This Book of Concord Reading Plan is for high schoolers and adults and consists of assigning the entire Book of Concord over 180 days. This number lends itself to a five-day school week over a 36-week school year. (You could also attempt an easier introduction, reading twice a week for just over 36-weeks by leaving the Apology and Solid Declaration for future reading. Because of the repetitive structure, each reader will already receive the substance of the teaching even if parts are left unread.)
I recommend Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, A Reader’s Edition (available at CPH here) or BookofConcord.org, although you may use any edition.
Below is a list of documents, with abbreviations and the dates they were written, as ordered in the lesson plan.
- The Three Ecumenical Creeds
- Luther’s Small Catechism (1529) (SC)
- Luther’s Large Catechism (1529) (LC)
- Brief Exhortation to Confession (1529)
- The Augsburg Confession (1530) (AC)
- The Smalcald Articles (1537) (SA)
- The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope (1537) (Tr)
- The Formula of Concord: Epitome (1577) (Either FC or Ep)
- The Catalogue of Testimonies (CT)
- The Apology (Defense) of the Augsburg Confession (1531) (Ap)
- The Preface to the Book of Concord (1580)
- The Formula of Concord: The Solid (Thorough) Declaration (1577) (SD)
About the Book of Concord
The Book of Concord is a collection of powerful, clarifying documents that define Lutheranism. Each document was written to be read and shared, and each is worthy of theological and historical consideration. Each can also be surprisingly comforting and pastoral in the focus on Christ and the Word of God.
Picking up a copy of The Book of Concord can seem intimidating. Thankfully, much of it is surprisingly easy to read and understand. For example, Luther’s Small Catechism and the Augsburg Confession are two of the most common Lutheran confessions. They are not only short and generally easy to read, but they lay a foundation so that each of the other documents builds upon, one topical article at a time. Both essentially expand on the Apostles’ Creed. Because each document solidifies and builds from the one before it, I do assign reading the Athanasian Creed and the Augsburg Confession twice (not on the same day), for the sake of familiarity.
Two of the confessional titles exist in two parts: a thorough initial piece followed by a longer, more in-depth document. Admittedly, the second parts can be much more difficult to read. For that reason, the Apology to the Augsburg Confession and the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord are both assigned at the end as advanced reading.