A simple Google search including words like "Kids", "Catechism", and "Westminster" will leave you with a handful of different (although yes, similar) versions of the same thing.
I've heard it referred to as Catechism for Young Children, An Introduction to the Shorter Catechism, Kids' Catechism, First Catechism for Children, Westminster Shorter Catechism for Children - just to name a few!
Note: If you don't know anything about using a catechism with your kids, go read this short post first.
I know just how frustrating it can be when I'm looking for information after everyone is tucked into bed but I just can't find a clear answer. I might just give up.
The goal in this post is to clarify the differences so that you can make a choice of what to use and also best utilize all the resources that are out there (even if your numbering or wording doesn't match exactly).
That's what I'm doing - so I hope you'll join me. I realize this could be a bit boring if you're thinking, "Just tell me which one to use!" or if you already know what you want to use. BUT one main reason for me doing this is so that when I write about "Question 44" with my kids - I can also tell you what question number that is across all the different versions so you'll easily know where it fits.
Full disclosure - I'm also a total spreadsheet dork, so this was kinda fun.
(Note: Links in this post may be affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.)
Ok, here we go! The three main different versions you will find of the "Children's Catechism" (with direct links to look at the questions and answers yourself) are:
- The non-copyrighted version that is readily available on the Internet. It was written in 1840 by Joseph P. Engels, based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This is most often called Catechism for Young Children. My favorite mobile resource for this is from The Westminster Standard, which you can find here. If you're looking for a version to print out easily, you can use this one from reformed.org. This version has 145 questions. I call this the "1840 Version" on my site.
- The Great Commission Publication version from 2003. Great Commission Publications is the joint curriculum publisher for the PCA and OPC denominations. You can find this online here from the OPC. The title of the booklet available is called "First Catechism: Teaching Children Bible Truths" This version has 150 questions. This is based on the non-copyrighted version above and therefore are very similar in content and order. I call this the "GCP Version" on posts.
- Songs for Saplings is also based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism but it is separate from the 1840 Version. It has 115 questions put to music and was created by Dana Dirksen. You can learn a lot more about the ministry of Songs for Saplings here.
Since the first two are very similar and have a lot of different resources from different publishers and artists out there, I've gone one (crazy) step further and compared those two in a spreadsheet so you can see which questions are the same, similar, eliminated, added, or exactly the same.
To get the spreadsheet, just click that link above! Simple! I've categorized the differences between the questions as such in the third column:
- Same - question and answer are the same so you could use resources interchangeably without noticing.
- Similar - very close in wording, only slightly updated or different.
- Different - the same general content of the question but the wording is different or in many cases, they have different nuances.
If you do like this and think it will help you in the future, please consider sharing (on Pinterest or Facebook especially) as a token of your appreciation! Thanks so much!
I should also mention that depending on your family situation, you might also want to jump right into the Westminster Shorter Catechism itself. We do a mix of this so be sure to look for future posts on that. To make sure you don't miss future posts, you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.
Please let me know if I missed anything you think should be added! I'd love to expand on these resources! Just contact me or comment below.
Be sure to check out the Children's Catechism Resources page for all the best resources to teach the Children's Catechism!