preached at Sardis Pres on Sep. 9, 2018

 

Sardis Presbyterian Church

Westminster Shorter Catechism Sermon and Bible Study Series

©2018-2019, Sardis Pres

Questions #002, 003

original 1645 Version

Q2: What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him?

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.

Q3: What do the Scriptures principally teach?

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

Updated versions:

Weerstra:

Q2. What has God given to instruct us regarding the proper way to honor and enjoy Him?

A. The Word of God (which is contained in the Bible in both the Old Testament and New Testament) is the only set of instructions given by God to explain how we may honor and enjoy Him.

Q3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?

A. The Bible primarily teaches us what we must believe about God and how we should obey Him.

Conway:

Q2. What does God use to show us how to do this?

God uses His Word, the Bible (Old Testament and New), to show us how to glorify and enjoy Him.

Q3. What in particular does the Bible reveal to us?

In particular, the Bible reveals to us what we are to believe about God and how God commands us to live.

Kelly/Rollinson:

Q. 2. What authority from God directs us how to glorify and enjoy Him?

The only authority for glorifying and enjoying Him is the Bible, which is the Word of God and is made up of the Old and New Testaments.

Q. 3. What does the Bible primarily teach?

The Bible primarily teaches what man must believe about God and what God requires of man.

Ward:

Q. 2. What rule has God given to direct us how to glorify and enjoy him?

The Word of God, which consists of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how to glorify and enjoy him.

Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?

The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God,[a] and what duty God requires of man.

SPC/Jameson:

Q2. What rule has God given to teach us how to give Him glory and how to receive joy from Him?

A2. The only rule given by God to teach us how to give Him glory, and how to receive joy from Him, is the Holy Bible, the Word of God. The Word of God is limited to the 27 books contained in the Old Testament and the 39 in the New Testament, and none other besides those 66.

Q3. What does the Word of God primarily teach?

A3. The Word of God primarily teaches what we must believe concerning God if we are to give Him appropriate glory, and what duty God requires from us if we are to receive joy from Him.

Scripture Study

The Assembly used these references, though they did so reluctantly:

Q2. 2 Tim. 3:16; Eph. 2:20, I John 1:3-4. Q3. 2Tim. 1:13; 3:16.

Original References:

Luke 24:44 (ESV) — 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

1 John 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

2 Timothy 1:13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

The consensus in the Assembly originally was that the truth of their writings should be self evident to anyone with a knowledge of Scripture, and “proof texting” can be dangerous.  However, first Parliament and then later the King disagreed. Ultimately, the Assembly agreed to add in proof texts. We are grateful for the inclusion of the references.

Why can “proof texting” be dangerous? It requires you to take a verse out of context. You have to remove it from its surroundings. Consider just one example: Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ … The context has little to do with earthly success, and much to do with suffering and need. And there are other reasons, to be covered another time.

As others have studied the work of the men who wrote the Westminster Documents, and especially as others have expanded their writing, additional references have been annotated in the several later editions.

Following are some of the other commonly used references to the Word of God which support these teachings:

Luke 24:27, 1 Cor 2:13,, Ps 19:7-11, Isa 8:20, John 15:11, John 20:30-31, 2 Tim 3:15-17, 1 John 1:4, Gen 1:1, John 5:39, John 20:31, Rom 10:17, 2 Tim 3:14-17, Ps 119:105, Micah 6:8, Luke 24:44, 1 Cor 14:37, 2 Pet 1:20-21, 2 Pet 3:2, 2 Pet 3:15-16, Deut 4:2, Acts 17:11, Deut 10:12-13, Joshua 1:8

Flavel: Of the Scriptures as our Rule.

Q. 1. How can the Scriptures be called the word of God, seeing the things contained there were spoken and written by men ?

A. They are truly and properly called the word of God, because they came not by the will of man ; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, 2 Pet. i. 21.

Q. 2. What are the principal arguments to persuade us that the scriptures are of Divine authority and inspiration ?

A. Three things especially convince us :

First, The holiness of the doctrine therein contained.

Secondly, The awful efficacy thereof on the soul.

Thirdly, The uncontrollable miracles by which they are sealed,

put it beyond all rational doubt that they are the very words of God.

Q. 7. Doth not the authority of the scriptures depend on the church, fathers, and councils ?

A. No, the scriptures are not built on the authority of the church, but the church on them ; Eph. ii. 20. And are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. And as for councils and fathers, the scriptures are not to be tried by them ; but they by the scriptures ; Isa. viii. 20. To the law and to the testimony ; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Q. 8. What may be fairly inferred from this proposition, that the scriptures are the word of God ?

A. Three things may be hence inferred.

First, The perfection of the scriptures, which being the only rule given by God, must therefore be perfect.

Secondly, That it is the right of common people to read them; John v. 39. Search the scriptures, Actsxvii. 11. These were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the “word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Thirdly, That we owe no obedience to the injunctions of men farther than they are sufficiently warranted by the written word ; Matth. xv. 9. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Fisher: THE SHORTER CATECHISM EXPLAINED

Q. 4. How do you know the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the word of God?

A. By the print of God that is evidently to be seen upon them: for, as none works like God, Isa. 43:13; so none speaks like him, John 7:46.

Q. 5. What do you understand by the print or impress of God that is so discernible in the scriptures?

A. That majesty, holiness, light, life, and efficacy, which shine in the word itself, Rom. 1:16; Psalm 19:7.

Q. 9. By what arguments may we persuade men that are infidels, to receive the scriptures as the Word of God?

A. We may deal with them by rational arguments drawn from their antiquity; the heavenliness of the matter; the majesty of the style; the harmony of all the parts, though written in different ages; the exact accomplishment of prophecies; the sublimity of the mysteries and matters contained in the word; the efficacy and power of it, in the conviction and conversion of multitudes; the scope of the whole, to guide men to attain their chief end, the glory of God in their own salvation; and the many miracles wrought for the confirmation of the truth of the doctrines contained in them.[3]

Q. 14. Why cannot the authority of the scriptures depend upon the church?

A. Because the true church of Christ depends, in its very being, on the scriptures; and therefore the scriptures cannot depend upon it, as to their authority, Eph. 2:20, 22.

Q. 16. What makes a further revelation, than nature’s light, necessary?

A. The glory of the Divine perfections, particularly his mercy, grace, love, and faithfulness, Psalm 85:8, 10, 11; the gross ignorance and degeneracy of mankind, 1 Cor. 1:20, 21; the sublimeness of the things revealed, which otherwise had never been known by men or angels, John 1:18:it is also necessary for trying the spirits and doctrines of men, and for unmasking the impostures of the devil, 1 John 4:1-3.