Translation: David Snoke, City Reformed Presbyterian Church,. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English
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2Q. 1. What is the main purpose of mankind?A. Mankind™s main purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Q. 2. What rule has 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, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.Q. 3. What do the Scriptures primarily teach? A. The Scriptures primarily teach what we are to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of us. Q. 4. What is God?A. God is a spirit, in˜nite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one? A. There is only one, the living and true God. 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 Spirit. These three are one God, the same in substance and equal in power and glory. Q. 7. What are the decrees of God? A. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, by which, for his own glory, he has foreordained everything that ever happens. Q. 8. How does God carry out his decrees? A. God carries out his decrees in the works of creation and providence .Q. 9. What is the work of creation? A. The work of creation is when God made all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good. Q. 10. How did God create mankind? A. God created mankind male and female, in his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, and with dominion over the creatures.
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3Q. 11. What are God™s works of providence? A. God™s works of providence are his most holy, wise and powerful acts of preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions. Q. 12. What special act of providence did God exercise toward mankind in the estate in which the ˜rst man was created? A. When God had created the man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, on condition of perfect obedience, forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, on the pain of death. Q. 13. Did our ˜rst parents continue in the state in which they were created? A. Our ˜rst parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the state in which they were created by sinning against God. Q. 14. What is sin?A. Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of, the law of God. Q. 15. What was the sin by which our ˜rst parents fell from the state in which they were created? A. The sin by which our ˜rst parents fell from the state in which they were created was their eating the forbidden fruit. Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam™s ˜rst transgression? A. Because the covenant was made with Adam not only for himself, but also for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by natural generation sinned in him and fell with him in his ˜rst transgression. Q. 17. What state did the fall bring for mankind? A. The fall brought mankind to a state of sin and misery.Q. 18. What does the sinfulness of that state into which mankind fell consist of? A. The sinfulness of that state into which mankind fell consists in the guilt of Adam™s ˜rst sin, the lack of the righteousness in which he was created, and the corruption of our whole nature; this is commonly called original sin; in addition there are all the actual transgressions which proceed from it. Q. 19. What is the misery of that state into which mankind fell? A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so are made liable to all the miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.
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4Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the state of sin and misery?A. Out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, God chose some for everlasting life, and he entered into a covenant of grace to deliver them out of their state of sin and misery and to bring them into a state of salvation by a redeemer. Q. 21. Who is the redeemer of God™s elect? A. The only redeemer of God™s chosen ones 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 wholly distinct natures and one person, forever. 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 and a reasoning soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary and born of her, yet without sin.Q. 23. What o˚ces does Christ carry out as our redeemer? A. Christ, as our redeemer, carries the o˚ces of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his state of humiliation and his state of exaltation.Q. 24. How does Christ carry out the o˚ce of a prophet? A. Christ carries out the o˚ce of a prophet in revealing to us, by his Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation. Q. 25. How does Christ carry out the o˚ce of a priest? A. Christ carries out the o˚ce of a priest in o˛ering up himself as a sacri˜ce one time, to satisfy divine justice and to reconcile us to God, and in making continual intercession for us. Q. 26. How does Christ carry out the o˚ce of a king? A. Christ carries out the o˚ce of a king in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.Q. 27. What did Christ™s humiliation consist of? A. Christ™s humiliation consisted of his being born in a low condition, living under the Law, undergoing the miseries of this life, undergoing the wrath of God and the cursed death of the Cross, and in being buried and continuing under the power of death for a time.
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5Q. 28. What does Christ™s exaltation consist of? A. Christ™s exaltation consists of his rising again from the dead on the third day, ascending to heaven, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and coming to judge the world on the last day. 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 e˛ectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit. Q. 30. How does the Spirit apply the redemption purchased by Christ to us?A. The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ by creating faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our e˜ectual calling.Q. 31. What is e˛ectual calling? A. E˛ectual calling is the work of God™s Spirit by which, 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 o˛ered to us in the Gospel. Q. 32. What bene˜ts do those who are e˛ectually called partake of in this life? A. Those who are e˛ectually called partake in this life of justi˚cation, adoption and sancti˚cation, and the various bene˜ts which either accompany or ˝ow from them in this life. Q. 33. What is justi˜cation?A. Justi˜cation is an act of God™s free grace by which he pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in his sight, only because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, received by faith alone. Q. 34. What is adoption?A. Adoption is an act of God™s free grace by which we are received into the number of the sons of God and have a right to all the privileges of them.Q. 35. What is sancti˜cation?A. Sancti˜cation is the work of God™s free grace by which we are renewed in our whole person in the image of God and by which we are enabled more and more to die to sin and live to righteousness.
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6Q. 36. What are the bene˜ts that accompany or ˝ow from justi˜cation, adoption and sancti˜cation in this life? A. The bene˜ts that accompany or ˝ow from justi˜cation, adoption and sancti˜cation in this life are assurance of God™s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance in it to the end. Q. 37. What bene˜ts do believers receive from Christ at death? A. The souls of believers at their death are made perfect in holiness and immediately pass into glory; their bodies, being still united to Christ, rest in their graves until the resurrection. Q. 38. What bene˜ts do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection? A. At the resurrection, believers will be raised up in glory, will be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and will be made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity. Q. 39. What is the duty that God requires of mankind? A. The duty which God requires of mankind is obedience to his revealed will.Q. 40. What did God ˜rst reveal to the mankind as the rule of their obedience?A. The rule that God ˜rst revealed to the mankind for obedience was the moral law. Q. 41. Where is the moral law given in summary form? A. The moral law is summarized in the Ten Commandments. Q. 42. What is the summary of the Ten Commandments? A. The summary 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 to love our neighbor as ourselves. Q. 43. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments? A. The preface to the Ten Commandments is these words: ﬁI am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.ﬂ
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8Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment? A. The second commandment forbids worshiping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his Word. Q. 52. What are the reasons added to the second commandment? A. The reasons added to the second commandment are God™s sovereignty over us, his ownership in us, and the zeal he has for his own worship. Q. 53. What is the third commandment? A. The third commandment is, ﬁYou shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.ﬂ Q. 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. Q. 55. What is forbidden in the third commandment? A. The third commandment forbids all profaning or abusing of anything by which God makes himself known. Q. 56. What is the reason added to the third commandment? A. The reason added to the third commandment is that although breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, the Lord our God will not allow them to escape his righteous judgment.Q. 57. Which is the fourth commandment? A. The fourth commandment is, ﬁRemember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, 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, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.ﬂ Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment? A. The fourth commandment requires keeping holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his Word, in particular one whole day in seven to be a holy Sabbath to himself.
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9Q. 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; ever since it has been the ˜rst day of the week, which is the Christian Sabbath, so to continue to the end of the world. Q. 60. How is the Sabbath to be sancti˜ed? A. The Sabbath is to be sancti˜ed by a holy rest all that day from worldly employments and recreations that are lawful on other days, spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God™s worship, except what is taken up by works of necessity and mercy. Q. 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, by doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works about our worldly employments or recreations. Q. 62. What are the reasons added to the fourth commandment? A. The reasons added to the fourth commandment are God allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his claiming a special ownership of the seventh, his own example, and his blessing of the Sabbath day. Q. 63. What is the ˜fth commandment?A. The ˜fth commandment is, ﬁHonor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.ﬂ Q. 64. What is required in the ˜fth commandment? A. The ˜fth commandment requires that we preserve the honor and perform the duties appropriate to everyone in their various places and relations, whether in authority over us, under our authority, or equals.Q. 65. What is forbidden in the ˜fth commandment? A. The ˜fth commandment forbids the neglect of, or doing anything against, the honor and duty that belongs to everyone in their various places and relations to us.
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10Q. 66. What is the reason added to the ˜fth commandment? A. The reason added to the ˜fth commandment is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it serves for God™s glory and their own good) to all who keep this commandment. Q. 67. What is the sixth commandment? A. The sixth commandment is, ﬁYou shall not murder.ﬂ Q. 68. What is required in the sixth commandment? A. The sixth commandment requires all lawful e˛orts to preserve our own life and others. Q. 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 neighbor unjustly, as well as anything that tends to that. Q. 70. What is the seventh commandment? A. The seventh commandment is, ﬁYou shall not commit adultery.ﬂ Q. 71. What is required in the seventh commandment? A. The seventh commandment requires the preservation of our own and our neighbor™s chastity, in heart, speech and behavior. Q. 72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment? A. The seventh commandment forbids all unchaste thoughts, words and actions.Q. 73. What is the eighth commandment?A. The eighth commandment is, ﬁYou shall not steal.ﬂ Q. 74. What is required in the eighth commandment? A. The eighth commandment requires lawfully procuring and furthering the wealth and outward state of ourselves and others. Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment? A. The eighth commandment forbids anything that may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor™s wealth or outward state. Q. 76. What is the ninth commandment?A. The ninth commandment is, ﬁYou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.ﬂ
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11Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment? A. The ninth commandment requires maintaining and promoting truth between one person and another, as well as maintaining and promoting our neighbor™s good name as well as our own, especially when being a legal witness.Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment? A. The ninth commandment forbids anything that puts the truth at risk or is injurious to our own or our neighbor™s good name. Q. 79. What is the tenth commandment? A. The tenth commandment is, ﬁYou shall not covet your neighbor™s house; you shall not covet your neighbor™s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor™s.ﬂ Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment? A. The tenth commandment requires full contentment with our own condition, with a correct and charitable orientation of our spirit toward our neighbors and all that is theirs. Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment? A. The tenth commandment forbids all manner of discontentment with our own state, envying or grieving at the good state of our neighbors, and all excessive feelings and desires for anything that belongs to them.Q. 82. Is anyone able to keep the commandments of God perfectly? A. Since the fall, no mere human is able to keep the commandments of God perfectly in this life; everyone breaks them daily in thought, word and deed. Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally evil? A. Some sins in themselves, and because of various factors that increase their evil, are more evil in the sight of God than others. Q. 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.
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