PART 2 Why was it written?
Here is the second installment of the Introduction to Simple Truths. The featured image is the cover of the Poqomchi translation being used in Guatemala.
Why was it written?
Books like this have been around for many, many years. This one was first put together to help new Christians in Asia learn about what the Bible teaches. Many of the questions and answers are not new. They come from other books like this. This one was written to be simple. And this one was written to give teachers and pastors in the church a tool to help train their people about the things that are important. Vérités Simples teaches us to ask genuinely important questions. In fact, many of the questions asked in the little book (catechism) have significance not only for this life, but also for eternal life. Learning to ask really profitable questions is another strong reason for using the book.
- This book helps believers get a good start in their new life in following Jesus because it gives an overview of Christian teaching (doctrine).
- This book helps the believer become familiar with many Bible passages from all of the different parts of the Scriptures.
- This book gives the believer the basic vocabulary to help them discuss the Bible and the things of God with other believers and with people who do not yet believe.
- This book helps believers learn the truths of Scripture so they will be able to recognize errors or false teachings when they hear it.
- This book helps believers know that Scripture is the final authority for the people of God. God guides His people through the words of the Bible.
- This book gives believers a basic path to follow as they grow in their knowledge of God and His word. The “little book” not only helps us learn what to believe, but how to live in a way that pleases God.
How is it used?
Remember that the word catechism is really just another term for teaching. So, the main reason to use a book like this is to teach.
The teacher is usually the pastor of the local congregation. He should be familiar with the content of the little book and know Scripture well enough to demonstrate how the Questions and Answers summarize the Bible and how it helps people understand God’s Word. (In one country in Asia, a group of churches decided that they could not appoint a person to be a pastor unless they had memorized all of the answers from Vérités Simples. Part of the final test for blessing them as pastors was to ask them to explain the answers to the questions and use the Scriptures to do it.) If a pastor is not available, sometimes one Christian can use the book to teach another Christian. Many parents also use a book like this to teach their children about Jesus. In some places, Christians are using the little book as a guide for their group Bible Studies.
Many pastors use a book like this as a guide to preaching in their churches. One pastor in Asia used one or two of these questions (and the verses with them) as the guide for his sermons for more than one year. He said that it helped him work through all the major parts of Christian doctrine and life. And it helped him show his people how the many parts of the Bible fit together.
After this, the pastor would visit with his people during the week. Because each person had their own copy of the little book, he could sit with them and discuss what they had learned each week. He would always remind them that the reason the little book was important was because it helped them understand the more important book – the Bible. The little book is never to draw people’s attention away from the Bible. It is to help them understand it more deeply.
Telling someone about Jesus (Evangelism)
This little book is now in thirty (30) languages and is used in almost 50 countries. Many of the people in those places use the book to help new believers learn more about what the Bible teaches. And in some places, Christians give the books to people who do not yet know Jesus. Then they offer to sit with them and tell them about the Questions and Answers found there. Sometimes, they also share stories from the Bible with them when they meet. Some of these people decide they would like to become Christians when they understand the good news about Jesus. Giving away this little book to people who are not Christians can provide an opportunity to share Jesus with them.
Talking by the way
The little book can also help good Christians encourage one another. It is important to talk about God and his ways in our conversations with other believers. When we talk about the things we learn in the little book (Vérités Simples), this will help to shape those conversations.