The Westminster Shorter Catechism: Question Three.

Q. 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.

The Bible was never meant to teach us everything. It doesn’t teach us when Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of Great Britain, it doesn’t teach us that light moves at the speed of 186,000 miles a second, it doesn’t teach us about the principles of electricity, or the fact that a country can not borrow its way out of a financial recession. However, the Bible does teach us everything that we need to know about life and godliness. Moreover, Question #3 of the Catechism tells us that the Bible principally teaches us two truths that are the foundation of our knowledge of everything else: (1) What man is to believe concerning God, and (2) what duty God requires of man.

G. I. Williamson explains in his The Westminster Shorter Catechism for Study Classes that “this Catechism question introduces the basic outline of the rest of the Catechism. For in Question 4-38 we have a summary of what the Bible teaches us to believe concerning God. And in Questions 39-107 (the law, the means of grace, and prayer) we have a summary of the duty which God requires of man.” (p. 13)

Thus, the Bible teaches us who God is, what are His attributes, how He relates to His creation, how He has chosen to reveal Himself to man, along with who man is, how has sin effected his standing with God, and what is his ultimate end through Christ, and what would be his ultimate end apart from Christ. It is paramount that we believe what the Bible says since it “is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Scriptures also teach us about how we should live. Since God “formed [our] inward parts;” and “knitted us together” in our mother’s wombs, He has the authority to determine how we should live. (Psa. 139) Thus, the Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 10:12-13:And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” If we desire to know right from wrong, and sin from righteousness, we must look not to our culture, not to our government, and not even to our own inklings, but to the Scriptures that God has so graciously given to us.

Yes, the Bible may not tell us which car to buy, or when to put our house on the market, but it does tell us what to believe, and what our Creator requires of us.


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