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A catechism is simply a manual of instruction that derives its modern meaning from a Greek word (katecheo, to instruct). Some of the greatest minds of human history and of the Christian faith have trained their intellects with the question-answer format often associated with a catechism. It was once common in Christian practice to use the catechism as a teaching tool. For centuries prior to this one and for the fi rst half of the twentieth century, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and parents used the catechism as a primary tool for passing down the lessons of the Bible to the next generation. Sadly in America, this mode of instruction fell into disfavor in the last several decades as a result of modern education’s deemphasis on rote memory. As biblical and theological illiteracy has grown, however, knowing a few biblical and theological facts is now recognized as essential in the attempt to regain a rich evangelical tradition. The catechism, thankfully, is making a comeback for teaching people about Christianity. A catechism is a short text, either in question-and-answer format or paragraph form, which contains explanations about the most fundamental Christian beliefs. It serves as a foundation for instructing children and new converts in the basics of the faith. It functions like the frame of a house—not complete by itself but providing an essential structure on which to attach every detail of the faith. "Hidden in the Heart" continues this centuries-old tradition by posing 132 questions and providing short, simple, accurate answers. The answers given in the catechism are not exhaustive. However, they offer a succinct explanation and a good beginning for further understanding.
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