By Heart

Conversations with Martin Luther's Small Catechism

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Experience the Small Catechism in a New Way.

Announcing By Heart: Conversations with Martin Luther's Small Catechism, a new 7-session course to encourage engagement with the Small Catechism. This in-depth exploration of the Small Catechism is designed to be used in group discussion and as a stand-alone book for personal enrichment. This resource will facilitate powerful discussions throughout your entire congregation as we continue to explore Luther's Small Catechism during the year of the observation of the 500th anniversary of the reformation and beyond. 

This rich guide is complete with annotations and commentary on the text of the Small Catechism. Written to generate meaningful conversations about the biblical and historical context of the Small Catechism, its link to the church's faith, and its connections to Luther's life and our lives together today.

Contributors include: Guy Erwin, Mary Jane Haemig, Ken Sundet Jones, Martin J. Lohrmann, Derek R. Nelson, Kirsi I. Stjerna, Timothy J. Wengert, and Hans Wiersma

In addition to the central book the resource family will include a Leader’s Guide and a DVD to facilitate congregational and group use to encourage deeper engagement with the Small Catechism congregation-wide.

Sign up today to be notified when this new resource family will be available from Augsburg Fortress. 

The Three Focuses in By Heart


The entire course is built around three kinds of source material that we see as essential to a meaningful experience of Luther’s Small Catechism.

  • Scripture and Tradition. For example, the Ten Commandments as cited in Exodus 20 or the Apostle’s Creed as we have it from Christian traditions.
  • Luther’s explanations of the scripture or doctrine from Christian traditions.
  • The "backstory" of Luther’s own life and times, the fertile soil of the Reformation itself.

"For You" Focus


The contributions to By Heart address the reader in the second person. This is to keep faith with both the everyday, ground-level language that Luther uses in the explanations and to embody the declarative nature of the gospel which he strove to encode in that language. By adhering to the "for-you-ness" of the gospel in the design of this course we hope to do some justice to Luther’s intentions in the Small Catechism.

By Heart DVD Sample

This is an example of what you can expect from the videos for each session of the course. Because each chapter in the By Heart book contains more information than any one group can cover in a single meeting, the videos provide a quick and fun way to focus the group’s attention toward the material in the book.