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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 89. How is the word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching, of the Word an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.

1. Is the Word to be read by us? Yes: I charge you that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren, 1 Thess. 5:27. Is it to be read in solemn assemblies? Yes: Moses is read in the synagogues every sabbath day, Acts 15:21. Is it profitable to expound the Scriptures? Yes: they that read in the law of God, gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading, Neh. 8:8. Is the Word of God to be preached? Yes: Preach the word, be instant in season, and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, 2 Tim. 4:2. Is it the duty of all to hear the word? Yes: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, Rev. 2:7. Will the bare reading and hearing of the Word profit? No: the letter kills, the Spirit gives life, 2 Cor. 3:6.

2. But is the reading and hearing of the Word the ordinary means of convincing sinners? Yes: for it is mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds, 2 Cor. 10:4. And of startling the secure? Yes: by them is thy servant warned, Ps. 19:11. Is it the ordinary means of conversion? Yes: If the prophets had stood in my counsel, they should have turned people from their evil way, Jer. 13:22. And has it been the conversion of many? Yes: When the law of truth was in his mouth, he did turn many away from iniquity, Mal. 2:6. Is it the ordinary means of working faith? Yes: for faith comes by hearing, Rom. 10:17. And of renewing of the heart? Yes: for the seed is the Word of God, Luke 8:11. And of reforming the life? Yes: By the words of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer, Ps. 17:4.

3. Is the reading and hearing of the word needful to those who are regenerate? Yes: for they are nourished up in the words of faith, and of good doctrine, 1 Tim. 4:6. Is it a means of building them up in holiness? Yes: it is for the perfecting of the saints, Eph. 4:12. Will it furnish them for all good? Yes: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works, 2 Tim. 3:17. Will it fortify them against all evil? Yes: for the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, Eph. 6:17. Is it a means of building them up in comfort? Yes: That we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope, Rom. 15:4.

4. Does the Spirit of God make the word effectual for all these good purposes? Yes: when the hand of the Lord was with them, a great number believed, and turned to the Lord, Acts 11:21. Is it effectual through faith unto salvation? Yes: It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes, Rom. 1:16. Is it not a great mercy then to have plenty of the Word of God? Yes: Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound, Ps. 89:15. And should we not welcome those that bring it? Yes: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Ps. 118:26.

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