Oorsprong van die drievoudige struktuur van die Heidelbergse Kategismus

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The Heidelberg Catechism was one of many catechisms that originated during the 16th-century Reformation. It is also known that the authors of the Heidelberg Catechism made use of existing catechisms. The content of 16th-century catechisms consisted mainly of the Decalogue, the Apostolicum and the Lord’s Prayer. The Heidelberg Catechism starts with the famous introduction, dealing with man’s only comfort, and in three sections with knowledge of our sin and misery, knowledge of our deliverance, and knowledge of how we should be grateful for our deliverance. This contribution points out that the threefold structure of the Heidelberg Catechism is not unique, but appeared in different ways in different catechisms of prominent 16th-century reformers. It is also argued that the Heidelberg Catechism should be read against Lutheran and Calvinistic backgrounds. Finally, it is shown that the Heidelberg Catechism articulated the basic Christian faith in such a beautiful and poignant manner that it stood the test of time as a catechism and confession.