“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed…Train yourself for godliness” (1 Tim. 4:6-7).
A friendly, pastoral reminder to remember to review and memorize your catechism this year! I especially encourage parents and officers to go through the Westminster Shorter Catechism as a helpful and important reminder of what you believe. “Catechize” comes from a Greek word that means to teach, to instruct, it can have the nuance of covenantal nurture in the faith, for both adults and especially children in the covenant.
Briefly, why should you catechize yourself and your family? A few reasons to get you thinking…
- Meditation/Nurture of Your Soul: Good catechisms, like the Westminster Shorter Catechism teach Scriptural truth that we are called to meditate upon day and night and remember (Deut. 6:6-7; 11:18-19; Psalm 1; Eph. 6:4; 2 Tim. 3:15- Timothy’s catechizing was used to bring him to faith in Christ!).
- Jesus was catechized: Jesus sought to understand the scriptures, sitting at the feet of His teachers, learning from an early age how to understand and interpret the Scriptures (Luke 2:40-52). (If Jesus needed to be catechized, how much more…?? Well, you get the idea!). Jews were catechized from the Law (see Rom. 2:18, lit. “catechized” from the Law).
- Jesus catechized: Between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven, he catechized His disciples with the truth about His Kingdom (Luke 1:44-53; Acts 1:1-4; cf. Luke 1:4). Jesus is also teaching catechism when he says that disciples should be receiving constant teaching: “…Teaching them everything that I have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:20a).
- Early believers were catechized: Luke knew Theophilus had been catechized (see Luke 1:4: “…Certainty of those things, you have been “catechized” or instructed in”). The great Apollos had been catechized in the Scriptures (see Acts 18:25).
- Better hearing and “getting” of sermons: Catechism helps you to understand rich, theological, words that have been inherited from our forefathers and foremothers in the faith. Catechism is honoring our fathers and mothers in this way. You can better “hear” and understand sermons. It is an observed truth that those who “get” sermons the best in the Reformed tradition of preaching, are those who are catechized (see Nehemiah 8:8 and context).
- Membership Commitments/parental responsibility: As a congregation in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, catechism is a very important way of covenantal nurture: “Do you promise to teach diligently to [name of child] the principles of our holy Christian faith, revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and summarized in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this Church?” (Book of Church Order, DFW, chap. III). If you’re a member of the OPC, we have vowed to do this in reliance upon God’s grace in Christ.
- Meditation on Scripture: While you seek to be faithful in catechism, do not neglect the reading, memorization and meditation upon Scripture. Biblical truth is the foundation on which we build faithful catechism. Meditation on scripture is the parent of prayer and the care and ministry of others.
There are free electronic copies of the Shorter Catechism here.
For more information on catechizing and catechism, you may read these excellent articles:
The Blessing of Catechizing Our Children by Joel Beeke
Why Catechize? by Thomas Watson
Catechizing: Grounded in Scripture by Stephen Unthank
Your pastor and elders pray for you regularly to grow in your faith, [and this tool] will help you to grow.
“The One who is taught [lit. “catechized”] the word must share all good things with the one who teaches [“catechizes”]” (Gal. 6:6).
“…What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
Lets’ begin now. “Question: What is the chief end of man?” Answer: “_________________”
Now see, that wasn’t too difficult. Mediate on your answer today, and in Christ, you will be “blessed”; it is a promise of God (Psa. 1:1-3).
IN Christ’s love,
Pastor Charles Biggs
Ketoctin Covenant Presbyterian Church
Westminster's Shortest Catechism (eBook) by J. A. Tosti
Catechism for Young Children (eBook)
A Catechism for Boys and Girls (eBook) by Erroll Hulse
Why Convessionalism? (podcast) by the Jerusalem Chamber