Catechumen
Jump to: ISBEWebster'sThesaurusLibrarySubtopicsTerms
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
(L. catechunenus, Gr. / instructed, from /. See) One who is receiving rudimentary instruction in the doctrines of Christianity; a neophyte; in the primitive church, one officially recognized as a Christian, and admitted to instruction preliminary to admission to full membership in the church.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
CATECHIST; CATECHUMEN

kat'-e-kist, kate-ku'-men (katechizein "to resound," "to teach," "to instruct"): A catechist is a teacher who instructs his pupils in the elements of his own religion. In the Old Testament he teaches them the rudiments of Old Testament truth; in the New Testament he teaches the principles of the Christian faith. A catechumen, one whom the catechist instructs or catechizes, in preparation for the ceremony of baptism.

The words are derived from katechein, meaning "to give a sound," "to answer," "to echo." Classically it was used of the sounding down of rushing water, of the falling of music from a ship to the sea. Then it came to signify the sounding down of words of command or instruction. The preposition kata strengthens the meaning, bringing out more emphatically the back or return sound, the echo, the answer. So it came to mean familiar verbal instruction, a free informal discussion between teacher and pupil. Luke informs Theophilus (Luke 1:4) that he intends to give him a succinct and orderly account of those things which he had previously received by word of mouth (peri hon katechethes). See also the Greek in Acts 18:25 and Acts 21:21; Romans 2:18 1 Corinthians 14:19; Galatians 6:6. In all these passages the Greek verb is "catechised."

We do not find in the New Testament an organized catechumenate, such as we find in the 3rd and 4th centuries. The apostles preached mainly to synagogue-instructed Jews who were familiar with the law and the prophets and the Psalms, or to Gentiles who had, learned from the Jews and had become "proselytes" (which see). The first apostolic preaching and teaching was to convince the hearers that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Saviour of the world. As believers multiplied, the contrast between them and those who rejected the teaching became more and more marked. Opposition, scorn and persecution became more bold and bitter. The Christians were compelled to set forth and defend their beliefs more clearly. They had to meet and answer keen and persistent objections. And so the necessity for clear, systematic and organized teaching grew more and more into the form of an ordered catechumenate. The Apostolic Constitutions, from the latter part of the 3rd century, show the institution in a fair state of development. A Jew, pagan, or heretic of good moral standing, upon application to the deacon, presbyter, or bishop, was admitted into the state of catechumen by the sign of the cross and the imposition of hands (Schaff-Herzog, under the word).

The basis for the Christian catechumenate we find in the great commission (Matthew 28:19, 20). The aim of this commission was to make disciples, i.e. believing followers. The means for this discipling are baptizing and teaching. The result of using the means is that those who have become disciples are to observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded.

Jesus Himself at twelve years of age had become a child of the law, a catechumen. He increased in wisdom and learned obedience. He became the great Catechist instructing His disciples, other private individuals and the multitudes. See an example of His catechizing in Matthew 16:13.

Paul was a master in method. See examples of use of the modern pedagogical method of apperception in Acts 14:14; Acts 17:16; 19:8, 9. The cathechetical method is frequently found in the epistles (see 1 Corinthians 3:1, 2 Hebrews 5:11, 14; Hebrews 6:1, 2 1 Peter 2:2 1 John 2:13), and so the idea of religious nurture and instruction is found all through the New Testament. The catechist and the catechumen are there. It was not something new in the New Testament. Its roots lie back and run through the Old Testament. The narrative of God's first communication with man, inside the gates of Eden, concerning commandment, law, sin, its consequences, its remedy, takes a catechetical form. The importance of systematic instruction, both public and private, is emphasized throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, although it might not always take the form of catechizing in the modern pedagogical sense. In the patriarchal age the father was the prophet, the teacher, the catechist, in his house, which often included several families with their servants (see Genesis 18:19). Matthew Henry explains thus: "Abraham not only took care of his children, but his whole household, including his servants, were catechized" (see also Exodus 12:26 Deuteronomy 6:1-9 Joshua 4:6, 7; Joshua 24:15 Psalm 34:11). Priests and Levites in addition to their sacerdotal functions were catechists (instructors) among the people (Leviticus 10:11 Deuteronomy 33:10 2 Chronicles 15:3 Ezekiel 44:23). In later times the synagogues had regular instruction in the law and the prophets.

See EDUCATION; INSTRUCTION; TEACHER.

G. H. Gerberding

Library

Martin Restores a Catechumen to Life.
... Martin restores a Catechumen to Life. ... But, after the lapse only of a few days, the
catechumen, seized with a languor, began to suffer from a violent fever. ...
/.../life and writings of sulpitius severus /chapter vii martin restores a.htm

If a Catechumen Coming into the Church have Taken his Place in the ...
... Canon V. If a catechumen coming into the Church have taken his place in
the order of� If a catechumen coming into the Church have ...
/.../schaff/the seven ecumenical councils/canon v if a catechumen.htm

That the Catechumen Ought Now no Longer to Sin.
... Third Book. 98. That the catechumen ought now no longer to sin. In the
Epistle of Paul to the Romans: "Let us do evil until the ...
/.../three books of testimonies against the jews/98 that the catechumen ought.htm

Of the Formal Admission of the Catechumen, and of the Signs ...
... Chapter 26."Of the Formal Admission of the Catechumen, and of the Signs
Therein Made Use of. 50. At the conclusion of this address ...
/.../on the catechising of the uninstructed/chapter 26 of the formal admission.htm

Of the Attainment of Cheerfulness in the Duty of Catechising, and ...
... Chapter 10."Of the Attainment of Cheerfulness in the Duty of Catechising, and
of Various Causes Producing Weariness in the Catechumen. 14. ...
/.../on the catechising of the uninstructed/chapter 10 of the attainment of.htm

A Specimen of a Catechetical Address; and First, the Case of a ...
... Chapter 16."A Specimen of a Catechetical Address; And First, the Case of
a Catechumen with Worthy Views. 24. Nevertheless, however ...
/.../augustine/on the catechising of the uninstructed/chapter 16 a specimen of a.htm

The Specimen of Catechetical Discourse Continued, in Reference ...
... Chapter 17."The Specimen of Catechetical Discourse Continued, in Reference Specially
to the Reproval of False Aims on the Catechumen's Part. 26. ...
/.../chapter 17 the specimen of catechetical.htm

On the Catechising of the Uninstructed
... Chapter 10.--Of the Attainment of Cheerfulness in the Duty of Catechising,
and of Various Causes Producing Weariness in the Catechumen. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/augustine/on the catechising of the uninstructed/

John Chapter ix
... If, therefore, when He baptized him in a manner in Himself, He then enlightened
him; when He anointed Him, perhaps He made him a catechumen. ...
/.../augustine/homilies on the gospel of john/tractate xliv john chapter ix.htm

Confirmation.
... Church? This is confirmation. The catechumen has been examined by the pastor
as to his fitness for this important step. The pastor ...
/.../the way of salvation in the lutheran church/chapter xii confirmation.htm

Thesaurus
Catechumen
... Standard Bible Encyclopedia. CATECHIST; CATECHUMEN. ... A catechumen, one whom the catechist
instructs or catechizes, in preparation for the ceremony of baptism. ...
/c/catechumen.htm - 12k

Catechist
... Standard Bible Encyclopedia. CATECHIST; CATECHUMEN. ... A catechumen, one whom the catechist
instructs or catechizes, in preparation for the ceremony of baptism. ...
/c/catechist.htm - 12k

Caterpillar (6 Occurrences)

/c/caterpillar.htm - 10k

Illumination (2 Occurrences)
... But this probably would go too far; the most that can be said is that he means the
state of mind of a full Christian and not that of a catechumen (compare also ...
/i/illumination.htm - 8k

Believer (15 Occurrences)
... who was admitted to all the rights of divine worship and instructed in all the
mysteries of the Christian religion, in distinction from a catechumen, or one ...
/b/believer.htm - 11k

Exploration
... A woman traveler of the 4th century reports some interesting facts about the early
ritual of the Jerusalem church and the catechumen teaching, and surprises us ...
/e/exploration.htm - 38k

Synoptic
... education. It consisted mainly in committing accurately to memory, and in
repetition from memory (see CATECHIST; CATECHUMEN). There ...
/s/synoptic.htm - 38k

Gospels
... education. It consisted mainly in committing accurately to memory, and in
repetition from memory (see CATECHIST; CATECHUMEN). There ...
/g/gospels.htm - 73k

Palestine (1 Occurrence)
... A woman traveler of the 4th century reports some interesting facts about the early
ritual of the Jerusalem church and the catechumen teaching, and surprises us ...
/p/palestine.htm - 89k



Catechist
Top of Page
Top of Page