These are the catechetical notes for older children learning the catechism. Each week has an assigned part of the Small Catechism for you to teach your children as well as a corresponding Bible passage to reinforce the Catechism. Your children are expected to memorize the assigned catechism text.
Make sure to recite the “core texts” of the catechism (Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer) every day as part of your devotions. Remember that consistency is key and “repetition is the mother of learning” (repetition est mater studiorum). If you have any questions, please feel free to call, text, or email.
Trinity 26 Small Catechism (Learn-by-Heart)
REVIEW FIRST FIVE COMMANDMENTS WITH “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?”
Sixth Commandment (with What does this mean?)
F: What is the Sixth Commandment?
C: You shall not commit adultery.
F: What does this mean?
C: We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.
Overview for Fathers
Fathers, Luther summarizes the Sixth Commandment in the following way:
“To speak in the briefest way, this much is required of you: everyone must live chastely himself and help his neighbor do the same. By this commandment God wishes to build a hedge round about and protect every spouse so that no one trespasses against him or her.” (§ 205)
To talk to your children about what it means to live “chastely.” You might sum it up as being self-controlled inside or outside of marriage, and being faithful within marriage. Because of what your children know and experience in school and have learned for their friends, you will be better at knowing what appropriate discussion/teaching is needed.
Luther also points out that this is not about being chaste, but also about marriage:
“But this commandment is aimed directly at the estate of marriage and gives us an opportunity to talk about it.” (§ 206)
In catechism class, we spoke at length about what marriage is, but also about what marriage isn’t on the basis of Genesis 2:8–25. This week is a good opportunity to talk about marriage and finding a godly spouse.
This Week’s Bible Passage: Genesis 2:8–25
- What makes man different from trees and plants?
Answers will vary, but most importantly, plants are not living beings in the same sense as animals and they were the original food given to Adam and Eve. Later, after the Great Flood, God gave animals for the people to eat their meat (Genesis 9:3). Trees and plants do not have souls nor the breath of life. Christianity does not teach “mother nature,” pantheism (God the Creator is the same thing as His creation), or panentheism (God is in everything, to the extent that God is confused with nature).
- What makes man different from animals?
Answers will vary, but as God brought all the animals to Adam, it was clear that “there was not found a helper comparable to him” (2:20), or better “there was not found a helper fit for him.” Animals are not the same thing as human beings, and animals are not made in God’s image as are human beings (1:27). Man is also given “dominion” or “rule” over all the animals (1:26). This directly contradicts the evolution worldview. Man is not a “sophisticated ape” or a “high evolved animal.”
- How did God make a spouse (helper) for Adam?
God made a spouse for Adam from his side (“rib”). That is why Eve is called “bone of his bones” and “flesh of his flesh.” So also she is called Wo-Man because she is taken out of Man. Similarly, in Hebrew, man is called “Ish” and woman is called “Ishah.”
- What happens when a man finds a woman?
He is to leave father and mother (2:24), that is, he is to start his own household, headed by his father, and now becomes the new head of his own household.
- What does it mean that man and woman become “one flesh” (2:24)?
This speaks not only of sexual union, but also of the gift of children (where the two concretely become one). However, it also means that man and woman should have the same care for one another as a head cares for its body and vice-versa (see Ephesians 5:22–33).
- What then is marriage? What, then, is off limits?
Marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman. Therefore, divorce is forbidden and is sinful, with few exceptions (Matthew 5:31–32). Also, homosexuality of any kind is sinful and contrary to God’s command (man/man, woman/woman), as well as what is called “polyamory” (more than two partners in a ‘marriage’).
- What does it mean to commit adultery?
It means to cheat or be unfaithful to one’s spouse or to cause another’s spouse to be unfaithful. It also means to have relations outside of the bounds of marriage, by which a man and a woman commit each other by their solemn vows and the blessing of God. Adultery also concerns all other sinful self-pleasing, selfish abuses of God’s gift of sexuality and marriage.
- How then do we protect against adultery?
We protect against adultery by being chaste and modest “in what we say and do.” We should not saw lewd or distasteful things, and we also should live modestly and reserve our bodies for our spouses alone. Therefore, we should also dress in a way that does not draw attention to our bodies or causes others to stumble and break this commandment.