On Sunday 3rd October 2010 we began looking at the Westminster Shorter Catechism in the Sunday morning services. Each of the questions and answers will gradually appear below, with a link to the short (5 minute) explanation provided in each case. For more information on the Shorter Catechism, try the link below.
1. What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.(Listen)
2. What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
The word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. (Listen)
3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man. (Listen)
4. What is God?
God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. (Listen)
5. Are there more Gods than one?
There is but One only, the living and true God. (Listen)
6.How many persons are there in the Godhead?
There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. (Listen)
7. What are the decrees of God?
The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatever comes to pass. (Listen)
8. How does God execute his decrees?
God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence. (Listen)
9. What is the work of creation?
The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good. (Listen)
10. How did God create man?
God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, with dominion over the creatures. (Listen)
11. What are God’s works of providence?
God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions. (Listen)
12. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate in which he was created?
When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death. (Listen)
13. Did our first parents continue in the estate in which they were created?
Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate in which they were created, by sinning against God. (Listen)
14. What is sin?
Sin is any want of conformity to, or transgression of, the law of God. (Listen)
15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate in which they were created?
The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate in which they were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit. (Listen)
16. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression. (Listen)
17. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery. (Listen)
18. In what consists the sinfulness of that estate into which man fell?
The sinfulness of that estate into which man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called Original Sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it. (Listen)
19. What is the misery of that estate into which man fell?
All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever. (Listen)
20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.
21. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
The only Redeemer of God’s elect, is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continues to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, for ever. (Listen)
22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin. (Listen)
23. What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?
Christ, as our Redeemer, executes the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation. (Listen)
24. How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?
Christ executes the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation. (Listen)
25. How does Christ execute the office of a priest?
Christ executes the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us. (Listen)
26. How does Christ execute the office of a king?
Christ executes the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.
27. In what did Christ’s humiliation consist?
Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.(Listen)
28. In what does Christ’s exaltation consist?
Christ’s exaltation consists in his rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.(Listen)
29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.(Listen)
30. How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.(Listen)
31.What is effectual calling?
Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he persuades and enables us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.(Listen)
32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.(Listen)
33. What is justification?
Justification is an act of God’s free grace, in which he pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, and received by faith alone.(Listen)
34. What is adoption?
Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.(Listen)
35. What is sanctification?
Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.(Listen)
36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.(Listen)
37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A: The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection. (Listen)
38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A: At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God, to all eternity. (Listen)
39. What is the duty which God requires of man?
A: The duty which God requires of man, is obedience to his revealed will. (Listen)
40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
A: The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law. (Listen)
41. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A: The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments. (Listen)
42. What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A: The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbour as ourselves. (Listen)
43.What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A: The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery’. (Listen)
44. What does the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
A: The preface to the ten commandments teaches us, That because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments. (Listen)
45. Which is the first commandment?
A: The first commandment is, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’. (Listen)
46. What is required in the first commandment?
A: The first commandment requires us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true god, and our God, and to worship and glorify him accordingly. (Listen)
47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A: The first commandment forbids the denying, or not worshipping and glorifying the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone. (Listen)
48. What are specially taught by these words ‘before me’ in the first commandment?
A: These words ‘before me’ in the first commandment teach us, that God, who sees all things, takes notices of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other god. (Listen)
49. Which is the second commandment?
A: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Listen)
50. What is required in the second commandment?
A: The second commandment requires the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has appointed in his word. (Listen)
51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A: The second commandment forbids the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word. (Listen)
52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A: The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he has to his own worship. (Listen)
53. Which is the third commandment?
A: You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Listen)
54. What is required in the third commandment?
A: The third commandment requires the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works.
55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?
A: The third commandment forbids all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God makes himself known. (Listen)
56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
A: The reason annexed to the third commandment is, That however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment. (Listen)
57. Which is the fourth commandment?
A: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Listen)
58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A: The fourth commandment requires the keeping holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself. (Listen)
59. Which day of the seven has God appointed to be the weekly sabbath?
A: From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath. (Listen)
60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A: The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy. (Listen)
61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A: The fourth commandment forbids the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations. (Listen)
62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A: The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the Sabbath-day. (Listen)
63. Which is the fifth commandment?
A: The fifth commandment is, ‘Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.’ (Listen)
64. What is required in the fifth commandment?
A: The fifth commandment requires the preserving the honour, and performing the duties, belonging to every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors or equals. (Listen)
65. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
A: The fifth commandment forbids the neglecting of, or doing anything against, the honour and duty which belongs to every one in their several places and relations. (Listen)
66. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
A: The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.
67. Which is the sixth commandment?
A: The sixth commandment is, ‘You shall not murder.’ (Listen)
68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A: The sixth commandment requires all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others. (Listen)
69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A: The sixth commandment forbids the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbour unjustly, or whatever tends towards it. (Listen)
70. Which is the seventh commandment?
A: The seventh commandment is, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ (Listen)
71. What does the seventh commandment require?
A: The seventh commandment requires the preservation of our own, and our neighbour’s chastity, in heart, speech, and behaviour. (Listen)
72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A: The seventh commandment forbids all unchaste thoughts, words and actions. (Listen)
73. Which is the eighth commandment?
A: The eighth commandment is ‘You shall not steal’. (Listen)
74. What is required in the eighth commandment?
A: The eighth commandment requires the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others. (Listen)
75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A: The eighth commandment forbids whatever does or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbour’s wealth or outward estate. (Listen)
76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A: The ninth commandment is, ‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.’ (Listen)
77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A: The ninth commandment requires the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbour’s good name, especially in witness bearing (Listen)
78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A: The ninth commandment forbids whatever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbour’s good name. (Listen)
79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A: The tenth commandment is, ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.’ (Listen)
80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A: The tenth commandment requires full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit towards our neighbour, and all that is his. (Listen)
81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A: The tenth commandment forbids all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbour, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his. (Listen)
82. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A: No mere man, since the fall, is able, in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but breaks them daily, in thought, word, and deed. (Listen)
83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A: Some sins of themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others. (Listen)
84. What does every sin deserve?
A: Every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse, both in this life and that which is to come. (Listen)
85. What does God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
A: To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption. (Listen)
86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A: Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel. (Listen)
87. What is repentance unto life?
A: Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience. (Listen)
88. What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?
A: The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all of which are made effectual to the elect for salvation. (Listen)
89. How is the word made effectual to salvation?
A: The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the word an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation. (Listen)
90. How is the word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
A: That the word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend to it with diligence, preparation, and prayer, receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practise it in our lives. (Listen)
91. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A: The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that administers them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them. (Listen)
92. What is a sacrament?
A: A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ; wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers. (Listen)
93. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
A: The sacraments of the New Testament are baptism, and the Lord’s Supper (Listen)
95. To whom is baptism to be administered?
A: Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church, are to be baptized. (Listen)
96. What is the Lord’s Supper?
A:The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace. (Listen)
97. What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord’s Supper?
A:It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord’s Supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, of their faith to feed upon him, of their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves.
98. What is prayer?
A:Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies. (Listen)
99. What rule has God given for our direction in prayer?
A:The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s Prayer. (Listen)
100. What does the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A:The preface of the Lord’s prayer which is, ‘Our Father who art in heaven’, teaches us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others. (Listen)
101. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A:In the first petition (which is, ‘Hallowed be thy name’) we pray that God would enable us and others to glorify him in everything where he makes himself known, and that he would dispose all things to his own glory. (Listen)
102. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A:In the second petition (which is, ‘Thy kingdom come’) we pray, that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened. (Listen)
103. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A:In the third petition (which is, ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’) we pray, That God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven. (Listen)
104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A:In the fourth petition (which is, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’) we pray, That of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them. (Listen)
105. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A:In the fifth petition (which is, ‘And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors’) we pray, That God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others. (Listen)
106. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A:What do we pray for in the sixth petition? In the sixth petition (which is, ‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’) we pray, That God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted. (Listen)