Augsburg Fortress

By Heart

Conversations with Martin Luther’s Small Catechism

By Heart series covers

Experience the Small Catechism in a New Way

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    Comprehensive resource on the Small Catechism

    This richly illustrated book will delight and inform adult readers.

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    Videos inspire conversation

    Short, lively, animated videos help participants quickly engage in the session’s topic.

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    The best of Augsburg Fortress

    The reliable Lutheran grounding of Augsburg Fortress combined with creative Sparkhouse curriculum design as well as top-shelf Fortress Press authors enhance the mix..

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    Easy to lead

    Facilitator guide functions as a simple agenda with freedom to adjust based on the interests, questions, and background of group members.

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.


R. Guy Erwin

Mary Jane Haemig

Ken Sundet Jones

Martin J. Lohrmann

Derek R. Nelson

Kirsi I. Stjerna

Timothy J. Wengert

Hans Wiersma

"Studying the Small Catechism together will give us a common language with which to talk about faith, engage scripture, and make sense of our lives in the 21st century."
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton

Course contents

Each session in By Heart explores a different section of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.

The Story of the Small Catechism
The Ten Commandments
The Apostles’ Creed
The Lord’s Prayer
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism and Confession
The Sacrament of the Altar
Daily Prayer and the Household Chart

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.

Hear the Small Catechism from a New Voice

Begin your study of the Small Catechism today with a new video series from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. Part of the ELCA’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation, With New Voices invites all members of the ELCA to hear the small catechism from new voices and to be renewed in their own voices as witnesses of Jesus Christ.