Structured Shorter Catechism

Are you looking for a super-cheap Christmas present for that confessional-type person in your life who is dissatisfied with traditional pocket-size bookets of the Shorter Catechism because (a) the paragraph-shaped jumble of words and scripture proofs does nothing to reveal the grammatical and logical structure, and (b) $3.95 is not a price, but a regular subscription fee, because after a few months of living in your back pocket, or on your car seat (or on the floor of the car), etc., it’s torn to shreds? (Sorry, that question-sentence was way too long.)

Well look no further! The Structured Shorter Catechism project that I began about a year ago (I unveiled part 1, “What man is to believe concerning God”, last Feb) is complete! Problem (a) is solved, because this Shorter Catechism differs from most (all?) others out there in that it has only the single, simple goal of being a memorization tool, and to that end, it presents the Q&A in an organized, structured fashion designed to support memorization. And problem (b) is solved because this is totally free (or at least costs no more than printing a few sheets of paper).

There’s a legend at the bottom of the first page, but the features of the Structured Shorter Catechism are

  • Keywords in bold
  • Repetition (in order) illustrated with blue
  • Repetition (out of order), or contrast, illustrated with red
  • Answers that don’t begin by repeating their Question are in green
  • Structure is illustrated by alignment

As before, I paste an image that illustrates all of the features in one Q&A:

According to the overall organization of the catechism, there are three parts:

  1. What man is to believe concerning God (1-38)
  2. What duty God requires of man (10 commandments) (39-82)
  3. Faith, Repentance, Word, Sacraments, and Prayer (83-107)

Here’s the full-size PDF. It’s 24 pages, but two of them are blank, for the purpose of keeping things at 8 pages per part for the folded versions below. I can’t imagine any use for a printout this big, except maybe taping onto the wall of a Sunday School room.

Here’s the quarter-size PDF. It’s 6 pages. It should be pretty clear how to fold them once you print them out, so that you end up with six 4-page booklets, each of which has page 1 on the front cover, pages 2-3 inside, and page 4 on the back. Or, if you can wrangle double-sided printer, then you can get it onto 3 sheets with one part of the catechism each — but then you have to inside-out your booklets to get to the backside. But three quarter-folded sheets of paper is pretty convenient for a back-pocket.

Here’s the eigth-size PDF, my favorite. It’s 3 pages, one page per part. The print is quite small, so you need good eyes (and a good color printer). If you can print double-sided, then you can get it down to two sheets — but again, you would have to inside-out your folding sometimes. Speaking of which, here is a link that tells you how to do the complicated PocketMod folding. That folding is kind of magical — it would make a good craft for a kid, which might also inspire them to actually use it for memorization! If you teach Sunday School, why not (have your church office) print out copies for all your students? Keep a stack of unfolded printouts for visitors, forgetters, etc. That’s one of the principal advantages of this format, the disposability. If your copy gets lost, torn, folded, spindled, or mutilated, just chuck it and print another!

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This entry was posted in Catechesis, Christian life, Confessionalism, Confessions, Education, Family, History, Reformed Confessionalism, Reformed piety, Resources, The Protestant Reformation. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Structured Shorter Catechism

  1. Pingback: Non-Westminster Catechism | The Confessional Outhouse

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