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A Letter Regarding the New Catechism

Dear Brothers in Christ's Ministry,

Luther wrote his Small Catechism to help pastors teach God's Word, especially to children. He could not have imagined the sheer numbers of students who would be armed with the Word of Truth through his little book. No other book of Christian instruction has endured for almost 500 years. Not one! No other book of Christian instruction has been so widely used. It is with a deep sense of awe and gratitude that we consider the blessings God has given to the church through this book. It is truly amazing. Though our world has changed in innumerable ways over these last five centuries, the value and relevance of Luther's Catechism are just as great today as when it was first written.

It is with full appreciation of the importance of this book that Northwestern Publishing House, in partnership with the Seminary Education Department, is preparing a new exposition to Luther's Catechism. We expect the release of this book mid-summer.

Several features will amplify the usefulness of this new exposition in the classroom.

  • ESV or NIV - Two versions will be available. Bible references in one are from the ESV. References in the other are from the NIV (2011).
  • Answers not provided for every question - When students could draw the answer to the question from the Scripture references, the answer isn't given. This feature helps them develop the skill of finding answers in the Scriptures. When the questions or references are more complex, answers or explanatory notes are provided.
  • Content summary diagrams appeal to visual learners
  • Smaller size and full-color interior - The book will look less like a textbook and more like an important book for everyday living.
  • Bible history connection - The truth taught in each unit is tied to a section of Bible history. This will help students grow in their knowledge of Bible history and help them see the connection of doctrinal truth to God's plan of salvation.
  • Strengthened understanding and appreciation of our heritage - Each unit includes a quote from Luther or the Confessions. Truths that are distinctive to the Lutheran church are emphasized.

Luther's conviction that the Catechism should be a tool for life-long learning has influenced the design and development of this book.

  • Readability - Each unit opens with an introduction. Transitional statements and explanations help a reader grasp the logic of the doctrinal presentation. This enhances the usefulness of the catechism as a review and resource well after confirmation class.
  • Devotional - Each unit concludes with a connections section that helps the student understand the application of the doctrinal content of that unit. The connections section also ties together the Bible history as well as the quote from Luther or the Confessions with the truth taught in the unit. This section could well be used by families for devotions.

For a sneak peak at the ESV version, click here for a sample.

I'm confident that you will share my appreciation for this timeless and precious book. I'm confident too that this new exposition of the catechism will serve the church for years to come.

Because Jesus lives!

Ray Schumacher
Curriculum Product Editor
Northwestern Publishing House

P.S. NPH is also developing Catechism Connections: Expressions of My Faith, a companion book that allows students to record Bible passages and other notes about what they are learning. Watch your email for more news about this helpful tool; release is tentatively scheduled for late this summer.