“The word ‘catechism’ is derived from the Greek word katechaeo, meaning ‘to instruct orally.’ In the early church, katechaeo referred to oral instruction in Christian doctrine by which non-Christians were prepared for baptism in order to become members of the church. Although there apparently were some handwritten catechetical materials in the early Middle Ages, scholars believe that Martin Luther’s Small Catechism (1529) was the first catechism to be published. Much of his catechism’s content consists of questions and answers.”
— Alvin Schmidt, The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization
Luther’s catechism begins “THE FIRST COMMANDMENT: You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love and trust in God above all things.” The Westminster Catechism begins with the question, “What is the chief and highest end of man?” which is answered, “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Catechisms attempt to teach basic concepts often through questions and answers.