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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel


3. What do the Scriptures Principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what Man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of Man.
Q. 1. Why is Faith conjoined with Obedience, and put before it?
A. Because Faith is the principle from whence all Obedience flows, and no man can perform any duty aright in the estate of unbelief. Hebrews 11:6. But without Faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is.

Q. 2. Can there be no saving Faith where the Scriptures are not known and preached?
A. No; for the Apostle saith, Romans 10:14. How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a Preacher? and how shall they preach without they be sent? And v. 7. So then, Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Q. 3. Are not we bound to believe what learned men teach us, as Points of Faith, though the things they teach be not contained in the word of God?
A. No; if the things they teach be not contained expressly, or by necessary consequence in the Word of God, we are not obliged to believe them as points of Faith. Isaiah 8:20. To the Law, and to the Testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Galatians 1:8. Though we, or an Angel from Heaven preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. And Christ hath charged us, Matthew 23:10. To call no man Master, for one is your Master, even Christ.

Q. 4. Are there some things in Scripture more excellent than others; because it's said, the Scriptures principally teach Matters of Faith and Duty?
A. Every part of Scripture is alike pure. Proverbs 30:5. Every word of God is pure, and of equal Authority, but not of equal weight; as several pieces of Gold are alike pure, and of the same stamp, but not of equal value.

Q. 5. What may be inferred hence for use?
A. First, Hence 'tis our duty to examine what we hear, by the Word, and not receive any Doctrine, because men confidently affirm it, but because the Scriptures require it. Acts 17:11. 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 these things were so. Secondly, That Christian Religion is not notional, but practical; and that impractical faith saves no man. James 2:20. Faith without Works is dead.


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