What is the biblical root of ‘catechism’?


In Luke 1:4, we read Luke writing to Theophilus “it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed (kat­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ēcheō).”

Kat­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ēcheō (Greek.): means to “instruct” or “teach orally” and is the basis of our English word “catechism”. The verb is used eight times in the New Testament. It is often linked with the early transmission of the gospel, when the apostles and their associates instructed believers by word of mouth.

Luke writes his Gospel to a certain Theophilus, who has already been catechized in this way, in order to confirm and deepen his understanding of Jesus life and teachings (Lk 1:4). Apollos had likewise, learned the rudiments of Christian doctrine by oral instruction (Acts 18:25).

Paul employs this term years earlier when he encourages young Christians to assist their local catechists with financial support (Gal 6:6), and when he stresses that intelligible instruction in the faith is more profitable for God’s people than the unintelligible speech of charismatic tongues (1 Cor 14:19).

The most recent ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’ was given to the church by Pope John Paul II on Oct.11th, 1992, which was the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.

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