Learning the Ten Commandments


According to Martin Luther anyone considering himself to be a Christian should at bare minimum know the Ten Commandments, The Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. Luther made this remark in his preface to the Small Catechism.

What prompted Luther’s comment was a visit he paid to parishes that had come under sway of the Reformation. He found the condition in those parishes to be miserable. He found that both the common man, and in many instances, even among the clergy, they did not know the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, or the Ten Commandments!

It was for this reason that Luther penned the Small Catechism. He intended it to be a useful tool, both in the home and in the church, for providing a basic foundation for understanding the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ as reflected in the Old and New Testaments.

For those of us adhering to the Lutheran liturgical tradition and involving ourselves regularly in the weekly Divine Service, we easily know the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed by heart. But our weekly gatherings do not afford us a regular reciting of the Ten Commandments. Many of us would be challenged to name all ten of the Commandments. And yet this listing is important as well. It is an excellent inventory to help us prepare for making a confession of sins.

I have a simple remedy for our lack of familiarity with the Ten Commandments, and that is Luther’s Small Catechism. And I can suggest a tool to which all of you with smart phones can avail. It is the free app from Concordia Press that is available from both the App Store, and from the Play Store (iPhone & Android). Look for “Luther’s Small Catechism Concordia Publishing House”.

With this app you and your family have an effective tool for learning the principal parts of the catechism, namely the Ten Commandments, The Creed, and The Lord’s Prayer. You also will have prayers and devotional material to use in the home. Check it out.

Since You Asked…

What is the purpose and meaning of our Votive Prayer Candles?

To “light a candle for someone” means that you will say a prayer for them. The candle symbolizes your prayers. When we light a candle it is a sign of attentiveness and that we are being purposeful in offering intercessory prayer. It is an important act in which we are involved! To be in prayer is to be spiritually awake and vigilant. And as the candle continues to burn it symbolizes our ongoing prayers. It is a sign to others that prayers are being offered. In such an atmosphere, indeed the darkness gives way to light.