The Heidelberg Catechism was written at the request of Elector Frederick III, who ruled a German province called the Palatinate in 1563. He commissioned Zacharius Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus to prepare the catechism in order to instruct the youth of the Church and give guidance to the Pastors and Teachers in the Church in the truths of God’s Word. In the early period of the Reformation there was much ignorance about God’s Word because the people had not been taught God’s Word in the Roman Catholic Churches in which they grew up. Frederick wanted the Churches of the Reformation to have a statement of faith to instruct God’s people in truths of God’s Word.
The Heidelberg Catechism was originally published in German and it was quickly translated into other languages and adopted by Reformed Churches in other parts of Europe. The Heidelberg Catechism was soon divided into fifty-two sections so that a section of the catechism could be explained to the congregation each Sunday of the year. The Heidelberg Catechism became one of the most influential and most generally accepted of the several catechisms of Reformation times.
The Heidelberg Catechism follows the same division of Paul’s letter to the Romans. It is divided into three parts, the first dealing with our sin and misery, the second with our deliverance from our sin and misery through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the third with our thankfulness for such deliverance. Lord’s Day 1 has been a great source of comfort for generations of God’s people for it directs them to their only comfort that is to be found in the saving work of Jesus Christ.
You can read the Heidelberg Catechism in its entirety at the Federation of Canadian and American Reformed Churches website:
You can also read more about the Heidelberg Catechism at: