Treasures to rediscover

The Heidelberg Catechism

Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and death?  

Answer: That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him. 

Question 2: What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?  

Answer: First, how great my sins and misery are; second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance. 

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Helping you learn the truth

The Heidelberg Catechism is an educational tool, following a question-and-answer format. It was created to help people learn the foundational truths taught in the Bible.


Heidelberg Catechism
Question I

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What Is The Heidelberg Catechism?

Has someone ever asked you what you believe and you weren’t sure of your answer? You needed a catechism. A catechism is a teaching tool: a series of questions and answers. It clearly and concisely summarizes what a group of people believes. 

The Heidelberg Catechism emerged in 1563, birthed out of the minds and pens of three men: Fredrick (Elector Fredrick III), Caspar (Caspar Olevianus), and Zach (Zacharius Ursinus). Fredrick, a devoted Christian, ruled what was called, "the Palatinate"—one-seventh of the Roman Empire—what today would be Germany.

Martin Luther and John Calvin’s radical teaching that opposed Medieval Roman Catholicism had spread throughout the Roman Empire and taken root. Frederick wanted to teach the people in his province what the Bible had to say about the matters that Calvin and Luther disputed. He enlisted two friends for his special project.

Both Caspar and Zach were in their twenties and benefitted from intense religious education. Their ideas about God were based on what they learned from the Bible. Zach was a professor, and Caspar a pastor.

But more than that, Fredrick, Zach, and Casper believed the Bible to be the Word of God, and the only authoritative truth. The Bible, therefore, was very precious to them. These three men were passionate about sharing the comfort provided in the Bible and its message about Jesus Christ. They cared about younger generations and wanted the high schoolers and middle schoolers in their communities to understand their rich faith.

Fredrick called together European delegates to review the Heidelberg Catechism that Zach put together with the help of Caspar. How did the delegates respond to their work? There was no debate, debunking, or edits of the catechism—just a hearty amen from everyone present! Everyone voted “yes” on every word of the fledgling masterpiece.

However, the Empire didn’t accept the catechism as enthusiastically. The Emperor summoned Fredrick to stand before him and give an answer for the document that supposedly opposed the doctrine of the state. Fredrick’s answer to this accusation silenced the Emperor. Fredrick said that the only Lord of conscience and faith is God, and his commissioned document said nothing other than what God’s own Word taught.

Fredrick’s gentle courage to stand by his convictions softened the Emperor’s heart. Rather than forbid the work, the Emperor stood back while it was translated into multiple languages. Rather than impeach Fredrick, his work was implemented in surrounding churches.

Fredrick, Casper, and Zach wrote the Heidelberg Catechism just for you—to help you know what the Bible teaches. Take a look at their (and our!) sincere convictions about God’s Word, our Lord Jesus, and a life of following him.



Protestant Reformation
Martin Luther posted his “ninety five theses” protesting the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences, thus beginning the Protestant Reformation.
The Council of Trent
The Council of Trent met for 25 sessions over a period of 18 years, producing an anti-Protestant confession that dominated Roman Catholicism until the 1960s.
War Ends
The Peace of Augsburg ended wars in Germany between Lutherans and Catholics, allowing religious freedom for both per the adage “whose the rule, his the religion.”
Fredrick III’s Conversion
Prince Frederick III, ruler of the German region Palatinate, moved away from Lutheran theology toward the biblical Reformed faith promoted by John Calvin.
Document Drafted
Frederick commissioned Zacharias Ursinus (1534-1583), a professor at the University of Heidelberg, to draft a question-and-answer confession (“catechism”) to help teach biblical Reformed theology in the region in which he had oversight.
Catechism Defended
Frederick stood before the Diet of Augsburg to defend his use of the Heidelberg Catechism in his German province, with many believing it violated the Peace of Augsburg.
Fredrick III’s Death
Prince Frederick died and most of his province reverted back to Lutheranism.
Catechism Accepted
Along with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt, the Heidelberg Catechism was adopted as one of the “three standards” of Reformed doctrine.
The Heidelberg Catechism was one of the foundational documents used to develop the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
History of the Heidelberg Catechism

What is your only comfort
in life and death? 
That I am not my own,
but belong with body
and soul,
both in life and
in death,
to my faithful
Savior Jesus Christ.  

Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A #1
Article: 7 Min

Why I Love the Heidelberg Catechism

by Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition

ISAIAH 52: 9-10 NKJV

Break forth into joy, sing together,
You waste places of Jerusalem!
For the Lord has comforted His people,
He has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has made bare His holy arm
In the eyes of all the nations;
And all the ends of the earth shall see
The salvation of our God.


“Imprint these words of mine [the LORD] on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 


For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Article: 6 Min

The Heidelberg’s History

by Lyle Bierma at Ligonier Ministries

Message: 28 Min

A Detailed History
of the
Heidelberg Catechism

by Dr. Joel Beeke at the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary


Proclaim things 
onsistent with sound teaching.

Article: 5 Min

Using the Heidelberg Catechism With Your Family

by Erik Raymond at The Gospel Coalition


Train up a child
in the way
he should go,
and when he is old
he will not depart from it.

What Does the Heidelberg Catechism Say?

Intro to the Heidelberg Catechism

The Heidelberg Catechism is easy to learn, because it exists in a question-and-answer format. It explains the Christian faith by asking questions of The Ten Commandments, The Lord's Prayer, and The Apostles' Creed. 

It wonderfully summarizes the Bible’s teaching and gives us a tool to explain what we believe. It’s also a unifying statement, reminding us what all Christians believe.

The catechism is divided into numbered sections, each titled “the Lord’s Day”. It’s divided this way so that people could read one section every Sunday for a year. It’s devotional at heart, aiming to answer the searching heart, establish the wavering youngster, and encourage the seasoned saint.


Preface to the Heidelberg Catechism

Given at Heidelberg on Tuesday, January 19, 1563:
We do herewith affectionately admonish and enjoin upon every one of you, that you do, for the honor of God and other subjects, and also for the sake of your own soul’s profit and welfare, thankfully accept this proffered Catechism or course of instruction, and that you do diligently and faithfully represent and explain the same according to its true import, to the youth in our schools and churches, and also from the pulpit to the common people, that you teach, and act, and live in accordance with it, in the assured hope, that if our youth in early life are earnestly instructed and educated in the Word of God, it will please Almighty God also to grant reformation of public and private morals, and temporal and eternal welfare. Desiring, as above said, that all this may be accomplished, we have made this provision.

by Elector Fredrick III | Source

Encourage one another 


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My Only Comfort

by RYM Worship

Folk | Country Gospel

I Am Not My Own

by Jeremy Benjamin

Praise & Worship

Catechism Song

by Redeemer Church Worship


Heidelberg Catechism

by Curtis “Voice” Allen