The Small Catechism – part 40

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 1:2–3

Let us be clear. God will not hold guiltless the one who takes his name in vain. Yet, the one who calls upon his name in sorrow over that sin will be forgiven.

The Small Catechism – part 39

Scripture Text: Psalm 139:19–24

It is easy to notice the faults of others. For example, you will hear God’s name used wrongly—whether as an outright expletive or by swearing by it to gain another’s trust.

The Small Catechism – part 38

Scripture Text: Acts 17:29–30

“God told me.” When people say this, they are taking the Lord’s name in vain. They say, “God told me to do this,” so that no one will be able to disagree with them.

The Small Catechism – part 37

Scripture Text: Luke 10:27

So, we see that taking the Lord’s name vainly does not only break the Second Commandment; it also breaks the First Commandment. For taking the Lord’s name in vain demonstrates a lack of fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

The Small Catechism – part 36

Scripture Text: Matthew 6:31–33

Why does one need to lie or otherwise deceive in order to receive some necessary thing? God knows what you need, so ask your heavenly Father, and he will provide the needs of the day.

The Small Catechism – part 35

Scripture Text: Romans 12:14

The Second Commandment deals with far more than using a specific word or words. If you are a Christian, then all you say and do is said and done in the name of God.

The Small Catechism – part 33

Scripture Text: Matthew 6:9

The best way to use God’s name properly is in prayer, and the best prayer is the one Jesus taught us. In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray that the Father’s name will be hallowed, or “holied.”

The Basics of the Christian Faith

Sola has an edition of the Small Catechism that is useful in outreach. Some churches give "The Basics of the Christian Faith" to their visitors, or have copies in the pews for people to take home with them. Other churches use it in new members' packets. I take a copy to first-time visitors. In follow-up visits, I refer to "that booklet" so that the conversation ends up being a Bible ...

The Small Catechism – part 32

Scripture Text: Matthew 6:31–33

We are to use God’s name properly. Because we trust God, we may believe that he will take care of us. Therefore, we do not need to resort to deceitful practices of any sort in order to have our needs met by the Father.

The Small Catechism – part 31

Scripture Text: Exodus 20:3

There are things that people fear, love, and trust above God. People may fear illness, suffering, and death above God. The result can be slavish devotion to fitness or to doctors and medicine.

The Small Catechism – part 29

Scripture Text: Exodus 20:5–6

While the effects of sin may linger a while, the steadfast love of God endures forever. That is the idea in the idiom: “a thousand generations.” It is like saying, “a million years.”

The Small Catechism – part 28

Scripture Text: Exodus 20:5–6

The Scripture teaches us that children do not pay for the sins of their parents (Ezek 18:20). Nevertheless, they often suffer the consequences. The bad choices we make affect others.

The Small Catechism – part 27

Scripture Text: Exodus 20:5–6

The effects of sin linger. I look at my own parents’ sins every day, as so many are alive in me. I learned those sins from them but they are my sins.

The Small Catechism – part 26

Scripture Text: Exodus 20:5–6

The Hebrew word typically translated as “jealous” in Exodus 20:5 can mean zealous, passionate, even outraged—or simply protective. Luther translated it as “zealous” (eifriger) but the major English translations all read “jealous.”

The Small Catechism – part 23

Scripture Text: Exodus 20:4

If you knew what God looked like (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12) and made an image of that likeness, would you be able to fear the image? I suppose you could, but it would be irrational to do so.

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