Catechism was written in Heidelberg (Germany) on
the initiative of Frederick III, ruler of an
influential German province called the Palatinate.
He was a ‘pious Christian prince’, and he desired
this catechism to be composed for the Reformed
churches in the Palatinate. It was adopted by a
Synod in Heidelberg and published in January
1563.It was soon divided into 52 sections, so that
a section could be explained to the churches on
each Lord’s Day of the year. There follows here a
small selection from the catechism’s 129 questions
What is your only comfort in life and
That I am not my own, but belong with body and
soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful
Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my
sins with his precious blood, and has set me free
from all the power of the devil. He also preserves
me in such a way that without the will of my
heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head;
indeed, all things must work together for my
salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also
assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily
willing and ready from now on to live for him.
What do you need to know in
order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
First, how great my sins and misery are; second, how
I am delivered from all my sins and misery; third,
how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance.
From where do you know your sins and misery?
From the law of God.
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. At
the same time it is a firm confidence that not only
to others, but also to me, God has granted
forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and
salvation, out of mere grace, only for the sake of
Christ’s merits. This faith the Holy Spirit works in
my heart by the gospel.
What do you understand by the providence of
God’s providence is his almighty and ever present
power, whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds
heaven and earth and all creatures, and so governs
them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful
and barren years, food and drink, health and
sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things,
come to us not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.
What does it benefit us to know that God has
created all things and still upholds them by his
We can be patient in adversity, thankful in
prosperity, 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; for all creatures are so completely in his
hand that without his will they cannot so much as
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, but also this my
flesh, raised by the power of Christ, shall be
reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s
(These questions and answers are numbers 1-3, 21,
27-8 and 57 of the catechism).