For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full (II Cor. 10:3-6).

Captive Thoughts” is dedicated to bringing every thought captive to Christ through the study of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, with primary focus on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This effort is a compilation of several years of catechetical study conducted at Westminster Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Westminster, California, by its Christian Education Committee and the author of this site.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q46


The Doctrinal Heading for this section of questions (Q43-62) is The Means of Grace: The Commandments: The First Table. (see Harmony Index)
We move forward in our catechism study to what is required in the first commandment. Words are fascinating things. If language and speech is the paintbrush of human thought and communication, then words are the colors of the pallet used to give shape and shading on the canvas of how we live and express ourselves. When a person asks a question, selecting a certain word or arranging a phrase in a certain way has an effect on what is conveyed and communicated. A different word or phrase could subtly change the question, yielding a different perspective and a different answer. For example, change the familiar word “required” in Q46, and a different mental picture may be drawn. The dictionary (or thesaurus) suggests synonyms such as these: requisite, needed, necessary, essential, vital, indispensable, not to be spared, called for, in demand, or wanted.
Part of the craft of devotional study is to give oneself to the consideration of the matter at hand, meditating upon the meaning and application of the instruction or word picture which is brought to mind. In this particular question, substitute the word “required” with various words listed above. How does the perspective change for you and your daily encounter with the One in whom you live and move and have your being? May the realities of our redemption deepen as we draw near to him who has called us out of the darkness and into the light, where all the beauties of life and its meaning in him are beheld in the joys of our salvation.
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WSC Q46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly[a].
[a] I Chron. 28:9; Is. 45:20-25; Matt. 4:10
Question 46 asks what the first commandment requires and answers that the first commandment requires us to know and recognize God as the only true God and our God, and to worship and glorify him accordingly.
Comments and considerations:
Notice the word accordingly; it means agreeably, correspondingly, or in natural sequence, consequently; it indicates a connection between two things, the latter of which is done on account of the former. When you look at this statement as to what is required in the first commandment, there is a logic and natural sequence in three corresponding parts.
“Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?” said the professor to the oldest Pevensie children in C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Well, maybe in Lewis’s time and ours, logic isn’t taught much; but it was certainly taught at the time in which our forefathers penned our Confessions. See the truth they gleaned from Scripture and the logical way in which they summarized it in the excellent arrangement of this catechism statement. The first commandment requires us to:
1.     Know God as the only true God, and in rightly knowing him
2.     Acknowledge him as the only true God, and
3.     Be our God, and as such do what is next required
4.     Worship him and thus
5.     Glorify him accordingly
The root of accordingly is accord, which means “to reconcile, agree, be in harmony, make agree”; literally, it means “to be of one heart.” The first commandment is Thou shalt have no other gods before me, and thus it is required that he is to be known and acknowledged as God, the only true God, our God; worshipped and glorified accordingly. From start to end, he is God, our God, to be worshipped and glorified above all else.
Training Hearts and Teaching Minds Questions:
1.     Read Jer. 9:23-24. What ought to be the first priority in our life? How does this relate to WSC Q1?
2.     Read Is. 43:10-12. Take a moment to consider both the lessons of Scripture and your personal experience. What are some of those things that people choose to be their god rather than the one true God?
3.     What does it mean when the catechism says that God is to be known and recognized as “our God”? See Ps. 63:1-4.
4.     The English root to the word worship is the term worth. Think of those things in your life or possession that are of particular value to you. What is your attitude and involvement in those things? The worship of God is more than just an occasional prayer or offering of praise to God, more than the singing of hymns. It is demonstrating by word, thought, and deed the value of God in our speech, desires, and life. How does Paul speak concerning the worth of Christ in his life in Phil. 3:7-8?
5.     How does Paul speak concerning our daily activities in 1 Cor. 10:31?
6.     How serious does God consider our knowing and acknowledging him as “the only true God?” See Ps. 50:22-23.
Harmony of the Standards: WSC Q46and WLC Q104
WSC Q46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly[a].
[a] I Chron. 28:9; Is. 45:20-25; Matt. 4:10
WLC Q104. What are the duties required in the first commandment?
A.  The duties required in the first commandment[a] are: the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God[b]; and to worship and glorify him accordingly[c], by thinking[d], meditating[e], remembering[f], highly esteeming[g], honoring[h], adoring[i], choosing[j], loving[k], desiring[l], fearing of him[m]; believing him[n]; trusting[o], hoping[p], delighting[q], rejoicing in him[r]; being zealous for him[s]; calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks[t], and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man[u]; being careful in all things to please him[v], and sorrowful when in any thing he is offended[w]; and walking humbly with him[x].
[a] The exposition of the Ten Commandments found in answers to Questions 46-81 are deductions from the commandments themselves and the rules set forth in the Larger Catechism, Q99.  The texts under the specifications are given to show that they are in accord with the general teaching of the Scriptures.
      [b]  I Chron. 28:9; Deut. 26:17; Isa. 43:10; Jer. 14:22.
      [c]  Psa. 95:6-7; Matt. 4:10; Psa. 29:2.
      [d]  Mal. 3:16.
      [e]  Psa. 63:6.
      [f]  Ecc. 12:1.
      [g]  Psa. 18.1, 2.
      [h]  Mal. 1:6.
      [i]  Isa. 45:23; Psa. 96.
      [j]  Josh. 24: 22.
      [k]  Deut. 6:5.
      [l]  Psa. 73:25.
      [m]  Isa. 8:13.
      [n]  Exod. 14:31; Rom. 10:11; Acts 10:43.
      [o]  Isa. 26:4; Psa. 40:4.
      [p]  Psa. 130:7.
      [q]  Psa. 37:4.
      [r]  Psa. 32:11.
      [s]  Rom. 12:11; Rev. 3:19; Num. 25:11.
      [t]  Phil. 4:6.
      [u]  Jer. 7:23; Jam. 4:7; Rom. 12:1.
      [v]  I John 3:22.
      [w]  Neh. 13:8; Psa. 73:21; Jer. 31:18, 19; Psa. 119:136.
      [x]  Micah 6:8.
Question(s) for further study:

WLC Q104 initially reads the same as WSC Q46, but than expanses at length the meaning of the fivefold requirements of the first commandment. How many qualifiers are listed in the expanded instruction, and how might they be listed under each requirement category?

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