THE HANDBOOK: 
BASICS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

PART  ONE
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

A simple way in which the head of the household should teach them to the household.

The First Commandment

You will not have any other gods.

What does this mean?
We will fear, love and trust in God above all things so that we do not place our identity, security, and meaning anywhere other than in God, such as the false gods of possessions, wealth, vocation, political affiliation, or earthly relationships, but instead, receive our true identity, security, and meaning from God.

The Second Commandment

You will not misuse the name of the LORD your God.

What does this mean?
We will fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear false oaths, practice magic, lie, or deceive using God’s name, but instead, use God’s name in every time of need to call on, pray to, praise, and give thanks.

The Third Commandment

You will observe the day of rest to keep it holy.

What does this mean?
We will fear and love God so that we do not despise God’s Word or hearing and learning it, and so that we do not neglect our mental and physical health or relationships with God and one another, but instead, receive God’s gift of rest with gratitude, keep God’s Word holy, and gladly hear and learn it so that we are reminded that our true identity, security, and meaning is received from God. (Mark 2:27, Matthew 11:28)

The Fourth Commandment

You will honor your father and mother.

What does this mean?
We will fear and love God so that we do not hate or anger our parents and others in authority, but instead, honor, serve, obey, love, and appreciate them.

The Fifth Commandment

You will not murder.

What does this mean?
We will fear and love God so that we do not cause hurt or bodily harm to our neighbor, but instead, help and support them in all of life’s needs.

The Sixth Commandment

You will not commit adultery.

What does this mean?
We will fear and love God so that we lead sexually pure and decent lives in what we say and do, and each of us loves and honors his wife or her husband.

The Seventh Commandment

You will not steal.

What does this mean?
We will fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any way that is dishonest, but instead, help them to improve and protect their possessions and income.

The Eighth Commandment

You will not give false testimony against your neighbor.

What does this mean?
We will fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray or slander them, gossip about them, or destroy their reputation, but instead, defend them, speak well of them, and give them the benefit of the doubt by putting put the best construction on everything that they do.

The Ninth Commandment

You will not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?
We will fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or property, or try to get it for ourselves in a way that only appears to be right—even if it is legal—but instead, be satisfied with what God has given us, and be of help and service to our neighbor in keeping what is theirs.

The Tenth Commandment

You will not covet your neighbor’s spouse, employees, cars, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.

What does this mean?
We will fear and love God so that we do not entice, force, or steal away our neighbor’s spouse, workers, or possessions, or turn them against him, but instead, urge them to stay and fulfill their responsibility to our neighbors.

This commandment has been adapted for our current context. In Exodus 20:17 the commandment reads, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (ESV)

The Close of the Commandments

What God say about all these commandments?
He says, “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Ex. 20:5–6, ESV)
What does this mean?
God wants us to trust in Him above all things so that our deepest and strongest relationship is with Him. We trust God by keeping His Commandments, and when we go our own way, God has arranged it so that the consequences of our actions will have a negative impact on ourselves and others. When we violate his Commandments, we will find ourselves in bondage to our sins, to futility, and to Satan. However, when we align our way of life with these guidelines, God promises grace and every blessing. We will find that our love and trust for God will grow stronger, we will delight in doing his will, and we will be a blessing to others.

PART  TWO
THE CREED

A simple way in which the head of the household should teach this to the household.

The First Article: Creation

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?
I believe that God has created me and everything that exists. God has provided me with my body and soul, my eyes, ears, and all my limbs, as well as my reason and all my senses, and God continues to take care of them.
God also provides clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, land, animals, vehicles, and all I have. Daily and abundantly, God also provides everything I need to feed and support this body and life. God protects me against all danger and guards and keeps me from all evil.
All of this is done purely out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit, accomplishment, or worthiness in me. For all of this, my response to God is to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

The Second Article: Redemption

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, 
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, 
born of the Virgin Mary, 
suffered under Pontius Pilate, 
was crucified, died and was buried. 
He descended into hell. 
The third day He rose again from the dead. 
He ascended into heaven 
and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. 
From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true human being, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned human creature, purchased and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with dollars and cents, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death. Jesus Christ has done all this so that I may belong to Him and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and rules forever and ever. This is most certainly true.

† According to Mueller, “The Father is the source of the other two persons of the Trinity. He was not created by anyone, nor is he begotten by anyone. The Father is the origin. The Son owes his existence to the Father. He was not created by anyone, including the Father, yet he is eternally begotten by the Father. We beget things that are of the same nature as ourselves; we make things that do not share our nature. So a human being can beget human children, but make things that are not human. Saying that the Father begets the Son means, in part, that the Son is true God and not part of creation. His existence derives from the Father, and he is of the same substance as the Father. Yet since the triune God is eternal, this all happens without reference to time.”

The Third Article: Sanctification (Being Made Holy)

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, 
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen

What does this mean?
I believe that I cannot by my own understanding or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him, but instead, the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, made me holy, and kept me in the true faith, just as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, the Holy Spirit daily and abundantly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day, the Holy Spirit will raise me and all the dead and will give eternal life to me and all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true.

† The Gospel is the good news that God has fulfilled His promise to reconcile us into a right relationship with Himself and the world, not through anything that we have done, but through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who will one day return to restore all of creation from the consequences of sin.

PART  THREE
THE LORD'S PRAYER

A simple way in which the head of the household should teach this to the household.

Our Father who art in heaven, 
hallowed be Thy name, 
Thy kingdom come, 
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread; 
and forgive us our trespasses 
as we forgive those who trespass against us; 
and lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil. 
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory 
forever and ever. Amen.

The Introduction

Our Father who art in heaven.

What does this mean?
With these words, God lovingly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that we may boldly ask Him with complete confidence, just as loving children ask their loving father.

The First Petition

Hallowed be Thy name.

What does this mean?
It is completely true that the name of God is holy in itself, but we ask in this prayer that God’s name may be honored as holy among us also.
How is God’s name honored as holy?
God’s name is honored as holy when the Word of God is taught clearly, truthfully, and purely, and we, as God’s children, also live holy lives according to God’s Word. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! On the other hand, anyone who teaches or lives in any way other than what the Word of God teaches, misuses and abuses the name of God among us. Protect us from this, Heavenly Father!

The Second Petition

Thy kingdom come.

What does this mean?
It is completely true that the kingdom of God comes on its own without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also come to us.
How does the kingdom of God come?
The kingdom of God comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His Holy Word and live godly [righteous] lives here in time and ultimately in eternity.

The Third Petition

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?
It is completely true that the good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also be done in and among us.
How is God’s will done?
God’s will is done when God breaks and prevents every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our own sinful nature, which do not want us to honor God’s name as holy and would like to prevent the coming of the kingdom of God. God’s will is also done when He strengthens and keeps us firmly in His Word and in faith until we die. This is God’s good and gracious will.

The Fourth Petition

Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?
It is completely true that God gives daily bread to everyone without our prayer—even to all evil people! But we ask in this prayer that God would help us to recognize what our daily bread is and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread?
Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the nourishment, support, and needs of our bodies. This includes, but is not limited to, food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, cars, money, property, a devoted husband or wife, devoted children, devoted workers, devoted and faithful authorities, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

The Fifth Petition

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean?
We ask in this prayer that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, nor deny our prayer because of them. We are not worthy of the things that we pray for, and we do not deserve them. Instead, we ask that God would give them all to us by grace, because we sin many times every day, and we do not deserve anything but punishment. This is why we also want to sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

† Grace is a free gift, that you don’t deserve, that you don’t have to do anything to get, and as soon as you have to do something to get it, it is no longer grace.

The Sixth Petition

And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?
God does not tempt anyone! We ask in this prayer that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Even though we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.

The Seventh Petition

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?
In summary, we ask in this prayer, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every kind of evil—in body and soul, possessions and reputation—and finally, when the hour of our death arrives, give us a blessed end, and take us by grace from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.

The Conclusion

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

What does this mean?
This means that I should be confident that these prayers are pleasing to our Father in heaven, and that these prayers are heard by Him, because God Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen means “yes, yes, it shall be so.”