(The Small Catechism of Martin Luther)
Translated by Robert E. Smith
May 22, 1994
The Sacrament of Holy
The Simple Way a Father Should Present it to His Household
Q. What is Baptism?
A. Baptism is not just
plain water, but it is water contained within God's
command and united with God's Word.
Q. Which Word of God
A. The one which our
Lord Christ spoke in the last chapter of Matthew:
Go into all the
world, teaching all heathen nations, and baptizing them
in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy
Q. What does Baptism
give? What good is it?
A. It gives the
forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the Devil,
gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, just as
God's words and promises declare.
Q. What are these
words and promises of God?
A. Our Lord Christ
spoke one of them in the last chapter of Mark:
and is baptized will be saved; but whoever does not
believe will be damned.
Q. How can water do
such great things?
A. Water doesn't make
these things happen, of course. It is God's Word, which
is with and in the water. Because, without God's Word,
the water is plain water and not baptism. But with God's
Word it is a Baptism, a grace-filled water of life, a
bath of new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul said
to Titus in the third chapter:
Through this bath
of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which He
poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our
Savior, that we, justified by the same grace are made
heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a
Q. What is the meaning
of such a water Baptism?
A. It means that the
old Adam in us should be drowned by daily sorrow and
repentance, and die with all sins and evil lusts, and,
in turn, a new person daily come forth and rise from
death again. He will live forever before God in
righteousness and purity.
Q. Where is this
A. St. Paul says to
the Romans in chapter six:
We are buried with
Christ through Baptism into death, so that, in the same
way Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the
Father, thus also must we walk in a new life.
This text was translated in 1994
for Project Wittenberg by Robert E. Smith and is in the public
domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please
direct any comments or suggestions to:
Rev. Robert E. Smith
Concordia Theological Seminary.
Surface Mail: 6600 N. Clinton St., Ft. Wayne, IN 46825 USA
Phone: (260) 452-3149 - Fax: (260) 452-2126