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Luther’s Catechism Series: Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed

The words “passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus” are translated by the reformer: “suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, dead, and buried”; admittedly, the introductory text to the Large Catechism reads: “(who) had suffered under Pontius Pilate, is crucified, dead, and buried.”

Luther’s Catechism Series: First Article of the Apostle’s Creed

Luther’s interpretation of the First Article is shaped through and through by his astonishment about the character of life as a gift. In this way, the reformer confronts that aspect which Martin Heidegger terms the “foundational question for metaphysics”: “Why is there that which exists rather than the more probable nothingness?” But Luther does not consider this as an abstract philosophical question; instead, from the vantage point of the wonderment of a child: “Why is there something and not nothing?” He considers this from the point of view of one who ventures to trust, on the basis of the biblical witness that tells of a God who dispenses life.

Luther's Catechism Series: The Ten Commandments Part 2

Leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, the Gospel of Matthew recounts that “the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put Him to death” (26:59). Bearing false testimony is breaking the Eighth Commandment, but through Christ’s resurrection, we are forgiven. But what encompasses the entirety of the Eighth Commandment? Read Albrecht Peters’  commentary on Luther’s interpretations of this commandment to see what this commandment fully encompasses.

Wording and Interpretation of the Commandment

The translations of the Eighth Commandment vary slightly: “You shall not speak false testimony against your neighbor.” Following tradition, Luther wavers between Zeugnis and Gezeugnis for testimonium. Loqueris he typically translates verbatim as “speak” —here and there also with “give.” . . . Luther consistently adds “against your neighbor” and thereby underlines the specific direction of the commandment toward the neighbor, which characterizes his interpretation.

Luther’s Catechism Series: The Ten Commandments Part 1

The First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” is one of the most important to the Christian faith. Read Albrecht Peters’ Commentary on Luther’s Catechisms, Ten Commandments below. 

Discipleship and the First Commandment

The following is an excerpt from Luther's Small Catechism: A Manual for Discipleship, written by John T. Pless.

The Origin of the Small and Large Catechisms

In Luther’s day, there were any number of catechisms and catechetical materials. They were often extremely extensive and required the young people to memorize not only the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed, but also a list of seven spiritual gifts, seven cardinal virtues, the seven Sacraments, seven words of mercy, the eight beatitudes of God, and on and on and on. Luther cleared away the medieval clutter with his Small and Large Catechisms.