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January 1 - LD 1, Day 1: The Value of the Heidelberg Catechism

Lord’s Day 1

Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer. That I with [a] body and soul, both in life and death, [b] am not my own, but belong [c] unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious [d]blood, hath fully [e] satisfied for all my sins, and delivered [f] me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me [g] that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair [h] can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be [i] subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me [j] of eternal life, and makes [k] me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

Question 2. How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?

Answer. Three; [l] the first, how great [m] my sins and miseries are; the second, how I may be delivered [n] from all my sins and miseries; the third, how I shall express my gratitude [o] to God for such deliverance.

[a]: 1 Cor. 6:19,20
[b]: Rom. 14:7,8,9
[c]: 1 Cor. 3:23
[d]: 1Pet. 1:18,19
[e]: 1 John 1:7
[f]: 1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14,15
[g]: John 6:39; John 10:28,29
[h]: Luke 21:18; Matt. 10:30
[i]: Rom. 8:28
[j]: 2Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor 5:5
[k]: Rom. 8:14; Rom. 7:22
[l]: Luke 24:47
[m]: 1 Cor. 6:10,11; John 9:41; Rom 3:10,19
[n]: John 17:3
[o]: Eph. 5:8,9,10


January 1 - LD 1, Day 1: The Value of the Heidelberg Catechism
by Prof Herman Hanko


Read: John 14:16-18; 14:26-28; 15:26; 17:7-11; 17:13, 14.

The Reformation, begun in Germany by Martin Luther, spread throughout Germany and came to a province called, The Palatinate, with its capital in Heidelberg. Over this province Frederick the Wise ruled, who was persuaded of the truth of the Reformation doctrines taught by John Calvin in Geneva, a fairly short distance south of Heidelberg. He was a godly and pious man and was concerned that the children and young people of his province learned and understood the truths of Scripture taught by Calvin.

He himself had been raised a Lutheran, but had through a long time of study, become convinced that the doctrines taught by Calvin were more faithful to the Scriptures. He wanted the province over which he ruled to be a province faithful to the teachings of John Calvin.

For this action he was summoned before a general council, called together for purposes of condemning him. But his genuine piety, his love for the truth, and his deep sincerity made such an impression on the council that they did not care to condemn him. You may find the story of this great man in my “Portraits of Faithful Saints.”

Frederick, therefore, instructed a professor of theology in the University of Heidelberg, Zacharias Ursinus, and the court minister, Caspar Olevianus, to prepare a Catechism which could serve this purpose.

The result of their work was our wonderful Heidelberg Catechism (HC). Although, before its publication in 1563 it underwent a few changes, the final form was soon adopted by churches throughout Europe. Its simplicity (understandable by children), its beauty of expression, and its theme of comfort attracted the loyalty of thousands. It became the personal confession of the faith of multitudes.

The great Synod of Dordt (1618-1619) adopted it as the confessional bases of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, and so it has remained a part of the confessional heritage of the Reformed Churches throughout the world. This synod also saw that the book was a wonderful tool for the systematic instruction of God’s people in the “whole counsel of God.” And so they ordered that the HC be preached in the churches once a Sunday. Hence the HC has 52 Lord’s Days. This was done so that the ministers might go through the Catechism in its entirety every year.

It is a book of instruction ideally suited to preaching with its motif of comfort for the believer in the truth God revealed in Scripture.

The HC has been translated into many different languages and is loved by thousands in all parts of the world.

Last modified on 26 December 2015

Additional Info

  • Date: 1-January
Hanko, Herman

Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)

Ordained: October 1955

Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965

Emeritus: 2001


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