Friday, April 17, 2020

An Outline of the Westminster Shorter Catechism

The Westminster Shorter Catechism is one of the doctrinal standards of our church and for centuries it has served as a faithful instrument for training Christians in the basics of the faith. You can read it at this link. In 107 questions and answers, it lays out the faith in a very orderly manner, and understanding this order can help understand the significance of each question and answer. So here is my outline of the catechism to help you gain an understanding of the catechism as a whole:

Introduction (1-3): The Word of God is the rule given to direct us how to fulfill our chief end, which is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, by teaching us:

I. What man is to believe concerning God (4-38)
    A. The nature of God (4-6)
     B. The decrees of God (7-38)
          Definition (7-8)
           1. Creation (9-10)
           2. Providence (11)
            3. Special Providence, i.e. God’s Covenant with Man (12-38)
               i. Covenant of life/works (12-19)
                    Definition (12)
                      a. Sin of Adam (13-16)
                    b. Estate of sin and misery (17-19)
                ii. Covenant of grace (20-38)
                         Definition (20)
                        a. Redemption Accomplished (21-28)
                          1. Christ's person (21-22)
                            2. Christ's work (23-28)
                      b. Redemption Applied (29-38)
                         1. Union with Christ (29-31)
                           2. Benefits of redemption (32-38)

II. What duty God requires of man (39-107)
     Definition (39)
     A. Duty to obey God's moral law (40-84)
           Definition (40)
            1. The Ten Commandments (41-81)
           2. Breaking the Ten Commandments (82-84)
      B. Duty to escape God's wrath and curse (85-107)
           Definition (85)
            1. Faith in Jesus Christ (86)
            2. Repentance unto life (87)
            3. Use of the means whereby Christ gives us the benefits of redemption (88-107)
                  Definition (88)
                  i. Word (89-90)
                  ii. Sacrements (91-97)
                  iii. Prayer (98-107)

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