Puritan Catechism

General Information

Compiled by C. H. Spurgeon

I am persuaded that the use of a good Catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times, and therefore I have compiled this little manual from the Westminster Assembly's and Baptist Catechisms, for the use of my own church and congregation. Those who use it in their families or classes must labour to explain the sense; but the words should be carefully learned by heart, for they will be understood better as years pass. May the Lord bless my dear friends and their families evermore, is the prayer of their loving Pastor.

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C. H. Spurgeon
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Published about Oct 14, 1855, when Spurgeon was 21 years old. On Oct. 14, Spurgeon preached Sermon No. 46 to several thousand who gathered to hear him at New Park Street Chapel. When the sermon was published it contained an announcement of this catechism. The text that morning was, "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations." Psalm 90:1.

Question 1 What is the chief end of man?
Answer 1 Man's chief end is to glorify God, (1Cor. 10:31) and to enjoy him for ever. (Psalms 73:25,26)

Question 2 What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify him?
Answer 2 The Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (Ephesians 2:20; 2Timothy 3:16) is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy him. (1John 1:3)

Question 3 What do the Scriptures principally teach?
Answer 3 The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man. (2Timothy 1:13; Eccles. 12:13)

Question 4 What is God?
Answer 4 God is Spirit, (John 4:24) infinite, (Job 11:7) eternal, (Psalms 90:2; 1Timothy 1:17) and unchangeable (James 1:17) in his being, (Exodus 3:14) wisdom, power, (Psalms 147:5) holiness, (Revelation 4:8) justice, goodness and truth. (Exodus 34:6,7)

Question 5 Are there more Gods than one?
Answer 5 There is but one only, (Deuteronomy 6:4) the living and true God. (Jeremiah 10:10)

Question 6 How many persons are there in the Godhead?
Answer 6 There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory. (1John 5:7; Matthew 28:19)

Question 7
What are the decrees of God?
Answer 7
The decrees of God are his eternal purpose according to the counsel of his own will, whereby for his own glory he has foreordained whatever comes to pass. (Ephesians 1:11,12)

Question 8
How does God execute his decrees?
Answer 8
God executes his decrees in the works of creation, (Revelation 4:11) and providence. (Daniel 4:35)

Question 9
What is the work of creation?
Answer 9
The work of creation is God's making all things (Genesis 1:1) of nothing, by the Word of his power, (Hebrews 11:3) in six normal consecutive days, (Exodus 20:11) and all very good. (Genesis 1:31)

Question 10
How did God create man?
Answer 10
God created man, male and female, after his own image, (Genesis 1:27) in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24) with dominion over the creatures. (Genesis 1:28)

Question 11
What are God's works of providence?
Answer 11
God's works of providence are his most holy, (Psalms 145:17) wise, (Isaiah 28:29) and powerful, (Hebrews 1:3) preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions. (Psalms 103:19; Matthew 10:29)

Question 12
What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the state wherein he was created?
Answer 12
When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; (Galatians 3:12) forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death. (Genesis 2:17)

Question 13
Did our first parents continue in the state wherein they were created?
Answer 13
Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the state wherein they were created, by sinning against God, (Ecclesiastes 7:29) by eating the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:6-8)

Question 14
What is sin?
Answer 14
Sin is any want of conformity to, or transgression of the law of God. (1John 3:4)

Question 15
Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
Answer 15
The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression. (1Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12)

Question 16
Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
Answer 16
The fall brought mankind into a state of sin and misery. (Romans 5:18)

Question 17
Wherein consists the sinfulness of that state whereinto man fell?
Answer 17
The sinfulness of that state whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, (Romans 5:19) the want of original righteousness, (Romans 3:10) and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin, (Ephesians 2:1; Psalms 51:5) together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it. (Matthew 15:19)

Question 18
What is the misery of that state whereinto man fell?
Answer 18
All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, (Genesis 3:8,24) are under his wrath and curse, (Ephesians 2:3; Galatians 3:10) and so made liable to all the miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever. (Romans 6:23; Matthew 25:41)

Question 19
Did God leave all mankind to perish in the state of sin and misery?
Answer 19
God having, out of his good pleasure from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, (2Thessalonians 2:13) did enter into a covenant of grace to deliver them out of the state of sin and misery, and to bring them into a state of salvation by a Redeemer. (Romans 5:21)

Question 20
Who is the Redeemer of God's elect?
Answer 20
The only Redeemer of God's elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, (1Timothy 2:5) who being the eternal Son of God, became man, (John 1:14) and so was and continues to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person for ever. (1Timothy 3:16; Colossians 2:9)

Question 21
How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
Answer 21
Christ, the son of God, became man by taking to himself a true body, (Hebrews 2:14) and a reasonable soul, (Matthew 26:38; Hebrews 4:15) being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary, and born of her, (Luke 1:31,35) yet without sin. (Hebrews 7:26)

Question 22
What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?
Answer 22
Christ as our Redeemer executes the offices of a prophet, (Acts 3:22) of a priest, (Hebrews 5:6) and of a king, (Psalms 2:6) both in his state of humiliation and exaltation.

Question 23
How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?
Answer 23
Christ executes the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, (John 1:18) by his Word, (John 20:31) and Spirit, (John 14:26) the will of God for our salvation.

Question 24
How does Christ execute the office of a priest?
Answer 24
Christ executes the office of a priest, in his once offering up himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, (Hebrews 9:28) and to reconcile us to God, (Hebrews 2:17) and in making continual intercession for us. (Hebrews 7:25)

Question 25
How does Christ execute the office of a king?
Answer 25
Christ executes the office of a king in subduing us to himself, (Psalms 110:3) in ruling and defending us, (Matthew 2:6; 1Corinthians 15:25) and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.

Question 26
Wherein did Christ's humiliation consist?
Answer 26
Christ's humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, (Luke 2:7) made under the law, (Galatians 4:4) undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, (Matthew 27:46) and the cursed death of the cross; (Philippians 2:8) in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time. (Matthew 12:40)

Question 27
Wherein consists Christ's exaltation?
Answer 27
Christ's exaltation consists in his rising again from the dead on the third day, (1Corinthians 15:4) in ascending up into heaven, and sitting at the right hand of God the Father, (Mark 16:19) and in coming to judge the world at the last day. (Acts 17:31)

Question 28
How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
Answer 28
We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us (John 1:12) by his Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5,6)

Question 29
How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
Answer 29
The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, (Ephesians 2:8) and by it uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling. (Ephesians 3:17)

Question 30
What is effectual calling?
Answer 30
Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit (2Timothy 1:9) whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, (Acts 2:37) enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, (Acts 26:18) and renewing our wills, (Ezekiel 36:26) he does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel. (John 6:44,45)

Question 31
What benefits do they who are effectually called, partake of in this life?
Answer 31
They who are effectually called, do in this life partake of justification, (Romans 8:30) adoption, (Ephesians 1:5) sanctification, and the various benefits which in this life do either accompany, or flow from them. (1Corinthians 1:30)

Question 32
What is justification?
Answer 32
Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7) and accepts us as righteous in his sight (2Corinthians 5:21) only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, (Romans 5:19) and received by faith alone. (Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9)

Question 33
What is adoption?
Answer 33
Adoption is an act of God's free grace, (1John 3:1) whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God. (John 1:12; Romans 8:17)

Question 34
What is sanctification?
Answer 34
Sanctification is the work of God's Spirit, (2Thessalonians 2:13) whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, (Ephesians 4:24) and are enabled more and more to die to sin, and live to righteousness. (Romans 6:11)

Question 35
What are the benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
Answer 35
The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, (Romans 5:1,2,5) are assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, (Romans 14:17) increase of grace, perseverance in it to the end. (Proverbs 4:18; 1John 5:13; 1Peter 1:5)

Question 36
What benefits do believers receive from Christ at their death?
Answer 36
The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, (Hebrews 12:23) and do immediately pass into glory, (Philippians 1:23; 2Corinthians 5:8; Luke 23:43) and their bodies, being still united to Christ, (1Thessalonians 4:14) do rest in their graves (Isaiah 57:2) till the resurrection. (Job 19:26)

Question 37
What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
Answer 37
At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, (1Corinthians 15:43) shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, (Matthew 10:32) and made perfectly blessed both in soul and body in the full enjoying of God (1 John 3:2) to all eternity. (1Thessalonians 4:17)

Question 38
What shall be done to the wicked at their death?
Answer 38
The souls of the wicked shall at their death be cast into the torments of hell, (Luke 16:22-24) and their bodies lie in their graves till the resurrection, and judgement of the great day. (Psalms 49:14)

Question 39
What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
Answer 39
At the day of judgment the bodies of the wicked being raised out of their graves, shall be sentenced, together with their souls, to unspeakable torments with the devil and his angels for ever. (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28,29; 2Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 25:41)

Question 40
What did God reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
Answer 40
The rule which God first revealed to man for his obedience, is the moral law, (Deuteronomy 10:4; Matthew19:17) which is summarised in the ten commandments.

Question 41
What is the sum of the ten commandments?
Answer 41
The sum of the ten commandments is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbour as ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-40)

Question 42
Which is the first commandment?
Answer 42
The first commandment is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Question 43
What is required in the first commandment?
Answer 43
The first commandment requires us to know (1Chronicles 28:9) and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God, (Deuteronomy 26:17) and to worship and glorify him accordingly. (Matthew 4:10)

Question 44
Which is the second commandment?
Answer 44
The second commandment is, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

Question 45
What is required in the second commandment?
Answer 45
The second commandment requires the receiving, observing, (Deuteronomy 32:46; Matthew 28:20) and keeping pure and entire all such religious worship and ordinances as God has appointed in his Word. (Deuteronomy 12:32)

Question 46
What is forbidden in the second commandment?
Answer 46
The second commandment forbids the worshipping of God by images, (Deuteronomy 4:15,16) or any other way not appointed in his Word. (Colossians 2:18)

Question 47
Which is the third commandment?
Answer 47
The third commandment is, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain."

Question 48
What is required in the third commandment?
Answer 48
The third commandment requires the holy and reverent use of God's names, (Psalms 29:2) titles, attributes, (Revelation 15:3,4) ordinances, (Ecclesiastes 5:1) Word, (Psalms 138:2) and works. (Job 36:24; Deuteronomy 28:58,59)

Question 49
Which is the fourth commandment?
Answer 49
The fourth commandment is, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor they cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."

Question 50
What is required in the fourth commandment?
Answer 50
The fourth commandment requires the keeping holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his Word, expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself. (Leviticus 19:30; Deuteronomy 5:12)

Question 51
How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?
Answer 51
The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days, (Leviticus 23:3) and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God's worship, (Psalms 92:1,2; Isaiah 58:13,14) except so much as is taken up in the works of necessity and mercy. (Matthew 12:11,12)

Question 52
Which is the fifth commandment?
Answer 52
The fifth commandment is, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."

Question 53
What is required in the fifth commandment?
Answer 53
The fifth commandment requires the preserving the honour, and performing the duties belonging to every one in their various positions and relationships as superiors, (Ephesians 5:21,22; Ephesians 6:1,5; Romans 13:1) inferiors, (Ephesians 6:9) or equals. (Romans 12:10)

Question 54
What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
Answer 54
The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is, a promise of long life and prosperity -- as far as it shall serve for God's glory, and their own good -- to all such as keep this commandment. (Ephesians 6:2,3)

Question 55
Which is the sixth commandment?
Answer 55
The sixth commandment is, "Thou shalt not kill."

Question 56
What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
Answer 56
The sixth commandment forbids the taking away of our own life, (Acts 16:28) or the life of our neighbour unjustly, (Genesis 9:6) or whatever tends to it. (Proverbs 24:11,12)

Question 57
Which is the seventh commandment?
Answer 57
The seventh commandment is, "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

Question 58
What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
Answer 58
The seventh commandment forbids all unchaste thoughts, (Matthew 5:28; Colossians 4:6) words, (Ephesians 5:4; 2Timothy 2:22) and actions. (Ephesians 5:3)

Question 59
Which is the eighth commandment?
Answer 59
The eighth commandment is, "Thou shalt not steal."

Question 60
What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
Answer 60
The eighth commandment forbids whatever does or may unjustly hinder our own, (1Timothy 5:8; Proverbs 28:19; Proverbs 21:6) or our neighbour's wealth, or outward estate. (Ephesians 4:28)

Question 61
Which is the ninth commandment?
Answer 61
The ninth commandment is, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."

Question 62
What is required in the ninth commandment?
Answer 62
The ninth commandment requires the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, (Zechariah 8:16) and of our own, (1Peter 3:16; Acts 25:10) and our neighbour's good name, (3John 1:12) especially in witness-bearing. (Proverbs 14:5,25)

Question 63
What is the tenth commandment?
Answer 63
The tenth commandment is, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, or his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's."

Question 64
What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
Answer 64
The tenth commandment forbids all discontentment with our own estate, (1Corinthians 10:10) envying or grieving at the good of our neighbour, (Galatians 5:26) and all inordinate emotions and affections to anything that is his. (Colossians 3:5)

Question 65
Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
Answer 65
No mere man, since the fall, is able in his life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, (Ecclesiastes 7:20) but does daily break them in thought, (Genesis 8:21) word, (James 3:8) and deed. (James 3:2)

Question 66
Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
Answer 66
Some sins in themselves, and by reason of various aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others. (John 19:11; 1John 5:15)

Question 67
What does every sin deserve?
Answer 67
Every sin deserves God's wrath and curse, both in this life and that which is to come. (Ephesians 5:6; Psalms 11:6)

Question 68
How may we escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
Answer 68
To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, we must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, (John 3:16) trusting alone to his blood and righteousness. This faith is attended by repentance for the past (Acts 20:21) and leads to holiness in the future.

Question 69
What is faith in Jesus Christ?
Answer 69
Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, (Hebrews 10:39) whereby we receive, (John 1:12) and rest upon him alone for salvation, (Philippians 3:9) as he is set forth in the gospel. (Isaiah 33:22)

Question 70
What is repentance to life?
Answer 70
Repentance to life is a saving grace, (Acts 11:18) whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sins, (Acts 2:37) and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, (Joel 2:13) does with grief and hatred of his sin turn from it to God, (Jeremiah 31:18,19) with full purpose to strive after new obedience. (Psalms 119:59)

Question 71
What are the outward means whereby the Holy Spirit communicates to us the benefits of redemption?
Answer 71
The outward and ordinary means whereby the Holy Spirit communicates to us the benefits of Christ's redemption, are the Word, by which souls are begotten to spiritual life; Baptism, the Lord's Supper, Prayer, and Meditation, by all which believers are further edified in their most holy faith. (Acts 2:41,42; James 1:18)

Question 72
How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
Answer 72
The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of convicting and converting sinners, (Psalms 19:7) and of building them up in holiness and comfort (1Thessalonians 1:6) through faith to salvation. (Romans 1:16)

Question 73
How is the Word to be read and heard that it may become effectual to salvation?
Answer 73
That the Word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend to it with diligence, (Proverbs 8:34) preparation, (1Peter 2:1,2) and prayer, (Psalms 119:18) receive it with faith, (Hebrews 4:2) and love, (2Thessalonians 2:10) lay it up into our hearts, (Psalms 119:11) and practise it in our lives. (James 1:25)

Question 74
How do Baptism and the Lord's Supper become spiritually helpful?
Answer 74
Baptism and the Lord's Supper become spiritually helpful, not from any virtue in them, or in him who does administer them, (1Corinthians 3:7; 1Peter 3:21) but only by the blessing of Christ, (1Corinthians 3:6) and the working of the Spirit in those who by faith receive them. (1Corinthians 12:13)

Question 75
What is Baptism?
Answer 75
Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, instituted by Jesus Christ, (Matthew 28:19) to be to the person baptised a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death, and burial, and resurrection, (Romans 6:3; Colossians 2:12) of his being ingrafted into him,(Galatians 3:27) of remission of sins, (Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16) and of his giving up himself to God through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4,5)

Question 76
To whom is Baptism to be administered?
Answer 76
Baptism is to be administered to all those who actually profess repentance towards God, (Acts 2:38; Matthew 3:6; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12,36,37; Acts 10:47,48) and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and to none other.

Question 77
Are the infants of such as are professing to be baptised?
Answer 77
The infants of such as are professing believers are not to be baptised, because there is neither command nor example in the Holy Scriptures for their baptism. (Exodus 23:13; Proverbs 30:6)

Question 78
How is baptism rightly administered?
Answer 78
Baptism is rightly administered by immersion, or dipping the whole body of the person in water, (Matthew 3:16; John 3:23) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, according to Christ's institution, and the practice of the apostles, (Matthew 28:19,20) and not by sprinkling or pouring of water, or dipping some part of the body, after the tradition of men. (John 4:1,2; Acts 8:38,39)

Question 79
What is the duty of such as are rightly baptized?
Answer 79
It is the duty of such as are rightly baptized, to give up themselves to some particular and orderly Church of Jesus Christ, (Acts 2:47; Acts 9:26; 1Peter 2:5) that they may walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. (Luke 1:6)

Question 80
What is the Lord's Supper?
Answer 80
The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the New Testament, instituted by Jesus Christ; wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to his appointment, his death is shown forth, (1Corinthians 11:23-26) and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporeal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace. (1Corinthians 10:16)

Question 81
What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord's Supper?
Answer 81
It is required of them who would worthily partake of the Lord's Supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord's body, (1Corinthians 11:28,29) of their faith to feed upon him, (2Corinthians 13:5) of their repentance, (1Corinthians 11:31) love, (1Corinthians 11:18-20) and new obedience, (1Corinthians 5:8) lest coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves. (1Corinthians 11:27-29)

Question 82
What is meant by the words, "until he come," which are used by the apostle Paul in reference to the Lord's Supper?
Answer 82
They plainly teach us that our Lord Jesus Christ will come a second time; which is the joy and hope of all believers. (Acts 1:11; 1Thessalonians 4:16)

Also, see:
A Puritan Confession

The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in December 1997.

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