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THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM

Introduction:

We are also going to present the Westminster Shorter Catechism from the Classic Theological series, vol. 18, from Ages Electronic Edition, 2006, but with a few words of guidance. When you use this and the Heidelberg Catechsim, parents and teachers need to go beyond the answers and teach the fuller meaning of God’s word.

Faith is not just a question and answer period but also of completely understanding what God means and has done throughout our history. For example, the full meaning of love goes beyond just good feelings towards others or support and encouragement for their endeavors. Love teaches the truth, brings wise counsel, discipline, rules and so on.

Do not just think that memorizing these answers is enough, there is a lot to learn when it comes to our faith if we want to make a great impact for God.
 

Question 1: What is the chief end of man?

Answer 1: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.
 

Question 2: What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify

and enjoy Him?

Answer 2: 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.
 

Question 3: What do the Scriptures principally teach?

Answer 3: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe

concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.
 

Question 4: What is God?

Answer 4: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being,

wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
 

Question 5: Are there more Gods than one?

Answer 5: There is but one only, the living and true God.
 

Question 6: How many persons are there in the Godhead?

Answer 6: 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.
 

Question 7: What are the decrees of God?

Answer 7: The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the

counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath fore-ordained

whatsoever comes to pass.
 

Question 8: How doth God execute his decrees?

Answer 8: God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and

providence.
 

Question 9: What is the work of creation?

Answer 9: 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.
 

Question 10: How did God create man?

Answer 10: God created man male and female, after his own image, in

knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.
 

Question 11: What are God’s works of providence?

Answer 11: God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and

powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.
 

Question 12: What special act of providence did God exercise toward man

in the estate wherein he was created?

Answer 12: 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.
 

Question 13: Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they

were created?

Answer 13: Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will,

fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.
 

Question 14: What is sin?

Answer 14: Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the

law of God.
 

Question 15: What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the

estate wherein they were created?

Answer 15: The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein

they were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit.
 

Question 16: Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?

Answer 16: 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.
 

Question 17: Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?

Answer 17: The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
 

Question 18: Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto

man fell?

Answer 18: The sinfulness of that estate whereinto 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.
 

Question 19: What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?

Answer 19: 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 for ever.
 

Question 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and

misery?

Answer 20. 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.
 

Question 21: Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?

Answer 21: 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

continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, for

ever.
 

Question 22: How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?

Answer 22: 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 Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her yet without

sin.
 

Question 23: What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?

Answer 23: Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet, of

a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.
 

Question 24: How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?

Answer 24: Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by

his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.
 

Question 25: How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?

Answer 25: Christ executeth 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.
 

Question 26: How doth Christ execute the office of a king?

Answer 26: Christ executeth 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.
 

Question 27: Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?

Answer 27: 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.
 

Question 28: Wherein consisteth Christ’s exaltation?

Answer 28: Christ’s exaltation consisteth 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.
 

Question 29: How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased

by Christ?

Answer 29: We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by

Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.
 

Question 30: How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased

by Christ?

Answer 30: The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ,

by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual

calling.
 

Question 31: What is effectual calling?

Answer 31: 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 doth persuade and enable

us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.
 

Question 32: What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of

in this life?

Answer 32: 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.
 

Question 33: What is justification?

Answer 33: Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He

pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for

the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
 

Question 34: What is adoption?

Answer 34: 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.
 

Question 35: What is sanctification?

Answer 35: 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.
 

Question 36: What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or

flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?

Answer 36: 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 Ghost, increase of grace, and

perseverance therein to the end.
 

Question 37: What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?

Answer 37: 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.
 

Question 38: What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the

resurrection?

Answer 38: At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be

openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgement, and made

perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.
 

Question 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?

Answer 39. The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to His

revealed will.
 

Question 40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his

obedience?

Answer 40. The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience,

was the Moral Law.
 

Question 41. Where is the Moral Law summarily comprehended?

Answer 41. The Moral Law is summarily comprehended in the Ten

Commandments.
 

Question 42. What is the sum of the Ten Commandments?

Answer 42. The sum of the Ten Commandments is, “to love the Lord our

God” with all our heart, all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our

mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.
 

Question 43. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments?

Answer 43. The preface to the Ten Commandments is in these words, “I

am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of

the house of slavery.”
 

Question 44. What doth the preface to the Ten Commandments teach us?

Answer 44. 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.
 

Question 45: Which is the First Commandment?

Answer 45: The First Commandment is, “thou shalt have no other gods

before Me.”
 

Question 46: What is required in the First Commandment?

Answer 46: The First Commandment requireth us to know and

acknowledge God to be only true God, and our God; and to worship and

glorify Him accordingly.
 

Question 47: What is forbidden in the First Commandment?

Answer 47: The First Commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not

worshipping and glorifying the true God, as God, and the giving of that

worship and glory to any other which is due to Him alone.
 

Question 48: What are we specially taught by these words, “before me”

in the First Commandment?

Answer 48: 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.
 

Question 49: Which is the Second Commandment?

Answer 49: 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

showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep my

commandments.”
 

Question 50: What is required in the Second Commandment?

Answer 50: 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.
 

Question 51: What is forbidden in the Second Commandment?

Answer 51: The Second Commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of

God by images, or any other way not appointed in His Word.
 

Question 52: What are the reasons annexed to the Second Commandment?

Answer 52: The reasoned annexed to the Second Commandment are,

God’s sovereignty over us, and the zeal He hath to His own worship.
 

Question 53: Which is the Third Commandment?

Answer 53: 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.”
 

Question 54: What is required in the Third Commandment?

Answer 54: The Third Commandment requireth the holy and reverent use

of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, Word, and works.
 

Question 55: What is forbidden in the Third Commandment?

Answer 55: The Third Commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing

anything whereby God maketh Himself known.
 

Question 56: What is the reason annexed to the Third Commandment?

Answer 56: 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

judgement.
 

Question 57: Which is the Fourth Commandment?

Answer 57: 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

maid- servant, 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.”
 

Question 58: What is required in the Fourth Commandment?

Answer 58: The Fourth Commandment requireth the keeping holy to God

such set times as He appointed in His Word; expressly one whole day in

seven to be a holy Sabbath to Himself.
 

Question 59: Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the

weekly Sabbath?

Answer 59: 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.
 

Question 60: How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?

Answer 60: 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.
 

Question 61: What is forbidden in the Fourth Commandment?

Answer 61: The Fourth Commandment forbiddeth 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.
 

Question 62: What are the reasons annexed to the Fourth Commandment?

Answer 62: 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.
 

Question 63: Which is the Fifth Commandment?

Answer 63: 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.”
 

Question 64: What is required in the Fifth Commandment?

Answer 64: The Fifth Commandment requireth the preserving the honour,

and performing the duties, belonging to every one in their several places

and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.
 

Question 65: What is the forbidden in the Fifth Commandment?

Answer 65: The Fifth Commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of, or

doing anything against, the honour and duty which belongeth to every one

in their several places and relations.
 

Question 66: What is the reason annexed to the Fifth Commandment?

Answer 66: 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.
 

Question 67: Which is the Sixth Commandment?

Answer 67: The Sixth Commandment is, “thou shalt not kill.”
 

Question 68: What is required in the Sixth Commandment?

Answer 68: The Sixth Commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to

preserve our own life, and the life of others.
 

Question 69: What is forbidden in the Sixth Commandment?

Answer 69: The Sixth Commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our

own life, or the life of our neighbour unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth

thereunto.
 

Question 70: Which is the Seventh Commandment?

Answer 70: The Seventh Commandment is, “thou shalt not commit

adultery.”
 

Question 71: What is required in the Seventh Commandment?

Answer 71: The Seventh Commandment requireth the preservation of our

own and our neighbor’s chasity, in heart, speech, and behaviour.
 

Question 72: What is forbidden in the Seventh Commandment?

Answer 72: The Seventh Commandment forbiddeth all unchaste thoughts,

words, and actions.
 

Question 73: Which is the Eighth Commandment?

Answer 73: The Eighth Commandment is, “thou shalt not steal.”
 

Question 74: What is required in the Eighth Commandment?

Answer 74: The Eighth Commandment requireth the lawful procuring and

furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.
 

Question 75: What is forbidden in the Eighth Commandment?

Answer 75: The Eighth Commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or

may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbour’s wealth or outward estate.
 

Question 76: What is the Ninth Commandment?

Answer 76: The Ninth Commandment is, “thou shalt not bear false

witness against thy neighbour.”
 

Question 77: What is required in the Ninth Commandment?

Answer 77: The Ninth Commandment requireth the maintaining and

promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our

neighbour’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.
 

Question 78: What is forbidden in the Ninth Commandment?

Answer 78: The Ninth Commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudical

to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbour’s good name.
 

Question 79: Which is the Tenth Commandment?

Answer 79: 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.”
 

Question 80: What is required in the Tenth Commandment?

Answer 80: The Tenth Commandment requireth full contentment with our

own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our

neighbour, and all this is his.
 

Question 81: What is forbidden in the Tenth Commandment?

Answer 81: The Tenth Commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with

our own own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbour, and

all inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is his.
 

Question 82: Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of

God?

Answer 82: No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep

the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word,

and deed.
 

Question 83: Are all transgression of the law equally heinous?

Answer 83: Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations

are more heinous in the sight of God than others.
 

Question 84: What doth every sin deserve?

Answer 84: Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life,

and that which is to come.
 

Question 85: What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath

and curse due to us for sin?

Answer 85: To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God

requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent

use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the

benefits of redemption.
 

Question 86: What is faith in Jesus Christ?

Answer 86: 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.
 

Question 87: What is repentance unto life?

Answer 87: 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,

doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full

purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience.
 

Question 88: What are the outward means whereby Christ

communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?

Answer 88: 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.
 

Question 89: How is the Word made effectual to salvation?

Answer 89: 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.
 

Question 90: How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become

effectual to salvation?

Answer 90: The the Word may become effectual to salvation, we must

attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer; receive it with

faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practise it in our lives.
 

Question 91: How do the sacraments become effectual means of

salvation?

Answer 91: 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.
 

Question 92: What is a sacrament?

Answer 92: A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ,

wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant,

are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.
 

Question 93: Which are the sacraments of the New Testament.

Answer 93: The sacraments of the New Testament are, Baptism, and the

Lord’s supper.
 

Question 94: What is baptism?

Answer 94: Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the

name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 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.
 

Question 95: To whom is baptism to be administered?

Answer 95: 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.
 

Question 96: What is the Lord’s supper?

Answer 96: 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 worth 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.
 

Question 97: What is required to be the worthy receiving of the Lord’s

supper?

Answer 97: It is required of them that would worthily partake of the

Lord’s super, 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 judgement

to themselves.
 

Question 98: What is prayer?

Answer 98: 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 acknowledgement of his mercies.
 

Question 99: What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?

Answer 99: 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.
 

Question 100: What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?

Answer 100: The preface of the Lord’s prayer, which is, “Our Father

which art in heaven,” teacheth 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.
 

Question 101: What do we pray for in the first petition?

Answer 101: In the first petition, which is, “Hallowed be thy name,” we

pray, That God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby

he maketh himself known; and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.
 

Question 102: What do we pray for in the second petition?

Answer 102: 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 the kingdom of glory may be hastened.
 

Question 103: What do we pray for in the third petition?

Answer 103: 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.
 

Question 104: What do we pray for in the fourth petition?

Answer 104: 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.
 

Question 105: What do we pray for in the fifth petition?

Answer 105: 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 able to be rather encouraged to ask,

because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.
 

Question 106: What do we pray for in the sixth petition?

Answer 106: 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.
 

Question 107: What doth the conclusion the Lord’s prayer teach us?

Answer 107: The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, which is, “For thine is

the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, amen.” teacheth us, to

take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to

praise him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory to him.

And, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.