Speaker: Mr. James Norris
The books that would most likely come to mind for those with some knowledge of the literature of the Reformation might be Martin Luther’s The Bondage of the Will, his translation of the Bible into German, or his work on the New Testament book of Galatians. In the case of John Calvin one might think of Institutes of the Christian Religion, which was published in several editions and languages, or possibly his commentaries on many of the books of Scripture would come to mind. These works by both Luther and Calvin were written primarily for ministers, teachers, and those involved in the debates about doctrine in their era, but one of the most influential types of publications for reform was the catechism. The word “catechism” comes from the Greek language and it describes a text used for oral instruction which most often followed a question and answer format to teach essentials. In conjunction with Bibles translated into the common languages of the nations, catechisms were used to train believers in the fundamentals of faith, salvation, and Christian living. In the picture accompanying this article, Martin Luther is teaching his catechism to children in a classroom to provide them with doctrinal instruction.