364) The Apostle’s Creed in Luther’s Catechism

From Martin Luther’s Small Catechism (1529) (1929 translation)

1605 edition of the Small Catechism by Martin Luther  (1483-1546)


THE FIRST ARTICLE:  I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has created me and all that exists; that he has given and still preserves to me my body and soul, my eyes and ears, and all my members, my reason and all the powers of my soul, together with food and raiment, home and family, and all my property; that he daily provides abundantly for all the needs of my life, protects me from all danger, and guards and keeps me from all evil; and that He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness on my part; for all of which I am in duty bound to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him.  This is most certainly true.


THE SECOND ARTICLE:  And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell;  the third day He rose again from the dead;  He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;  From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true Man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord; who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, bought me and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with silver and gold, but with His holy and precious blood, and with His innocent sufferings and death; in order that I might be His own, live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness; even as He is risen from the dead, and lives and reigns to all eternity.  This is most certainly true.


THE THIRD ARTICLE:  I believe in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;
the Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting.  Amen.

What does this mean?

I believe I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him;  but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith;  in like manner as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He daily forgives abundantly all my sins, and the sins of all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ.  This is most certainly true.


Romans 10:9-10  —  …If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

II Corinthians 4:13-14  —  It is written:  “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”  With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.

I John 5:13  —  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 

I pray Lord for your blessings upon the home and the state.  Help us all to be devout, to honor our parents, to be obedient to our rulers, and to withstand the devil, refusing to follow his enticements to disobedience and strife.  Help us in our efforts to improve our homes and nation, and to preserve peace for your praise and glory, and for the promotion of everything that is good.  Grant that we may acknowledge these as your gifts and give you thanks for them.  Amen.   –Martin Luther