Catechism Explanation Update

In response to 2013 Resolution 3-13A, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations is undertaking an update to the “Explanation” of Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, last revised in 1991. The resolution calls for the revision due to the “many changes in the understanding of morals, civil law and natural law in church and society” since the Explanation’s last revision.

The goal is to present the content in a fresh manner — making it easier to use, understand and apply to real life while retaining and preserving virtually all of the theological content.

Learn more:  View samples   Download Reporter Insert   Download Progress Report


Tell us what you think

This project is in its early stages of development.
Please take a few minutes to provide feedback
that will guide the finished revisions.

Take Survey
Responses accepted through May 15, 2015.


What’s Next — The Plan

  • Conduct extensive “field testing” — getting feedback from pastors and congregations of the Synod is essential.
  • Gather synodwide reaction to the proposed four-element approach — the template — before moving “full steam ahead.”
  • Complete update of the Explanation by 2017.

New Features and Samples

Proposed new features include the addition of the following sections: Central Thought, A Closer Reading, Connections and Applications, and Prayer and Hymn.

Download PDF samples:  The First Commandment  The Nature of Baptism  The Second Petition


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  • The Central Thought: This segment summarizes the specific section being studied (e.g., the First Commandment) and Luther’s brief explanation (“What does this mean?”), drawing on further Scripture and on Luther’s Large Catechism. This first element would have questions to lead into the content and would include a key portion of Scripture to illustrate the catechetical point.

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  • Connections and Applications: This segment helps the reader see specific ways the Catechism applies to our world today by explaining the practical importance of Christian teachings for our everyday life.

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  • A Closer Reading: This segment is similar to the material in the current Explanation with questions and answers that give further explanation and biblical support for this section of the Catechism. It would feature brief passages for memorization and foundational verses for doctrine together with additional narratives and psalms and, in some cases, refer to the Lutheran Confessions.

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  • Prayer and Hymn: This segment provides a direct devotional connection, enabling the Catechism to be used not only for instruction, but also as a devotional resource — a tool for spiritual contemplation, thanksgiving and petition.




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