Heidelberg Catechism


The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a confessional church.  This means that we are governed by a series of confessions as well as a Book of Order.  At the Kirk, during worship each week, we are reading through the Heidelberg Catechism.The Heidelberg Catechism is one of the documents found in the Presbyterian Book of Confessions, which is the first half of our two governing documents. Below you will find the questions that we have asked and answered in worship to date, along with scriptural support for each of the answers. 


Additionally, here is a link to the Center for Excellence in Preaching that has a brief comment and reflection of each answer.  You are encouraged to dig deeper into understanding the beliefs that govern the Presbyterian Church (USA) and our Kirk.




According to the Book of Confessions, "The Reformation was not a singular movement.  Soon after Luther posted his ninety-five these, reform movements spran up throughout Europe." As reform took place, there were disagreements between reforming groups, Luterans and Reformed Christians.  In an effor to settle the dispute about the bodily presence of CHrist in the Lord's Supper, Frederick the Elector asked Zacharias Ursinus, a professor of theology, and Kaspar Olevianus, a preacher in Heidelberg, to prepare a teaching document that would be acceptable for both side of the argument. 

The Heidelberg Catechism, which was completed in 1562 and published in 1563, is a series of questions and answers backed up by scriptural references, a teaching tool for the church to use in instruction about the faith.  Each question of the catechisme in personal, addressed to "you."  Each answer draws as much as possible on biblical language. 

The catechism has gone on to be used in church's preaching and teaching throughout Germany, Austria, Holland, Hungary and part of Eastern Europe, Scotland, Canada and the United States.  





QUESTION 1. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
ANSWER: That I am not my own,(1) but belong— body and soul, in life and in death—(2) to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.(3) He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,(4) and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.(5) He also watches over me in such a way(6) that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven;(7) in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.(8) Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life(9) and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.(10)
1. 1 Cor. 6:19
2. Rom. 14:8
3. 1 Cor. 3:23
4. 1 Pet. 1:18; 1 John 1:7; 2:2
5. 1 John 3:8
6. John 6:39
7. Matt. 10:30; Luke 21:18
8. Rom. 8:28
9. 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14; Rom. 8:16
10. Rom. 8:14


QUESTION 2. What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
ANSWER. Three thingsSad1) first, how great my sin and misery are;(2) second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery;(3) third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.(4)
1. Luke 24:47; 1 Cor. 6:11; Tit. 3:3
2. John 9:41; John 15:[6–]7
3. John 17:3
4. Eph. 5:10


Part I: Misery




QUESTION 3. How do you come to know your misery?
ANSWER: The law of God tells me.1
1. Rom. 3:20


QUESTION 4. What does God’s law require of us?
ANSWER: Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22:37–40: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. “And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”


QUESTION 5. Can you live up to all this perfectly?
ANSWER: No.(1) I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.(2)
1. Rom. 3:10; 3:23; 1 John 1:8
2. Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:3



QUESTION 6. Did God create people so wicked and perverse?
ANSWER. No.(1) God created them good and in his own image,(2) that is, in true righteousness and holiness, so that they might truly know God their creator, love him with all their heart, and live with God in eternal happiness, to praise and glorify him.(3)
1. Gen. 1:31
2. Gen. 1:26–27
3. 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24


QUESTION 7. Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?
ANSWER: The fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise.(1)
This fall has so poisoned our nature
that we are all conceived and born
in a sinful condition.2
1. Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12, 18–19
2. Ps. 51:5; Gen. 5:3


QUESTION 8. But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil?
ANSWER. Yes,(1) unless we are born again by the Spirit of God.(2)
1. John 3:6; Gen. 6:5; Job 14:4;15:16, [35]; Isa. 53:6
2. John 3:5




QUESTION 9. But doesn’t God do us an injustice by requiring in his law what we are unable to do?
ANSWER: No,(1) God created human beings with the ability to keep the law. They, however, provoked by the devil,(2) in willful disobedience, robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.
1. Eph. 4:[22–23], 24–25
2. Luke 10:30[–37]


QUESTION 10. Does God permit such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?
ANSWER: Certainly not.(1) God is terribly angry with the sin we are born with as well as the sins we personally commit. As a just judge, God will punish them both now and in eternity, having declared: “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.”(2)
1. Rom. 5:12; Heb. 9:27
2. Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10


QUESTION 11. But isn’t God also merciful?
ANSWER: God is certainly merciful,(1) but also just.(2) God’s justice demands that sin, committed against his supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty— eternal punishment of body and soul.
1. Exod. 34:6
2. Exod. 20:5; Ps. 5:5; 2 Cor. 6:14

Part II: Deliverance




QUESTION 12. According to God’s righteous judgment we deserve punishment both now and in eternity: how then can we escape this punishment and return to God’s favor?
ANSWER: God requires that his justice be satisfied.(1) Therefore the claims of this justice
must be paid in full, either by ourselves or by another.(2)
1. Exod. 20:5; 23:7
2. Rom. 8:3–4


QUESTION 13. Can we make this payment ourselves?
ANSWER: Certainly not. Actually, we increase our debt every day.(1)
1. Job 9:3; 15:15; Matt. 6:12


QUESTION 14. Can another creature—any at all—pay this debt for us?
ANSWER: No. To begin with, God will not punish any other creature for what a human is guilty of.(1) Furthermore, no mere creature can bear the weight of God’s eternal wrath against sin and deliver others from it.(2)
1. Heb. 2:14
2. Ps. 130:3


QUESTION 15. What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?
ANSWER: One who is a true(1) and righteous human,(2) yet more powerful than all creatures,
that is, one who is also true God.(3)
1. 1 Cor. 15:21
2. Jer. 33:15; Isa. 53:9; Ps. 53; 2 Cor. 5:21
3. Heb. 7:[15–]16; Isa. 7:14; Rom. 8:3; Jer. 23:6




QUESTION 16. Why must the mediator be a true and righteous human?
ANSWER: God’s justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for sin;(1)
but a sinful human could never pay for others.2
1. Rom. 5:12, 15
2. 1 Pet. 3:18; Isa. 53:3–5, 10–11


QUESTION 17. Why must the mediator also be true God?
ANSWER: So that the mediator, by the power of his divinity, might bear the weight of God’s wrath in his humanity(1) and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life.(2)
1. Isa. 53:8; Acts 2:24;1 Pet. 3:18
2. John 3:16; 1 John 1:2, 4:12; Acts 20:18 [28]; John 1[:4,12]


QUESTION 18. Then who is this mediator— true God and at the same time a true and righteous human?
ANSWER: Our Lord Jesus Christ,(1) who was given to us to completely deliver us and make us right with God.(2)
1. Matt. 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:16; Luke 2:11
2. 1 Cor. 1:30


QUESTION 19. How do you come to know this?
ANSWER. The holy gospel tells me. God began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise;(1) later God proclaimed it by the holy patriarchs and prophets (2) and foreshadowed it by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law;(3) and finally God fulfilled it through his own beloved Son.(4)
1. Gen. 3:15
2. Gen. 22:18; 49:10–11; Rom. 1:2; Heb. 1:1; Acts 3:22–24; 10:43
3. John 5:46; Heb. 10:7 [1–10]
4. Rom. 10:4; Gal. 4:4

September 17, 2019


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