Help with Catechism Questions

At our church, we hold to the Westminster Catechisms. But we also have a family catechism which our families often use during family worship or homeschool. I put it together from various sources but it is simplified and in more modern language. It is also a little more expansive having questions about biblical sexuality, civil government, the events in the life of Jesus. I have been working on a section on church history. I’ll post some of those questions and answers in a subsequent comment. I am hoping to get some help with how you might answer these two questions in a catechism for families.

  1. What is tradition?
  2. What is the proper use of tradition?

As promised here are some of the other questions:

Q. Why ought we to study church history?
A. Because scripture teaches us to remember the works of God, we ought therefore to study church history so that we may

  1. rejoice in the providence of God for His Church
  2. learn from the victories and the failures of those came before,
  3. be guarded against error,
  4. imitate the faithfulness of those who came before
  5. and be encouraged to persevere in Jesus.

Q. What is a saint?
A. A saint is a “holy one,” someone who is set apart for God’s special purposes. Every Christian, whether in heaven or on earth, is made holy by Jesus Christ and therefore may be properly called a saint.

Q. May we honor the saints who have gone on before us?
A. Yes, we may honor the saints in heaven because Holy Scripture says to give honor to whom honor is due.

Q. How do we honor the saints?
A. We properly honor the saints when we

  1. Remember them with fondness
  2. Give thanks for God for their godly example
  3. Imitate their faith and other good virtues
  4. And are encouraged by their example to endure in the faith.

Q. May we pray to the saints?
A. No, we do not pray to the saints because Jesus is the only Mediator, God has commanded us to pray only to Him in the name of Jesus Christ, and only God has the power to hear and answer our prayers.

Q. May we bow down or worship at paintings or statues of the saints?
A. No, God’s holy law requires that we worship God alone and forbids that we worship idols. To give religious worship to the saints is to dishonor both they and the God they worship.

Q. May we honor Mary?
A. Yes, we honor Mary as we do other saints because she was the mother of Jesus Christ, Holy Scripture says all nations shall call her blessed and she believed in Jesus Christ to save her from her sins.

Q. May we pray to Mary?
A. No, we do not pray to or worship Mary because she is not a mediator nor a sinless savior. We would dishonor her memory by giving her glory due to Jesus Christ alone.

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Proof text idea: II Thessalonians 2:15

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Here’s a starting place:

A. Tradition is the teaching and way of life that is passed on to us from those who have lived before us.

A. Tradition is properly used when it helps us to love God more and keep His commandments. Tradition is improperly used when it distracts us from God or takes the place of His commandments in our heart.


Dear Alex,

Thank you. I was having a hard time putting it so succinctly.


Tradition is improperly used when it leads us away from God and His Word. (Proof text “you nullify the Word of God for the sake of your traditions”)


I know without tradition; life is as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.