What’s the big deal about this “little book”? PART 1
One of the most significant bits of ministry that we do at Clear and Simple Media is the translation and distribution of our small evangelical catechism, Simple Truths. The “little book” is now in 30 languages and over 200,000 have been distributed and are in use in Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe, and Australia.
In a recent distribution project, we had a request to write an introduction for the French translation, specifically to help pastors and church workers know how to use the book. We thought it might be a good idea to include that introduction here for those who are interested. Because it is rather lengthy, we will publish it as a 3 post series.
Why is this little book important?
What is this book?
This book (Vérités Simples) is a set of questions and answers to help people understand what the Bible teaches. Some people call this a catechism. If the word catechism does not sound familiar to you, don’t be too surprised. It’s not used as commonly today as it was in the past. However, it’s not a complicated word. It comes from a Greek word that simply means to teach. When a teacher sat face-to-face with a student to teach them something, this was the word that was used to describe what the teacher was doing.
The word is also found in the Bible. The original Greek word is found, for example, in Luke 1:4, where the gospel writer explains that he has written “an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Presumably, then, Theophilus had learned about salvation in Jesus Christ by listening to preaching or some kind of oral instruction. Now Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, gives a written account about who Jesus is and what he did. Other Bible verses which use the verb, to catechize, include Acts 18:24-25 and Galatians 6:6. Each time the word is translated as to teach or to instruct.
The basic structure
So this little book (Vérités Simples), then, is a teaching tool that is especially suited for oral instruction. This also explains why this book is set up in a question and answer format. When you read it, it’s like you’re right there in the classroom, with the teacher asking the questions and the students giving the answers. The answers in the little book (Vérités Simples) are generally quite short and carefully structured. This helps to make the little book a memorable and useful tool for instructing people in the basic truths about salvation in Jesus Christ. There are 144 Questions and Answers divided over 5 parts.
Here are the five (5) main parts:
- Part ONE God and Man Questions 1 to 26
- Part TWO Sin and Law Questions 27 to 62
- Part THREE Christ and Salvation Questions 63 to 90
- Part FOUR Spirit and Church Questions 91 to 117
- Part FIVE Prayer and Hope Questions 118 to 144
The Bible and the “little book”
Always remember, the “little book” (catechism) is not a replacement for Scripture. It is meant to lead you deeper into the Word of God, not draw you away from it. That’s why under each Question you will see lists of Bible verses. Each list of verses is short. It has only a few verses that show where the answers can be found in the Bible. It gives you an idea which Bible passages the Answer is summarizing. There are many more verses that could be included with each answer. But these are included to help you get started.