A summary of the principles of Christian doctrine in the form of questions and answers

Catechisms 1-10

1. What is the chief and highest end of man?
Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God,[1] and fully to enjoy him forever.[2]
1. Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 10:31
2. Psa. 73:24-28

2. How doth it appear that there is a God?
The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God;[1] but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.[2]
1. Rom. 1:19-20; Psa. 19:1-3; Acts 17:28
2. I Cor. 2:9-10; II Tim. 3:15-17; Isa 59:21

3. What is the word of God?
The holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God,[1] the only rule of faith and obedience.[2]
1. II Tim. 3:16; II Peter 1:19-21
2. Eph. 2:20; Rev. 22:18-19; Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Gal. 1:8-9; II Tim. 3:15-16

4. How doth it appear that the scriptures are the word of God?
The scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by their majesty [1] and purity;[2] by the consent of all the parts,[3] and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God;[4] by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation:[5] but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.[6]
1. Hosea 8:12; 1 Cor. 2:6-7, 13; Psa. 119:18, 129
2. Psa. 12:6; 119:140
3. Acts 10:43; 26:22
4. Rom. 3:19, 27
5. Acts 23:28; Heb. 4:12; James 1:18; Psa. 19:7-9; Rom. 15:4; Acts 20:32
6. John 16:13-14; 20:31; 1 John 2:20, 27

5: What do the scriptures principally teach?
The scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.[1]
1. 2 Tim. 1:13
6. What do the scriptures make known of God?
The scriptures make known what God is,[1] the persons in the Godhead,[2] his decrees,[3] and the execution of his decrees.[4]
1. Heb. 11:6
2. 1 John 5:7
3. Acts 15:14-15, 18
4. Acts 4:27-28

7. What is God?
God is a Spirit,[1] in and of himself infinite in being,[2] glory,[3] blessedness,[4] and perfection;[5] all-sufficient,[6] eternal,[7] unchangeable,[8] incomprehensible,[9] everywhere present,[10] almighty,[11] knowing all things,[12] most wise,[13] most holy,[14] most just,[15] most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.[16]
1. John 4:24
2. Exod. 3:14; Job 11:7-9
3. Acts 7:2
4. I Tim. 6:15
5. Matt. 5:48
6. Gen. 17:1
7. Psa. 90:2
8. Mal. 3:6; James 1:17
9. I Kings 8:27
10. Psa. 139:1-13
11. Rev. 4:8
12. Heb. 4:13; Psa 147:5
13. Rom. 16:27
14. Isa. 6:3; Rev. 15:4
15. Deut. 32:4
16. Exod. 34:6

8. Are there more Gods than one?
There is but one only, the living and true God.[1]
1. Deut. 6:4; I Cor. 8:4, 6; Jer. 10:10

9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.[1]
1. I John 5:7; Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; John 10:30

10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?
It is proper to the Father to beget the Son,[1] and to the Son to be begotten of the Father,[2] and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.[3]
1. Heb. 1:5-6, 8
2. John 1:14, 18
3. John 15:26; Gal. 4:6

Catechisms 11-20

11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?
The scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names,[1] attributes,[2] works,[3] and worship,[4] as are proper to God only.
1. Isa. 6:3, 5, 8; John 12:41; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25; I John 5:20
2. John 1:1; 2:24-25; Isa. 9:6; I Cor. 2:10-11
3. Col. 1:16; Gen. 1:2
4. Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14

12. What are the decrees of God?
God’s decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his will,[1] whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained: Whatsoever comes to pass in time,[2] especially concerning angels and men.
1. Eph. 1:11; Rom. 9:14-15, 18; 11:33
2. Eph. 1:4, 11; Rom. 9:22-23; Psa. 33:11

13. What hath God especially decreed concerning angels and men?
God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, hath elected some angels to glory;[1] and in Christ hath chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof:[2] and also, according to his sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will (whereby he extendeth or withholdeth favor as he pleases), hath passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice.[3]
1. I Tim. 5:21
2. Eph. 1:4-6; II Thess. 2:13-14
3. Rom. 9:17-18, 21-22; Matt. 11:25-26; II Tim. 2:20; Jude 1:4; I Peter 2:8

14. How doth God execute his decrees?
A14: God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.[1]
1. Eph. 1:11

15. What is the work of creation?
The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.[1]
1. Gen. ch. 1; Heb. 11:3; Prov 16:4
16. How did God create angels?
God created all the angels[1] spirits,[2] immortal,[3] holy,[4] excelling in knowledge,[5] mighty in power,[6] to execute his commandments, and to praise his name,[7] yet subject to change.[8]
1. Col. 1:16
2. Psa. 104:4
3. Matt. 22:30
4. Matt. 25:31
5. II Sam. 14:17; Matt. 24:36
6. II Thess. 1:7
7. Psa. 103:20-21
8. II Peter 2:4

17. How did God create man?
After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female;[1] formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground,[2] and the woman of the rib of the man,[3] endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls;[4] made them after his own image,[5] in knowledge,[6] righteousness,and holiness;[7] having the law of God written in their hearts,[8] and power to fulfil it,[9] and dominion over the creatures;[10] yet subject to fall.[11]
1. Gen. 1:27
2. Gen. 2:7
3. Gen. 2:22
4. Gen. 2:7; Job 35:11; Eccl. 12:7; Matt. 10:28; Luke 23:43
5. Gen. 1:27
6. Col. 3:10
7. Eph. 4:24
8. Rom. 2:14-15
9. Eccl. 7:29
10. Gen. 1:28
11. Gen. 3:6; Eccl. 7:29

18. What are God’s works of providence?
God’s works of providence are his most holy,[1] wise,[2] and powerful preserving [3] and governing [4] all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions,[5] to his own glory.[6]
1. Psa. 145:17
2. Psa. 104:24; Isa. 28:29
3. Heb. 1:8
4. Psa. 103:19
5. Matt. 10:29-31; Gen. 45:7
6. Rom. 11:36; Isa. 43:14

19. What is God’s providence towards the angels?
God by his providence permitted some of the angels, wilfully and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation,[1] limiting and ordering that, and all their sins, to his own glory;[2] and established the rest in holiness and happiness;[3] employing them all,[4] at his pleasure, in the administrations of his power, mercy, and justice.[5]
1. Jude 1:6; II Peter 2:4; Heb. 2:16; John 8:44
2. Job 1:12; Matt. 8:31
3. I Tim. 5:21; Mark 8:38; Heb. 12:22
4. Psa. 104:4
5. II Kings 19:35; Heb. 1:14

20. What was the providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created?
The providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created, was the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress it, giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth;[1] putting the creatures under his dominion,[2] and ordaining marriage for his help;[3] affording him communion with himself;[4] instituting the sabbath;[5] entering into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience,[6] of which the tree of life was a pledge;[7] and forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.[8]
1. Gen. 2:8, 15-16
2. Gen. 1:28
3. Gen. 2:18
4. Gen. 1:26-29; 3:8
5. Gen. 2:3
6. Gal. 3:12; Rom. 10:5
7. Gen. 2:9
8. Gen. 2:17

Catechisms 21-30

21. Did man continue in that estate wherein God at first created him?
Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will, through the temptation of Satan, transgressed the commandment of God in eating the forbidden fruit; and thereby fell from the estate of innocency wherein they were created.[1]
1. Gen. 3:6-8, 13; Eccl. 7:29; II Cor. 11:3

22. Did all mankind fall in that first transgression?
The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation,[1] sinned in him, and fell with him in that first transgression.[2]
1. Acts 17:26
2. Gen. 2:16-17; Rom. 5:12-20; I Cor. 15:21-22

23. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.[1]
1. Rom. 3:23; 5:12

24. What is sin?
Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.[1]
1. I John 3:4; Gal. 3:10, 12

25. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin,[1] the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually;[2] which is commonly called Original Sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.[3]
1. Rom. 5:12, 19
2. Rom. 3:10-19; 5:6; 8:7-8; Eph. 2:1-3; Gen. 6:5
3. James 1:14-15; Matt. 15:19
26. How is original sin conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity?
Original sin is conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity by natural generation, so as all that proceed from them in that way are conceived and born in sin.[1]
1. Psa. 51:5; Job 14:4; 15:14; John 3:6

27. What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?
The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God,[1] his displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath,[2] bond slaves to Satan,[3] and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.[4]
1. Gen. 3:8, 10, 24
2. Eph. 2:2-3
3. II Tim. 2:26
4. Gen. 2:17; Lam. 3:39; Rom. 6:23; Matt. 25:41, 46, Jude 1:7

28. What are the punishments of sin in this world?
The punishments of sin in this world are either inward, as blindness of mind,[1] a reprobate sense,[2] strong delusions,[3] hardness of heart,[4] horror of conscience,[5] and vile affections;[6] or outward, as the curse of God upon the creatures for our sakes,[7] and all other evils that befall us in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments;[8] together with death itself.[9]
1. Eph. 4:18
2. Rom. 1:28
3. II Thess. 2:11
4. Rom. 2:5
5. Isa. 33:14; Gen. 4:13; Matt. 27:4
6. Rom. 1:26
7. Gen. 3:17
8. Deut. 28:15-18
9. Rom. 6:21, 23

29. What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?
The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell fire forever.[1]
1. II Thess. 1:9; Mark 9:43-44, 46, 48; Luke 16:24

30. Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
God doth not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery,[1] into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the Covenant of Works;[2] but of his mere love and mercy delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the Covenant of Grace.[3]
1. I Thess. 5:9
2. Gal. 3:10, 12
3. Titus 3:4-7; Gal. 3:21; Rom. 3:20-22