The Heidelberg Catechism
The Heidelberg Catechism was written and approved by the Synod of Heidelberg on January 19, 1563. The catalyst for the writing of this document was Frederick III, the sovereign of the Palatinate from 1559 to 1576. He wanted to combine the best of Lutheran and Reformed teaching in a manner that would be easily accessible to the people of his territory. He also wanted to counteract the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and so the Heidelberg Catechism based each of its statements on Scripture. It consists of fifty-two sections (one section to be read on each Lord’s day) and has 129 questions and answers dealing with the fall of man, his redemption, and proper response to the Lord. It became one of the most popular Reformed Catechism’s and was used extensively by Reformed churches in several different countries. Its influence reached the Westminster Assembly who used it in the formation of the Shorter Catechism.
Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.