Author: The Westminster Assembly
In 1643, during the English Civil War under Charles I, the English Parliament called together a group of 121 Puritan clergymen. The group, which met at Westminster Abbey over the next several years, sought to provide counsel to the Church of England on issues of worship, doctrine, government, and discipline. Their meetings produced The Westminster Confession of Faith, a Larger Catechism and a Shorter Catechism, the Directory of Public Worship, and the Form of Church Government. The Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms, written in simple question and answer format, are designed to educate lay Christians in matters of basic doctrine. The Westminster Confession is arguably the most influential Reformed confession ever written and is used by Reformed churches around the world.
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God (Ps 86:9†; Isa 60:21†; Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 6:20†; 10:31; Rev 4:11†), and to enjoy him forever (Ps 16:5-11†; 73:24–28; 144:15†; Isa 12:2†; Luke 2:10†; Phil 4:4†; Rev 21:3-4†).
Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (Matt 19:4-5†; Gen 2:24†; Luke 24:27, 44†; 1 Cor 2:13†; 14:37†; Eph 2:20; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20-21†; 3:2, 15–16†), is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him (Deut 4:2†; Ps 19:7-11†; Isa 8:20†; John 15:11†; 20:30–31†; Acts 17:11†; 2 Tim 3:15-17†; 1 John 1:3-4).
Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God (Gen 1:1†; John 5:39†; 20:31†; Rom 10:17†; 2 Tim 3:14†), and what duty God requires of man (Deut 10:12-13†; Josh 1:8†; Ps 119:105†; Mic 6:8†; 2 Tim 1:13; 3:16).
Q. 4. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit (Deut 4:15-19†; Luke 24:39†; John 1:18†; 4:24; Acts 17:29†), infinite (1 Kgs 8:27†; Job 11:7-9; Ps 139:7-10†; 145:3†; 147:5†; Jer 23:24†; Rom 11:33-36†), eternal (Deut 33:27†; Ps 90:2; 102:12, 24-27†; Rev 1:4, 8†), and unchangeable (Ps 33:11†; Mal 3:6†; Heb 1:12†; 6:17–18†; 13:8†; Jas 1:17), in his being (Exod 3:14; Ps 115:2-3†; 1 Tim 1:17†; 6:15–16†), wisdom (Ps 104:24†; 147:5; Rom 11:33-34†; Heb 4:13†; 1 John 3:20†), power (Gen 17:1†; Ps 62:11†; Jer 32:17†; Matt 19:26†; Rev 1:8†; 4:8), holiness (Hab 1:13†; 1 Pet 1:15-16†; 1 John 3:3, 5†; Rev 15:4), justice (Gen 18:25†; Exod 34:6-7†; Deut 32:4†; Ps 96:13†; Rom 3:5, 26†), goodness (Ps 103:5†; 107:8†; Matt 19:17†; Rom 2:4†), and truth (Exod 34:6-7; Deut 32:4†; Ps 86:15†; 117:2†; Heb 6:18†).
Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only (Deut 6:4; Isa 44:6†; 45:21–22†; 1 Cor 8:4-6†), the living and true God (Jer 10:10; John 17:3†; 1 Thess 1:9†; 1 John 5:20†).
Q. 6. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Matt 3:16-17†; 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14†; 1 Pet 1:2†); and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory (1 John 5:7 [TR]; Ps 45:6†; John 1:1†; 17:5†; Acts 5:3-4†; Rom 9:5†; Col 2:9†; Jude 24-25†).
Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass (Ps 33:11†; Isa 14:24†; Acts 2:23†; Eph 1:4, 11; Rom 9:22-23).
Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence (Ps 148:8†; Isa 40:26†; Dan 4:35†; Acts 4:24-28†; Rev 4:11†).
Q. 9. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power (Gen 1; Gen 1:1†; Ps 33:6, 9†; Heb 11:3), in the space of six days, and all very good (Gen 1:31†).
Q. 10. How did God create man?
A. God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures (Gen 1:26-28; Col 3:10; Eph 4:24).
Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are, his most holy (Ps 145:17), wise (Ps 104:24; Isa 28:29), and powerful preserving (Heb 1:3; Neh 9:6†) and governing all his creatures, and all their actions (Ps 103:19; Matt 10:29-31; Eph 1:19-22†).
Q. 12. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?
A. When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience (Gal 3:12); forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death (Gen 2:17; Jas 2:19†).
Q. 13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God (Gen 3:6-8, 13; Eccl 7:29; 2 Cor 11:3†).
Q. 14. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God (Lev 5:17†; Jas 4:17†; 1 John 3:4).
Q. 15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
A. The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created, was their eating of the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:6, 12)
Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity (Gen 1:28†; 2:16–17; Jas 2:10†); all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:21-22).
Q. 17. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery (Gen 3:16-19, 23†; Rom 3:16†; 5:12; Eph 2:1†).
Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin (Rom 3:10-20 [?]; 5:12, 19), the want of original righteousness (Rom 3:10†; Col 3:10†; Eph 4:24†), and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin (Ps 51:5†; John 3:6†; Rom 3:18†; 8:7–8†; Eph 2:1-3); together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it (Gen 6:5†; Ps 53:1-3†; Matt 15:19; Rom 3:10-18, 23†; Gal 5:19-21†; Jas 1:14-15).
Q. 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God (Gen 3:8, 10, 24; John 8:34, 42, 44†; Eph 2:12†; 4:18†), are under his wrath (John 3:36†; Rom 1:18†; Eph 2:2-3; 5:6†) and curse (Gal 3:10; Rev 22:3†), and so made liable to all miseries in this life (Gen 3:16-19†; Job 5:7†; Eccl 2:22-23†; Lam 3:39; Rom 8:18-23†), to death itself (Ezek 18:4†; Rom 5:12†; Rom 6:23), and to the pains of hell forever (Matt 25:41, 46; 2 Thess 1:9†; Rev 14:9-11†).
Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life (Acts 13:48†; Eph 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13-14†), 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 (Gen 3:15†; 17:7†; Exod 19:5-6†; Jer 31:31-34†; Matt 20:28†; Rom 3:20-22; 1 Cor 11:25†; Gal 3:21-22; Heb 9:15†).
Q. 21. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A. The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6†; Acts 4:12†; 1 Tim 2:5-6), who, being the eternal Son of God (Ps 2:7†; Matt 3:17†; 17:5†; John 1:18†), became man (Isa 9:6†; Matt 1:23†; John 1:14; Gal 4:4) and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever (Luke 1:35; Acts 1:11†; Rom 9:5; Col 2:9; Heb 7:24-25).
Q. 22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body (Heb 2:14, 16; 10:5), and a reasonable soul (Matt 26:38; Phil 2:7†), being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her (Luke 1:27, 31, 35, 42; Gal 4:4) yet without sin (2 Cor 5:21†; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1 John 3:5†).
Q. 23. What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
A. Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet (Deut 18:18†; Acts 2:33†; 3:21–22; Heb 1:1-2†; 12:25; 2 Cor 13:3), of a priest (Heb 4:14-15†; 5:5–7; 7:25), and of a king (Ps 2:6; Isa 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33†; Matt 21:5; John 18:37†; 1 Cor 15:25†; Ps 2:8-11), both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.
Q. 24. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us (John 1:18), by his Word (Luke 4:18-19, 21†; Acts 1:1-2†; Heb 2:3†) and Spirit (John 15:26-27†; Acts 1:8†), the will of God for our salvation (1 Pet 1:10-12; John 4:41-42†; 14:26†; 15:15; 20:31).
Q. 25. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice (Isa 53†; Acts 8:32-35†; Heb 9:14, 28; 10:12†), and reconcile us to God (Rom 5:10-11†; 2 Cor 5:18†; Col 1:21-22†; Heb 2:17); and in making continual intercession for us (Rom 8:34†; Heb 7:24-25; Heb 9:24†).
Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself (Ps 110:3†; Acts 15:14-16), in ruling (Isa 33:22) and defending us (Isa 32:1-2; Matt 28:18-20†; John 17:2†; Col 3:13†), and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies (Ps 2:6-9†; 110; Matt 12:28†; 1 Cor 15:25; Col 2:15†).
Q. 27. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?
A. Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition (Luke 2:7; 2 Cor 8:9†; Gal 4:4†), made under the law (Gal 4:4), undergoing the miseries of this life (Isa 53:2-3; Luke 9:58†; John 4:6†; 11:35†; Heb 2:18†; 12:2–3), the wrath of God (Luke 22:44; Ps 22:1†; Matt 27:46; Isa 53:10†; 1 John 2:2†), and the cursed death of the cross (Gal 3:13†; Phil 2:8); in being buried (1 Cor 15:3-4), and continuing under the power of death for a time (Matt 12:40†; Acts 2:24-27, 31).
Q. 28. Wherein consisteth Christ’s exaltation?
A. Christ’s exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead on the third day (1 Cor 15:4), in ascending up into heaven (Ps 68:18†; Mark 16:19 [TR]; Acts 1:11†; Eph 4:8†), in sitting at the right hand of God the Father (Ps 110:1†; Acts 2:33-34†; Eph 1:20; Heb 1:3†), and in coming to judge the world at the last day (Matt 16:27†; Acts 1:11; 17:31).
Q. 29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us (John 1:11-12) by his Holy Spirit (Tit 3:5-6).
Q. 30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us (John 6:37, 39; Rom 10:17†; 1 Cor 2:12-16†; Eph 1:13-14; 2:8; Phil 1:29†), and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling (John 15:5†; 1 Cor 1:9; Eph 3:17).
Q. 31. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit (2 Tim 1:9; 2 Thess 2:13-14), whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery (Acts 2:37), enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ (Acts 26:18; 1 Cor 2:10, 12†; 2 Cor 4:6†; Eph 1:17-18†), and renewing our wills (Deut 30:6†; Ezek 36:26-27; John 3:5†; Tit 3:5†), he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ (John 6:44-45; Acts 16:14†), freely offered to us in the gospel (Isa 45:22†; Matt 11:28-30†; Phil 2:13; Rev 22:17†).
Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification (Rom 8:30), adoption (Eph 1:5), and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them (1 Cor 1:26, 30; 6:11†).
Q. 33. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace (Rom 3:24-25), wherein he pardoneth all our sins (Rom 4:6-8; Eph 1:7†; 2 Cor 5:19†), and accepteth us as righteous in his sight (2 Cor 5:19, 21), only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us (Rom 4:6, 11†; Rom 5:17-19), and received by faith alone (Gal 2:16; Phil 3:9).
Q. 34. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace (1 John 3:1), whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God (John 1:12; Rom 8:17).
Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace (Ezek 36:27†; Phil 2:13†; 2 Thess 2:13), whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God (2 Cor 5:17†; Eph 4:23-24; 1 Thess 5:23†), and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness (Ezek 36:25-27†; Rom 6:4, 6; 8:1†; 2 Cor 7:1†; 1 Pet 2:24†).
Q. 36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience (Rom 5:1-2, 5), joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom 14:17), increase of grace (Prov 4:18; 2 Pet 3:18†), and perseverance therein to the end (Phil 1:6†; 1 Pet 1:5; 1 John 5:13).
Q. 37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness (Heb 12:23), and do immediately pass into glory (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor 5:1, 6, 8; Phil 1:23); and their bodies, being still united to Christ (1 Thess 4:14), do rest in their graves (Isa 57:2) till the resurrection (Job 19:26-27; Dan 12:2†; John 5:28-29†; Acts 24:15†).
Q. 38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory (1 Cor 15:43), shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment (Matt 10:32; 25:23; 25:33-34, 46†), and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God (Rom 8:29†; 1 Cor 13:12; 1 John 3:2) to all eternity (Ps 16:11†; 1 Thess 4:17-18).
Q. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will (Deut 29:29†; 1 Sam 15:22; Mic 6:8; 1 John 5:2-3†).
Q. 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 (Rom 2:14-15; 10:5).
Q. 41. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments (Deut 4:13†; 10:4; Matt 19:17-19†).
Q. 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 neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:37-40 [quoting Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18]).
Q. 43. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments?
A. The preface to the Ten Commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exod 20:2; Deut 5:6†).
Q. 44. What doth the preface to the Ten Commandments teach us?
A. The preface to the Ten Commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments (Deut 11:1†; Luke 1:74-75; 1 Pet 1:15-19).
Q. 45. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exod 20:3; Deut 5:7†).
Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God (1 Chr 28:9; Deut 26:17); and to worship and glorify him accordingly (Ps 29:2; Isa 45:20-25†; Matt 4:10).
Q. 47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbiddeth the denying (Ps 14:1), or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God (Rom 1:21), and our God (Ps 81:10-11); and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone (Ezek 8:16-18†; Rom 1:25-26)
Q. 48. What are we 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 seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God (Deut 30:17-18†; Ps 44:20-21†; Ezek 8:5-18).
Q. 49. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments (Exod 20:4-6; Deut 5:8-10†).
Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word (Deut 12:32†; 32:46; Matt 28:20; Acts 2:42).
Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshiping of God by images (Deut 4:15-19; Exod 32:5, 8; Rom 1:22-23†), or any other way not appointed in his Word (Lev 10:1-2†; Deut 12:31-32; Jer 19:4-5†; Col 2:18†).
Q. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us (Ps 95:2-3, 6; 96:9-10†), his property in us (Exod 19:5†; Ps 45:11; Isa 54:5†), and the zeal he hath to his own worship (Exod 34:13-14; 1 Cor 10:22†).
Q. 53. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain (Exod 20:7; Deut 5:11†).
Q. 54. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names (Matt 6:9; Deut 10:20†; 28:58), titles (Ps 29:2†; 68:4), attributes (1 Chr 29:10-13†; Rev 15:3-4), ordinances (Mal 1:11, 14; Eccl 5:1†; Acts 2:42†; 1 Cor 11:27-28†), Word (Ps 138:1-2; Rev 22:18-19†), and works (Job 36:24; Ps 107:21-22†; Rev 4:11†).
Q. 55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known (Lev 19:12†; Mal 1:6-7, 12; Mal 2:2; 3:14; Matt 5:33-37†; Jas 5:12†).
Q. 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 (Deut 28:58-59; 1 Sam 2:12, 17, 22, 29; 3:13; 4:11†).
Q. 57. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it (Exod 20:8-11; Deut 5:12-15†).
Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself (Exod 31:13, 15-17†; Lev 19:30†; Deut 5:12-14).
Q. 59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?
A. Form the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath (Gen 2:2-3; Exod 20:11†); and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28†; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:1-2; Rev 1:10†).
Q. 60. How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day (Exod 20:8, 10), even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days (Exod 16:25-28; Lev 23:3†; Neh 13:15-19, 21-22; Isa 58:13-14†); and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship (Exod 20:8†; Lev 23:3†; Ps 92 (title); Isa 66:23; Luke 4:16; Acts 20:7), except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy (Matt 12:1-13).
Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required (Ezek 22:26; Amos 8:5; Mal 1:13), and the profaning the day by idleness (Acts 20:7, 9), or doing that which is in itself sinful (Ezek 23:38), or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations (Neh 13:15-22†; Jer 17:24-26; Isa 58:13).
Q. 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 (Exod 20:9; 31:15-16†), his challenging a special property in the seventh (Lev 23:3†), his own example (Exod 31:17†), and his blessing the Sabbath day (Gen 2:3†; Exod 20:11).
Q. 63. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee (Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16†).
Q. 64. What is required in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to everyone in their several places and relations, as superiors (Rom 13:1†; Eph 5:21), inferiors (1 Pet 2:17; Eph 6:9†), or equals (Rom 12:10).
Q. 65. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of, or doing anything against, the honor and duty which belongeth to everyone in their several places and relations (Matt 15:4-6; Ezek 34:2-4; Rom 13:8).
Q. 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 (Exod 20:12†; Deut 5:16; Eph 6:2-3).
Q. 67. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill (Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17†).
Q. 68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life (Eph 5:28-29), and the life of others (1 Kgs 18:4; Ps 82:3-4†; Job 29:13†).
Q. 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto (Gen 9:6; Prov 24:11-12†; Matt 5:22†; Acts 16:28; 1 John 3:15†).
Q. 70. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18†).
Q. 71. What is required in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech, and behavior (1 Cor 7:2-3, 5, 34, 36; 1 Thess 4:4†; Eph 5:11-12†; 2 Tim 2:22†; Col 4:6; 1 Pet 3:2).
Q 72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment forbiddeth all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions (Matt 15:19; 5:28; Eph 5:3-4).
Q. 73. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal (Exod 20:15; Deut 5:19†).
Q. 74. What is required in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves (Rom 12:17†; Prov 27:23†) and others (Gen 30:30; 1 Tim 5:8; Lev 25:35; Deut 22:1-5; Exod 23:4-5; Gen 47:14, 20; Eph 4:28b†; Phil 2:4†).
Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own (1 Tim 5:8†) or our neighbor’s wealth or outward estate (Job 20:19-20†; Prov 21:6†; 21:17; 23:20–21; 28:19; Eph 4:28; 2 Thess 3:10†).
Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour (Exod 20:16; Deut 5:20†).
Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man (Zech 8:16), and of our own (1 Pet 3:16†; Acts 25:10†) and our neighbor’s good name (3 John 12), especially in witness bearing (Prov 14:5, 25).
Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandments?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth (Rom 3:13†), or injurious to our own (Job 27:5†) or our neighbor’s good name (1 Sam 17:28; Lev 19:16; Ps 15:3; Prov 6:16-19†; Luke 3:14†).
Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s (Exod 20:17; Deut 5:21†).
Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition (Ps 34:1†; Phil 4:11†; 1 Tim 6:6; Heb 13:5), with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his (Job 31:29; Luke 15:6, 9, 11-32†; Rom 12:15; 1 Cor 13:4-7; Phil 2:4†; 1 Tim 1:5).
Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate (1 Kgs 21:4; Esth 5:13; 1 Cor 10:10), envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor (Gal 5:26; Jas 3:14, 16), and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his (Rom 7:7-8; 13:9; Deut 5:21; Gal 5:26†; Col 3:5†).
Q. 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 (Eccl 7:20; 1 John 1:8, 10; Gal 5:17), but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed (Gen 6:5; 8:21; Rom 3:9-21; Jas 3:2-13).
Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others (Ps 78:17, 32, 56; Ezek 8:6, 13, 15; Matt 11:20-24†; John 19:11†; 1 John 5:16).
Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come (Eph 5:6; Gal 3:10; Lam 3:39; Matt 25:41; Jas 2:10†).
Q. 85. What doth 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 requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life (Mark 1:15†; Acts 20:21), with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption (Prov 2:1-6; 8:33-36; Isa 55:3; Acts 2:38†; 1 Cor 11:24-25†; Col 3:16†).
Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace (Eph 2:8-9†; Rom 4:16†; Heb 10:39), whereby we receive (John 1:12; Isa 26:3-4) and rest upon him alone for salvation (Phil 3:9), as he is offered to us in the gospel (John 20:30-31†; Gal 2:16; Isa 33:22†).
Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim 2:25†), whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin (Acts 2:37-38), and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ (Ps 51:1-4†; Jer 3:22; Joel 2:12; Luke 15:7, 10†), doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God (Jer 31:18-19; Ezek 36:31; Luke 1:16-17†; 1 Thess 1:9†), with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience (2 Chr 7:14†; Ps 119:59†; Isa 1:16-17; Matt 3:8†; 2 Cor 7:11).
Q. 88. What are the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 2:42, 46-47).
Q. 89. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh 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 (Neh 8:8; Ps 19:8; Acts 20:32; 26:18; Rom 1:16; 10:13-17; 15:4; 1 Cor 14:24-25; 1 Thess 1:6†; 2 Tim 3:15-17).
Q. 90. How is the Word to be read and heard, that is may become effectual to salvation?
A. That the Word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence (Deut 6:16ff.†; Prov 8:34), preparation (1 Pet 2:1-2), and prayer (Ps 119:18); receive it with faith and love (Heb 4:2; 2 Thess 2:10), lay it up in our hearts (Ps 119:11), and practice it in our lives (Luke 8:15; Jas 1:25).
Q. 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 doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them (Matt 3:11; 1 Cor 1:12-17†; 3:6–7; 12:13; 1 Pet 3:21).
Q. 92. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ (Matt 28:19†; 26:26–28†; Mark 14:22-25†; Luke 22:19-20†; 1 Cor 1:22-26†); wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented (Gen 17:7, 10), sealed and applied to believers (Exod 12:1-51; Rom 4:11†; 1 Cor 10:16-17†; Gal 3:27†; 1 Cor 11:23, 26).
Q. 93. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
A. The sacraments of the New Testament are, baptism (Matt 28:19; Mark 16:16† [TR]), and the Lord’s Supper (Matt 26:26-28; 1 Cor 11:23-26).
Q. 94. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt 28:19), doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s (Acts 2:28-42†; 22:16†; Rom 6:4; Gal 3:27; 1 Pet 3:21†)
Q. 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 (Acts 2:38; 8:36-37; 18:8†); but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized (Gen 17:10; Acts 2:38-39; 16:32-33†; Col 2:11-12; 1 Cor 7:14).
Q. 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 (Luke 22:19-20†; 1 Cor 11:23-26); 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 (1 Cor 10:16).
Q. 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 (1 Cor 11:28-29), of their faith to feed upon him (2 Cor 13:5), of their repentance (1 Cor 11:31), love (1 Cor 10:16-17; 11:18, 20†), and new obedience (1 Cor 5:7-8); lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves (1 Cor 11:28-29).
Q. 98. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God (Ps 10:17†; 62:8; Matt 7:7-8†), for things agreeable to his will (Rom 8:27†; 1 John 5:14), in the name of Christ (John 16:23), with confession of our sins (Ps 32:5-6; Dan 9:4; 1 John 1:9†), and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies (Ps 103:1-5†; 136†; Phil 4:6).
Q. 99. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer (1 John 5:14); but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4).
Q. 100. What doth the preface to the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
A. The preface to the Lord’s Prayer, which is, Our Father which art in heaven (Matt 6:9), teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence (Ps 95:6†; Isa 64:9†) and confidence (Eph 3:12†), as children to a father (Matt 7:9-11†; Luke 11:13; Rom 8:15), able and ready to help us (Eph 3:20†); and that we should pray with and for others (Acts 12:5; Eph 6:18†; 1 Tim 2:1-2).
Q. 101. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition, which is, Hallowed be thy name (Matt 6:9), we pray that God would enable us and others to glorify him in all whereby he maketh himself known (Ps 67:2-3; 99:3†; 100:3–4†); and that he would dispose all things to his own glory (Ps 83; Rom 11:36†; Rev 4:11†).
Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, which is, Thy kingdom come (Matt 6:10), we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed (Ps 68:1, 18; Matt 12:25-28†; Rom 16:20†; 1 John 3:8†); and the kingdom of grace may be advanced (Ps 51:18†; 72:8–11†; Matt 24:14†; 1 Cor 15:24-25†; Rev 12:10-11), ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it (Ps 119:5†; 2 Thess 3:1; Luke 22:32†; John 17:9, 20; Rom 10:1); and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened (Rev 22:20).
Q. 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 (Matt 6:10), we pray that God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to his will in all things (2 Sam 15:25; Job 1:21; Ps 19:14†; 67:1–7; 119:36; Matt 26:39; Acts 21:14†; 1 Thess 5:23†; Heb 13:20-21†), as the angels to in heaven (Ps 103:20-21; Heb 1:14†).
Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread (Matt 6:11), 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 (Gen 28:20; Ps 90:17†; Prov 30:8-9; Matt 6:31-34†; Phil 4:11†; 1 Tim 4:4-5; 6:6-8†).
Q. 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 (Matt 6:12), we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins (Ps 51:1-2, 7, 9; Dan 9:17-19; 1 John 1:7†); which we are the rather encourage to ask because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others (Luke 11:4; Matt 6:14†; 18:35; Eph 4:32†; Col 3:13†).
Q. 106. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition, which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matt 6:13†), we pray that God would either keep us from being tempted to sin (Ps 19:13; Matt 26:41; John 17:15†), or support and deliver us when we are tempted (Ps 51:10, 12†; Luke 22:31-32†; 1 Cor 10:13†; 2 Cor 12:7-8; Heb 2:18†).
Q. 107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matt 6:13), teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only (Dan 9:4, 7-9, 16-19; Luke 18:1, 7-8†), and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him (1 Chr 29:10-13; 1 Tim 1:17†; Rev 5:11-13†); and, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen (1 Cor 14:16; Rev 22:20-21).
The text of The Westminster Shorter Catechism is taken from The Westminster Confession Together with the Larger Catechism and the Shorter Catechism with Scripture Proofs (3rd ed.; Atlanta, GA: The Committee for Christian Education & Publications, 1990). © Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, 1990.
† This symbol indicates references added in later editions of a confession or catechism
The Westminster Shorter Catechism