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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel


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 Testament, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

Q. 1. How can the Scriptures be called the word of God, seeing the things contained therein 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 spoke as they were moved by the holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21.

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 word of God.

Q. 3. What is the holiness of the Scriptures? and how doth that prove them to be God's word?
A. The Holiness of the Scriptures doth appear in two things. First, In commanding and encouraging whatsoever is pure, and holy. Philippians 4:8. Whatsoever things are pure. Secondly, In forbidding all unholiness, under pain of Damnation. 1 Corinthians 6:9. Know ye not, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, etc. This shows that they came not from Satan, being cross to his desing; nor from man, it being against his corrupt Nature; and therefore from God only.

Q. 4. What is their Authority and Efficacy on the Soul? and how doth that prove them Divine?
A. Their Authority and Efficacy on the Soul, consists in three things: First, In the power they have to search and discover the secrets of men. Hebrews 5:12. The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged Sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of Soul and Spirit, of the Joints and Marrow; and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the Heart. Secondly, In their converting Efficacy, changing and renewing the Soul. Psalm 19:7. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the Soul. Thirdly, in their cheering and restoring Efficacy, when the soul is cast down under any inward or outward trouble. Psalm 19:8. The Statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the Heart. No human Power can do such things as these. John 17:17. Sanctify them through they truth, thy word is truth.

Q. 5. How do Miracles confirm it?
A. Because all proper Miracles are wrought only by the hand of God. John 3:2. And no man can do these Miracles that thou doest except God be with him; and so are his seal to whatsoever he affixes them, and it consists not with his truth and holiness to set it to a forgery.

Q. 6. What was the end of writing the Word?
A. That the Church to the end of the world might have a sure, known, standing Rule to try and judge all things by, and not to be left to the uncertainty of Traditions. John 5:39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have Eternal Life, and they are they which testify of me.

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. Ephesians 2:19-20. And are built on the Foundations of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. And for Councils and Fathers, the Scriptures are not to be tried by them, but they by the Scriptures. Isaiah 8:20. To the Law and to the Testimony; if they speak not according to this word, 'tis 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 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 5:39. Search the Scriptures. Acts 17:11. These are more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so. Thirdly, that we owe no Obedience to the Injunctions of men, farther than they are sufficiently warranted by the written Word. Matthew 11:9. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men.

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