When we decided to use a catechism with our three year old daughter, my first thought was to use The Children’s Catechism. Some of the questions are perfect for this (“Who made you? God”) but many use archaic language or just seem beyond the grasp of a three year old (“What is sin? Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of the law of God.”). I believe that precision has its place, but not at the expense of understanding.
So I went through the Children’s Catechism with an aim to modernize the language, simplify the wording, simplify the concepts, and shorten the responses. I have very intentionally kept some words and concepts that are beyond the grasp of a three year old but that will create theological “buckets” in her mind for the future. So this catechism teaches the meanings of the words salvation, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and adoption, as well as teaching that Christ is our prophet, priest, and king. These are concepts a three year old can understand (God forgives me, God is my Father, Jesus teaches me, Jesus protects me). My hope is that introducing the vocabulary at a young age will (a) provide a label for the theological bucket, (b) make theological vocabulary less intimidating as she grows up, and (c) clarify sound doctrine (most Americans believe “God forgives me” and “God is our father” but how many believe in the doctrines of justification by faith alone or adoption?)
This is the best, flawed, attempt of one father to use a catechism to teach his three year old girl about God, life, and the Bible. If it is helpful to another parent as well, I praise God for it.
Q 1. Who made you?
Q 2. What else did God make?
A. God made everything.
Q 3. Why did God make you and everything?
A. For his glory.
Q 4. How can you glorify God?
A. By loving him and doing what he says.
Q 5. Why should you glorify God?
A. Because he made me and takes care of me.
Q 6. Does God have a body?
A. No, God does not have a body.
Q 7. Where is God?
Q 8. Can you see God?
A. No, but he always sees me.
Q 9. Does God know everything?
Q 10. Can God do all things?
A. Yes, God can do whatever he wants.
Q 11. Where do you learn how to love and obey God?
A. The Bible.
Q 12. Who gave us the Bible?
Q 13. Can we trust the Bible?
A 13. Yes. It is God’s Word.
Q 14. Who were our first parents?
A. Adam and Eve.
Q 15. What did God give Adam and Eve besides bodies?
A. He gave them souls that could never die.
Q 16. Do you have a body and a soul?
A. Yes, I have a soul that can never die.
Q 17. How do you know that you have a soul?
A. The Bible tells me so.
Q 18. What were Adam and Eve like when God made them?
A. They were holy and happy.
Q 19. What is Sin?
A. Sin is disobeying God.
Q 20. What was our first parents’ sin?
A. They ate the fruit that God said not to eat.
Q 21. Who tempted them to sin?
A. The devil.
Q 22. What happened to our first parents when they sinned?
A. They became sinful and sad.
Q 23. What does every sin deserve?
A. God’s wrath.
Q 24. Can people go to heaven with a sinful heart?
A. No, our heart has to be changed.
Q 25. Who can change our heart?
A. The Holy Spirit.
Q 26. What is it called when the Holy Spirit changes hearts?
Q 27. Who is Jesus?
A. God’s son.
Q 28. What else do we call Jesus?
Q 29. Why do we call Jesus “Christ”?
A. Because God chose him to save us.
Q 30. Was Jesus rich or poor?
A. Jesus was poor.
Q 31. Did Jesus ever sin?
A. No, he was holy and perfect.
Q 32. How did Jesus die?
A. Jesus died on the cross.
Q 33. What happened after Jesus died?
A. He rose from the grave.
Q 34. Why did Jesus have to die?
A. To save his people from Sin.
Q 35. Who will be saved?
A. People who repent and believe in Jesus.
Q 36. What does it mean to repent?
A. To be sorry for sin and want to stop sinning.
Q 37. What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
A. To trust Jesus to save me.
Q 38. Can you repent and believe in Jesus by yourself?
A. No, I need God’s Holy Spirit to help me.
Q 39. How can you get the Holy Spirit to help you?
A. I can ask God for his help.
Q 40. What is it called when Jesus saves us?
Q 41. What are the parts of salvation?
A. Justification, sanctification, and adoption.
Q 42. What is justification?
A. When God forgives us for our sin.
Q 43. What is sanctification?
A. When God makes us holy.
Q 44. What is adoption?
A. When God becomes our Father and makes us his children.
Offices of Christ
Q 45. What are the offices of Christ?
A. Prophet, priest, and king.
Q 46. How is Christ a prophet?
A. He teaches us God’s will.
Q 47. How is Christ a priest?
A. He died for our sins and prays for us.
Q 46. How is Christ a king?
A. He rules over us and defends us.
Q 48. Why do we need Christ as a prophet?
A. Because we are ignorant.
Q 49. Why do we need Christ as a priest?
A. Because we are guilty.
Q 50. Why do we need Christ as a king?
A. Because we are weak and helpless.
To Be Continued…
If you are familiar with existing catechisms you may know that from here they will typically move to cover the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the church ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and the return of Christ. Our catechism ends here, since it is just our attempt to bridge the gap of catechisms for toddlers. Once our children are older and have completed these questions, our family will move to the Westminster Shorter Catechism or the New City Catechism.