Loehe: Catechetical Questions on the 2nd and 3rd Commandments
From “Questions and Answers on the Six Chief Parts of the Small Catechism of Dr. M. Luther.” By Wilhelm Loehe. Home, School, and Church-Book for Christians of the Lutheran Confession. First Edition. Stuttgart, 1845.
47. What should you not do, according to the second commandment? “Misuse the name of the Lord, my God.”
48. What is the Name of the Lord, Your God? He is called YHWH, that is, “I will be who will be.” Ex. 3:14.
49. Does God have any other names? He has many names, but the name YHWH He has given Himself and only by it does He refer to Himself [sich allein vorbehalten].
50. Is it permissible to misuse the other names of God? I may misuse none of the names which I use to refer to God.
51. According to the explanation of the second commandment, what should you do? Above all, what belongs to the first commandment: to fear and love God.
52. And what should you avoid, out of fear and love of God? “To curse by His name, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive.”
53. But if you nevertheless do any of these things, what are you doing? Then I am misusing His name.
54. Is all cursing and swearing forbidden? Not at all.
55. Is all use of witchcraft, lying, and deceiving forbidden? Yes, all.
56. Why isn’t all cursing forbidden? Because God (Deut 27: 15-26) commands all the people to say “Amen” to the curses He pronounces.
57. But then is one himself cursing, if one to someone else’s curses says “Yes and Amen”? Certainly one then is cursing himself, because he joins in with the curses.
58. Why is not all swearing forbidden? Because God, our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Apostles swore holy oaths, and the word of the Old Testament cannot be cancelled: “ You shall fear the Lord, Your God, and serve Him, and swear in His name.” (Deut. 6:13, 10:20)
59. Which cursing and swearing is forbidden, then in the second commandment? That swearing and cursing through which the name of the Lord would be misused.
60. Is all use of witchcraft, lying and deceiving forbidden by the second commandment? No. The second commandment only forbids witchcraft, lies, and deception which uses God’s name.
61. Why? Because every use of God’s name for witchcraft, lying, and deceiving is a misuse of His name.
62. But what should we do out of fear and love of God according to the second commandment? “We should fear and love God, that we call upon His name in all trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”
63. Then for what end may we use the name of God? In all kinds of prayer.
64. What should you do according to the third commandment? “Keep the holy day sacred.”
65. What was the holy day in the Old Testament? The seventh day of the week, or Saturday.
66. What is the holy day in the New Testament? The first, or Sunday.
67. Why don’t we celebrate the Old Testament Sabbath or Saturday anymore? Because the Holy Spirit says through St. Paul to the Colossians: “So let no one judge you about holy days, or new moons, or Sabbaths.” (Col. 2:16; see also Gal. 4:10)
68. But are we commanded in the New Testament to observe Sunday instead of Saturday? No….
69. So why then does the Church of God celebrate it? It was necessary that one set a day so that the people would know when they should come together; out of Christian freedom they chose Sunday for this purpose, on which the Christians’ holy memories [knuepften]. (Quotes Aug. Conf. Art. 28)
70. Since it no longer lies in the day itself, what is the main thing in the third commandment? It is the thing through which Sunday and all days and all things are sanctified: God’s Word and prayer (1 Tim. 4:5), as also the explanation of the third commandment makes clear.
71. What does the explanation of the third commandment again like the explanation of all the commandments put forth as the first and most necessary thing? The explanation of each commandment commands before everything else that we fulfill the first commandment, that is, “Fear and love God.”
72. And why is that? Because out of the fear and love of God flows the fulfillment of all other commandments.
73. What should we not do, according to the explanation of the third commandment, out of fear and love of God? “Despise preaching and His Word.”
74. But what should we do? “The same hold sacred.”
75. Is it enough that we hold it to be sacred? No, for that very reason we should also “hear it.”
76. And is it pretty much the same no matter how we hear it, as long as we hear it? No, we should “gladly” hear it.
77. And finally, what should we do beyond that? Diligently apply ourselves and “learn” it.