 19:28-37)

Who was buried

Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus in his new tomb
(Matthew 27:57-65, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 13:50-55, John 19:38-42)

He rose again from the dead

He is not here, for He is risen (Matthew 28:1-10)
The empty tomb (John20)

He ascended into heaven

A cloud took him out of their sight (Acts 1:6-11)

Sits at the right hand of the Father

Jesus prays for us (John 17:16-26)
He always lives to make intercession (Hebrews 7:11-28)

From thence He will come

Look, the bridegroom is coming (Matthew 25:1-13)
Signs of the last times (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21)
The Lord himself will descend from heaven (1Thessalonians 4:13-18)

To judge the living and the dead

As a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
In the last days, perilous times will come (2 Timothy 3:1-9)
The falling away comes first (2 Thessalonians 2)
Some to everlasting life, some to shame and contempt (Daniel 12)

“That I may live under him in his kingdom”

Jesus enters Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-9)
Are You the King of the Jews (John 18:33-38)
I have set my King on the holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2)
The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness (Psalm 24)
He who sits on the throne will dwell among them (Revelation 7:9-17)

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 2a — The First Article of the Creed

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 2 – The Creed

Trinity

The Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17)

Part 2a – The First Article – Creation

“God has created me”

Special creation of man – Genesis 2:7, 1:27
A little lower than angels – Psalm 8:4-9

“He has given me my body and soul … all my members”

Wove me in my mother’s womb (Psalm 8:13-15)

“He richly and daily provides”

God provides quail and manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:11-36)
God provides water in the wilderness (Exodus 17:1-6)
Elijah by the Brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:1-7)
Elijah, the widow, and her son (1 Kings 17:8-24)
Elisha and the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:1-7)
Jesus feeds 5,000 (John 6:1-14)
Jesus calms a storm (John 6:16-21)
You give them their food in due season (Psalm 104)

“He protects me”

Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6:6-23)
God limits Satan’s power against Job (Job 1:1-2, 5)
God cares for Joseph (Genesis 37, 41)
God directs Lot out of Sodom (Genesis 19)
Do not worry (Matthew 6:25-34)
God took care of Noah and his family (Genesis 9:1-3)
Do not fret because of evildoers (Psalm 37)

“God has created … all creatures”

Creation of all things (Genesis 1-2)
Holy angels – Peter in prison (Acts 12:5-11)
Fallen Angels – Satan accuses Job (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6)

“Fatherly and divine goodness and mercy”

Jacob meets Esau (Genesis 32:1-10)
The centurion confessed his unworthiness (Luke 7:6-10)

“Duty bound to thank, praise, serve, and obey”

A psalm of praise (Psalm 103)

 

Catechism Bible Illustrations – Part 1 – The Ten Commandments

 

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 1 – The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

The golden calf (Exodus 20:1-21)
The fiery furnace (Daniel 3)
The rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-31; Matthew 19:16-22)
The people worship Baal (1 Kings 18:18-29)
The Philistines worship Dagon (Judges 16:23-24)
The Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17)
The rich man (Luke 16:19-31)
The tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9)
David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17)
Eli and his Sons (1 Samuel 2:12-34)
Peter denies Christ (Matthew 26:59-75)
The sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22)
Abram departs from Haran (Genesis 12:1-9)
Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6)
Pilate heeds the voice of the people (John 19:12-22)
Nebuchadnezzar’s pride (Daniel 4:30; 5:20-21)

The Second Commandment

Herod’s profane oath (Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:21-29)
Shimei curses David (2 Samuel 16:5-14)
Mary and Zacharias (Luke 1:46-80)
God reveals his Name to Moses (Exodus 3:12-15)
Goliath curses David (1 Samuel 17:43)
The Jews curse themselves and their children (Matthew 27:25)
The Jews revile Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27:39-43)
Peter’s oaths in Caiaphas’ courtyard (Mark 14:66-72)
The oath to kill Paul (Acts 23:12)
Saul and the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28)
Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:6-12)
Abraham calls on the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:6-8)
Hannah thanks God (1 Samuel 2)
The disciples call on Jesus (Matthew 8:25)
Ten lepers call on Jesus for help, one thanks him (Luke 17:11-19)
Noah calls on God (Genesis 8:20-22)
Abominations of the nations (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)
The Song of Mary (Luke 1:46-80)
Rabshakeh blasphemes the God of Israel (2 Kings 18:28-25, 19:21-22)
Some Jews accuse Jesus of being demon possessed (John 8:48-59)
Peter curses (Matthew 26:74)
James and John would curse on a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-55)
Jephthah’s oath (Judges 11:30-40)
The sorcerers of Egypt (Exodus 7-8)
The sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-29)
A false prophet’s lie (1 Kings 13:11-30)
Zachariah’s song (Luke 1:68-79)

The Third Commandment

King Jehoiakim burns Jeremiahs scroll (Jeremiah 36:9-32)
Mary listens to Jesus (Luke 10:38-42)
Longing for the Temple Worship (Psalm 84)
Jesus Preaches on the Sabbath (Luke 4:31-39)
Mary kept the Word in her heart (Luke 2:19, 51)
The Bereans searched the Scriptures (Acts 17:10-13)
Persecuted Christians preach the word (Acts 8:1-4)
Jesus fulfills the Sabbath Day (Matthew 12:1-8)
The blessedness of dwelling in the house of God (Psalm 84)
Saul rejects the Word of the Lord (1 Samuel 15:10-23)
Jesus listens to the teachers, asks them questions, and increases in wisdom (Luke 2:41-52)

The Fourth Commandment

Absalom rebels against his father (2 Samuel 15)
Jesus subject to his parents (Luke 2:51)
Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37:12-36; 39:1-6)
The prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)
Joseph loves his father (Genesis 46:29-30)
Samuel obeys Eli (1 Samuel 3:1-8)
Jesus obey his earthly parents (Luke 2:51-52)
Jesus pays the temple tax (Matthew 17:24-27)
Daniel and friends disobey an order to do evil (Daniel 3, 6)
Joseph’s brothers show no love for their father (Genesis 37:31-35)
The sons of Eli grieve their father (1 Samuel 2:12, 23-25)
The youths of Bethel mock Elijah (2 Kings 2:23-24)
Jesus provided for his mother (John 19:26)
Ruth cherished her mother-in-law, Naomi (Ruth 1:6-18)

The Fifth Commandment

Cain murders Abel (Genesis 4:1-15)
The good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
David has Uriah killed (2 Samuel 11:14-17)
People killed through carelessness (Exodus 21:22-23, 29; Deuteronomy 22:8)
Saul kills himself (1 Samuel 31:4)
Judas hangs himself (Matthew 27:3-10)
Abraham fights to rescue Lot (Genesis 14:12-16)
The Son of Man judges of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46)
Jesus cures the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8)
Jesus feeds five thousand (Mark 6:33-44)
Jesus heals Malchus (Luke 22:50-51)
Jesus teaches the Fifth Commandment (Matthew 5:21-26; Luke 12:57-59)
The Egyptians made the lives of the Hebrews bitter (Exodus 1)
David protects the life of Saul (1 Samuel 26:1-12)
Joseph forgives his brothers (Genesis 45:1-16)
The judicial murder of Naboth (1 Kings 21:1-16)

The Sixth Commandment

Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:4-8)
Joseph’s chastity (Genesis 39)
Adam and Eve’s marriage (Genesis 2:18-24)
The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)
The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24:34-67)
Herod lives with his brother’s wife (Matthew 14:1-4)
David commits adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-5)
Jesus deals with the Samaritan woman (John 4:17-18)
Lot’s daughters commit incest (Genesis 19:30-38)
Love, light, wisdom, Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5)

The Seventh Commandment

Achan’s theft (Joshua 7)
Abraham recovers Lot’s property without reward (Genesis 14:1-16)
Jacob cheating Esau (Genesis 25:27-34; 27:1-40)
The unjust steward (Luke 16:1-13)
Parents give good gifts to their children (Matthew 7:11)
The prodigal son requests his inheritance (Luke 15:11-12)
The dishonest steward (Luke 16:1-12)
The generous Macedonians (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)
Gehazi’s greed and lies (2 Kings 5:20-24)
Cheerful giving to the saints (2 Corinthians 9:1-15)
Jacob’s agreement with Laban (Genesis 30:25-43)
The judicial theft of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-16)
Judas steals from the money box (John 12:4-6)

The Eighth Commandment

False witness against Stephen (Acts 6:8-15)
Jonathan defends David (1 Samuel 19:1-7)
The Devil deceives Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-15)
The tongue (James 3:1-18)
Jesus before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65)
Pilate’s judgment contradicts his verdict (Luke 23:4-24)
Potiphar’s wife lies about Joseph (Genesis 39:13-17)
Judas betrays Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16)
Absalom slanders David (2 Samuel 15:1-6)
Jesus exposes hypocrisy (Matthew 23)
Jewish elders speak well of a Roman centurion (Luke 7:1-10)
Satan lies to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-15)
Jesus’ words the truth, Satan the father of lies (John 8:42-47)
Perjury against Naboth (1 Kings 21:1-16)
Doeg betrays Ahimelech (1 Samuel 22:6-19)

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments

Ahab covets Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-16)
Abraham gives Lot his choice of the land (Genesis 13)
David coveted Uriah’s wife (2 Samuel 11_2-4)
Paul sends Onesimus back to his master (Philemon)
Zaccheus makes restitution (Luke 19:1-10)
Worldly lawsuits between Christians (1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
The Shunamite couple makes a room for Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-13)
Absalom estranged the hearts of the people from David (2 Samuel 15:1-6)
Picture of a wife of valor (Proverbs 31:10-31)
The covetous fool (Luke 12:13-21)
Generosity to servants (Deuteronomy 15:12-18)
Paul overcomes covetousness (Acts 20:32-35)

The Conclusion of the Commandments

God destroys the world in a flood (Genesis 7)
God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah with fire (Genesis 19:15-28)
God destroys the Egyptians in the Red See (Exodus 4:23-31)
God destroys the family of Ahab and Jezebel (2 Kings 9:4-10, 10:11)
Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5)
The Lord answers a false proverb (Ezekiel 18)
The Good Shepherd (John 10)

Encouragement for the Scared Father

Not long ago in a discussion in an online Lutheran group, one father did a manly thing. He admitted he was scared in his role as father. He said, “Nothing scares me quite like teaching my children.”

Hallelujah! I told him, “This is a fact true of many fathers. Usually we just keep ducking, but now, in saying this, you are standing up. The Lord is at work here.”

Let me give you a collection of encouragements to overcome what scares you.

1.  God is for your children, and God is for you as father.
2.  The Catechism is simple, and using it is simple.
3.  Your influence is built into nature.
4.  Repetition is effective.
5.  Children like to answer questions.
6.  Your own faith and confidence in Christ will grow.

1.  God is for your children, and God is for you as father.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

We wonder if God wants to give us what we need as fathers. He already gave his Only Begotten Son into death for your child. He will, with the death of his Son, give you what is needed to be the first evangelist of the Gospel to your child, so that the death of the Only Begotten can become precious to your child.

Through the Scriptures, the Church, and Dr. Luther, God has given you the simple little tool you need, the Small Catechism. “Prince George, of Anhalt, called it the layman’s little Bible, containing the substance of the teachings of all the Prophets and Apostles.”[1]

God wants your children to know the Catechism and be strong in simple faith, because this is to grasp onto Christ and his salvation. Realize that when you and your child are hearing the Catechism together, you are two or three gathered in Christ’s name, and there He is among you (Matthew 18:20), using his Word as a means of grace to deliver the gift of faith.

Fathering is what the Father in Heaven does, and he delights it giving you the vocation of father in his own likeness. See, He is for your imitation of him in fathering. He can be counted on for this.

Jesus corrected his disciples when they were preventing little children from coming to him. “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ And He laid His hands on them.” (Matthew 19:14-15a)

2.  The Catechism is simple and using it is simple.

A child can learn the Catechism, and I mean a young child.

The Catechism that Dr. Luther wrote, without any of the bulky explanations that others added later, really is a very little pamphlet. Remember the story of Winston Churchill apologizing to his friend during the war for writing such a long letter. He explained its length, saying that with the press of war duties, he did not have time to write a short one. Shortening things down to the essentials and crystalizing them takes time. Luther invested a tremendous amount of time to be able to write a little Catechism that has everything your child needs, in the fewest, best, and most powerful words.

Merely reading the Catechism aloud to your child has effect. Its design and contents are powerful. Luther had many options and decisions to make in creating the Catechism. He gave much study and thought to it over a long time. His decisions are genius, and that genius is working for you.

Start while your child is very young. “Let it not be objected that the child cannot understand the prayer. The way of education is by practice to understanding, not by understanding to practice.”[2] Keep simply reading it to your child. This practicing of the words until your child starts to know them lays the foundation for the understanding that will come.

“By giving only a little time and attention to it each week, the parents could easily, in a few years, have all their children know it as perfectly as they know their multiplication table.”[3]

3.  Your influence is built into nature.

God at creation built it into nature that fathers have influence with their children. This includes all fathers. It happens automatically. All fathers influence their children. It is not a question of whether fathers have influence, but in which direction they will influence. Even an absolutely neglectful father is bearing an influence of neglect.

The mere fact that it is you reading the Catechism to your children bears effect.

Teachers and pastors have a helpful supporting role. But that is what their role is, helpful and supporting … to your primary role. Children will have many teachers and pastors, but they have only one father, you. No one else is “my Daddy.”

4.  Repetition is effective.

It is great that the Catechism is little. This means your reading can take advantage of repetition.

Repetition means that you don’t have to bite off more than can be chewed at any one time. Do a little today. Do a little tomorrow. Do a little the next day. Then repeat those same littles in the days that follow.

Read them the first table of the law today, the second table of the law tomorrow. On the third day, you can repeat the first table. On the fourth, you can repeat the second table. You can repeat this repetition as often as you like, and then go on to the next part of the Catechism.

If that is too much, just do one commandment today, one commandment tomorrow, and one commandment the next day. With the introduction and conclusion, it will take two weeks to get through them. No problem. There is nothing wrong with that. You are going to start over again in the third week. Repetition will get it.

By the time you reach the second chief part, the Creed, you will see what repetition does. This is what overcomes the squirmy childish behavior that you will see, the appearance that you are accomplishing nothing. Not to worry. You have repetition on your side. It does not all have to be accomplished at once.

What always is accomplished is that they hear the Word of God from their one and only earthly father. Remember, the Catechism is the layman’s little Bible. “The Word of God is living and powerful.” (Hebrews 4:12)

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

5.  Children like to answer questions.

After you have repeated one of the chief parts of the Catechism several times, you can start addressing the questions to your children.

Sure, they will stumble and fumble, but they will get pieces of it, and after a while, they will have pretty good chunks in memory. No sweat. No muss. No fuss. Bite sized pieces and patience will consume the whole thing.

Let them enjoy the fun of answering questions. The interaction with you — you questioning, them answering — is a great foundation of relationship, and relationship makes an impression. The Catechism gives you a ready-made conversation. It couldn’t be simpler.

Commend every effort and accomplishment they make. Tell them, “That’s right,” or “Good job,” or “You’re doing great.” Children want to please their parents. Children need to know their parents are pleased. Feed the hunger with good things, words of praise. Children like to answer questions because it is a good way to please their parents and receive approval.

6.  Your own faith and confidence in Christ will grow.

As you read what the Catechism is saying to your children, because of your love for them, you will be contemplating the value to them of its words. You will appreciate the importance of these little lambs hearing what the Catechism is saying. You will be seeing it through their eyes. Contemplated for its effect on your little lambs, you will be entering into the faith of a little child yourself, the kind Jesus loves to give you. “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:14)

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[1] Joseph Augustus Seiss, Ecclesia Lutherana: A Brief Survey of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4th ed. (Philadelphia: Lutheran Book Concern, 1871), p. 80.

[2] G. H. Gerberding, The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church, (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1887, pp 49-50.

[3] G. H. Gerberding, The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church, (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1887, pp. 69-70.