Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism

Sources, History, and Theology

series: Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase


"This valuable book provides a fresh examination of the Heidelberg Catechism, and of the German Reformation which was its setting and gave it birth. . . . An indispensable research tool."--Paul Helm, Ecclesiastical History

This work examines key aspects of the development of the Heidelberg Catechism, including historical background, socio-political origins, purpose, authorship, sources, and theology. The book includes the first ever English translations of two major sources of the Heidelberg Catechism--Ursinus's Smaller and Larger Catechisms--and a bibliography of research on the document since 1900. Students of the Reformed tradition and the Protestant Reformation will value this resource.


"An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism is a valuable addition to studies on the magisterial catechism ratified at Heidelberg. First, it summarizes and updates scholarly research on the purpose and authorship of the catechism. Second, it breaks new ground on the historical origins and the theological sources and orientation of the catechism. Third, it offers a helpful summary and bibliography of the early editions and translations of the catechism as well as a thorough bibliography of studies on the catechism since 1900. Finally, and most importantly, it provides the first English translations of Zacharias Ursinus's Smaller Catechism and Larger Catechism, from which so much of the Heidelberg Catechism was drawn."
--Joel R. Beeke, president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

"This multifaceted volume contains invaluable resources for understanding the Heidelberg Catechism. The various authors make distinctive contributions toward understanding the background and theology of the catechism with the centerpiece being the translations of Ursinus's two catechisms, which provide fascinating parallels to the Heidelberg Catechism itself. Anyone interested in the Heidelberg Catechism will have their understanding and appreciation enriched by these studies."--I. John Hesselink, Albertus Van Raalte Professor of Theology, emeritus, Western Theological Seminary

"Everyone who cherishes the Heidelberg Catechism will want to read this book, for Bierma and the contributors he has assembled have made this warm and precise statement of the faith even more accessible. This book will leave those unfamiliar with the Heidelberg Catechism wondering how they could have missed a theological gem of such brilliance. Rarely does a book about a classic text do justice to the original. This one comes close."--Darryl Hart, director of fellowship programs and scholar-in-residence, Intercollegiate Studies Institute

"This excellent study of the background to the Heidelberg Catechism is a splendid addition to the growing number of studies in Reformation and post-Reformation thought. Scholars and students will welcome its attention to detail, bibliographical references, and measured judgments. This is also a book for all Christians who love the Heidelberg Catechism. These pages are a treasure store of information on one of the truly great documents of the Reformed church."--Sinclair B. Ferguson, professor of systematic theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Dallas

The Authors

  1. Lyle D. Bierma

    Lyle D. Bierma

    Lyle D. Bierma (Ph.D., Duke University) is professor of systematic theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. Charles D. Gunnoe Jr. (Ph.D., University of Virginia) is associate professor of history at Aquinas College. Karin Y. Maag (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews) is...

    Continue reading about Lyle D. Bierma

  2. Charles D. Gunnoe Jr.

    Charles D. Gunnoe Jr.

    Continue reading about Charles D. Gunnoe Jr.

  3. Karin Maag

    Karin Maag

    Karin Maag (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews) is the director of the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies in Grand Rapids. She has authored and edited three other volumes on the Reformation.

    Continue reading about Karin Maag

  4. Paul W. Fields

    Paul W. Fields

    Continue reading about Paul W. Fields


"This valuable book provides a fresh examination of the Heidelberg Catechism, and of the German Reformation which was its setting and gave it birth. . . . The book provides an indispensable research tool for the study of a document which not only has considerable historical significance, but continues to have importance in Reformed Churches with a German or Dutch origin."--Paul Helm, Ecclesiastical History

"Have you understood that Casper Olevianus and Zacharius Ursinus wrote the Heidelberg Catechism? If so, this is a book you need to read. . . . [The] bibliography could be of great service to those who want to do modern research. If you preach out of the Heidelberg Catechism, if you study the Heidelberg Catechism, if you for any reason are interested in the Heidelberg Catechism, this book is an indispensable tool for you to own."--J. Peter Vosteen, Kerux

"The translations into English of Ursinus's Larger and Smaller Catechisms are a valuable contribution to the field of Reformation studies. . . . This introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism is an outstanding compilation. It provides its readers with a background to the HC and complements other existing works on the same topic. It is written in a style that would allow it to be used as a textbook for colleges and seminaries in the years to come."--Luka Ilić, Sixteenth Century Journal