The Westminster Shorter Catechism for Study Classes
For decades, G. I. Williamson’s study manual on the Shorter Catechism has served as the invaluable tool for instructing young and old in biblical doctrine.
This illustrated manual offers clear exposition of each of the 107 questions in the Shorter Catechism. Each lesson includes Scripture proofs, as well as questions for review or discussion. A valuable aid for group instruction or private study, this volume has been used successfully by pastors, Sunday school teachers, parents and homeschoolers.
About the Author
G. I. Williamson (BD, Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary) has served congregations of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Churches of New Zealand, and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He is author of study guides to the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Shorter Catechism, as well as editor of Ordained Servant, a journal for elders and deacons.
From the Preface:
This catechism study guide was written while the author was pastor of one of the Reformed churches of New Zealand. The method of study was as follows: Students were expected to read each lesson carefully before class, and to write out their answers to the questions. Then, at the time of the week when the class met, these answers were recited and discussed. When a wrong – or inadequate – answer was given, the author did not immediately issue a definitive correction. Rather, members of the class were encouraged to evaluate, criticize, and attempt to formulate the right answer. In this way they learned to think out the implications of the doctrine being studied. The goal was to lead the class through discussion to a sharp discrimination between true and untrue, adequate and inadequate answers.
It will be noted that there are diagrams included. It is expected that the instructor will bring these into use whenever the discussion warrants, in order to help the students to grasp the interrelation of the doctrines being studied. The author believes there is a system of doctrine taught in the Bible. The workbook aims to show this system. These diagrams were helpful in the original instance. They were referred to again and again until they were thoroughly understood by the students.
If there is any value in this study – and in the illustrations that go with it – the “catechism kids” of the Mangere Reformed Church of Auckland deserve much of the credit. They were a never-failing encouragement to the author as we worked through these lessons together.
An Example of Review Questions from the End of Chapter 1:
Each chapter concludes with a series of helpful study questions such as these.
- What is meant by the word “chief” in the Catechism?
- What is meant by the word “end” in the Catechism?
- And what does the word “glorify” mean?
- Why is man’s chief end what the Catechism says it is?
- Man, as originally created, was ________ – centered
- Man, as he became by sin, is ________ – created
- What do we mean by saying that the true Christian life is God-centered?
- What would some people put in the center of figure 1.2 rather than the word “self?”
- Why is this really just as bad?
- What does “glorify God” not mean?
- What is the difference between the way in which the heavens glorify God, and the way in which man ought to glorify God?
- Do the wicked glorify God? Explain.
- Is it proper for a Christian to have other “ends” besides the end of glorifying God?
- What departments of life ought to serve the glory of God?
- Which is more to the glory of God: a person who preaches, or a man who works in a factory? Explain.