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Westminster Shorter Catechism

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Questions 1-20


(All citings from the Westminster Shorter Catechism 1643-1647 are under Copyright 1991 by BibleWorks, LLC. All rights reserved.   Used by permission.)   


WSC 1 ▬ What is the chief end of man?

A. Man's chief end is to glorify God(1) and to enjoy him forever.(2)

1 Corinthians 10:31 ▬ Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.; Romans 11:36 ▬ For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

(2) Psalm 73:25-2825Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. 27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

WSC 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,(1) is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.(2)

(1) 2 Timothy 3:16 ▬ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness...; Ephesians 2:20 ▬ And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone...

(2) 1 John 1:3-4 3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

WSC 3 
▬ What do the Scriptures principally teach?

A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.(1)

(1) 2 Timothy 1:13 ▬ Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus...; 2 Timothy 3:16 ▬ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness...

WSC 4 
▬ What is God?

A. God is a Spirit,(1) infinite,(2) eternal,(3) and unchangeable,(4) in his being,(5) wisdom,(6) power,(7) holiness,(8) justice, goodness, and truth.(9)

(1) John 4:24 ▬ God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

(2) Job 11:7-9 ▬ 7Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? 8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? 9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.

(3) Psalm 90:2 ▬ Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

(4) James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

(5) Exodus 3:14 ▬ And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

(6) Psalm 147:5 ▬ Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

(7) Revelation 4:8 ▬ And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

(8) Revelation 15:4 ▬ Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

(9) Exodus 34:6-7 ▬ 7And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.


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WSC 5 ▬ Are there more Gods than one?

A. There is but one only, the living and true God.(1)

(1) Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10


WSC 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; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.(1)

(1) 1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; John 10:30


WSC 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.(1)

(1) Eph. 1:4,11; Rom. 9:22,23.


WSC 8 ▬ How doth God execute his decrees?

A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.


WSC 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, in the space of six days, and all very good.(1)

(1) Gen. 1:1-31


WSC 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.(1)

(1) Gen. 1:26,27,28; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24


WSC 11 What are the works of providence?

A. God's works of providence are his most holy,(1) wise,(2) and powerful preserving(3) and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.(4)

(1) Ps. 145:17

(2) Ps. 104:24; Isa. 28:29

(3) Heb.1:3

(4) Ps. 103:19; Matt. 10:29,30,31


WSC 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; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.(1)

(1) Gal. 3:12; Gen. 2:17


WSC 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.(1)

(1) Gen. 3:6,7,8,13; Eccl. 7:29.


WSC 14 ▬ What is sin?

A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.(1)

(1) 1 John 3:4.


WSC 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 the forbidden fruit.(1)

(1) Gen. 3:6,12.


WSC 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; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.(1)

(1) Gen. 2:16,17; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21,22


WSC 17 ▬ Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?

A: The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.(1)

(1) Rom. 5:12


WSC 18 ▬ Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate wherein man fell?

A. The sinfulness of that estate wherein 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.(1)

(1) Rom. 5:12,19; Rom. 5:10-20; Eph. 2:1-3; James 1:14,15; Matt. 15:19


WSC 19 ▬ What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?

A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God,(1) are under his wrath and curse,(2) and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.(3)

(1) Gen. 3:8,10,24.

(2) Eph. 2:2,3; Gal. 3:10.

(3) Lam. 3:39; Rom. 6:23; Matt. 25:41,46.


WSC 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,(1) 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.(2)

(1) Eph. 1:4.

(2) Rom. 3:20,21,22; Gal. 3:21,22.


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