In 1 Corinthians 14:19 Paul says, “In the church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” In Galatians 6:6 he says, “Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.” Acts 18:25 says that Apollos “has been instructed in the way of the Lord.”
In the MCF, the first article of faith states: “The Holy Scriptures, as originally given by God, are divinely inspired, infallible, entirely trustworthy, and constitute the only supreme authority in all matters of faith” (MCF Constitution, 2019). In each of these verses quoted above the Greek word for “instruct” or “teach” is katecheo. From this word we get our English word “catechize”. It simply means to teach Biblical truth in an orderly way. Generally, this is done with questions and answers accompanied by Biblical support and explanation. The practice of teaching the Truth as stipulated in the Scriptures through foundational questions is rooted in the Church’s history, but it is a practice that is rarely performed today. We in the MCF see great value in such practice, so we have prepared a collection of such questions and Biblical answers to create a catechism for the members of the MCF of Canada.
Each week, we will post one question and its corresponding answer along with the Scripture references that support the answer. The Scripture references posted with each question will have hyperlinks so that you can quickly verify that the answer given is in accordance with the Bible. Considering the question, its answer and the references that support the answer will take only a few minutes.
DO THIS AND YOU WILL BE ENCOURAGED IN THE FAITH,
MEDITATE ON THE TRUTHS PRESENTED AND YOU WILL GROW IN YOUR FAITH,
MEMORIZE THESE TRUTHS AND YOU WILL BECOME AN INSTRUMENT OF GOD’S GRACE TO OTHERS.
Question 1: Who is the first and best of beings?
Answer: God is the first and best of beings.
Question 2: What is the chief end of man?
Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
Comment: “Glorify” does not mean make glorious. It means [to] reflect or display as glorious. Other words you could use for “end” are “goal” or “purpose”.
Question 3: How do we know there is a God?
Answer: The light of nature in man, and the works of God, plainly declares that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only, do effectually reveal him unto us for our salvation.
Comment: The question distinguishes two kinds of knowledge: one is natural and comes from conscience (“the light of nature in man”) and from the works of God in nature; the other is spiritual or saving, and comes from the recognition of the true value of God and the beauty of his character. Natural knowledge is possessed by all people and thus makes all people accountable to honor and thank God. Spiritual knowledge is possessed only by those whose natural blindness has been overcome by the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 2:14-16). Our children must come to see the difference between these lest they think they are saved by much natural knowledge about God—which the devils also have James 2:19).
Question 4: How do we know there is a God?
Answer: The light of nature in man, and the works of God, plainly declares that there is a God; but His word and spirit only, do effectually reveal him unto us for our salvation.
Comment: “Scriptures” is a special word for the “writings” of the OT and NT. Perhaps you will want to explain that the OT deals with God’s word that came before Jesus was born; and the NT is the word of God that came after Jesus was born. “Infallible” means it will never lead us astray in what it teaches. It is true and does not err. It can be trusted. “Faith” refers to right thinking and feeling; and “practice” refers to right doing. We measure our thoughts and emotions and actions by the rule of the Bible. “Inspiration” means that it is God-breathed: by his Spirit he guided his spokesmen to speak his word in their language.
Question 5: How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?
Answer: The Bible evidences itself to be God’s Word by the heavenliness of its doctrine, the unity of its parts, and its power to convert sinners and to edify saints. But only the Spirit of God can make us willing to agree and submit to the Bible as the Word of God..
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:6-7,13-16; Psalm 19:7-9; 119:18,129; Acts 10:43; 26:22; 18:28; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 15:4; John 16:13,14; 1 John 2:20-27; 2 Corinthians 3:14-17; 4:4, 6.s 1:21-24; 2:9, 10; Matthew 11:27.
Comment: “Heavenliness” refers to the fact [that] the teachings of Scripture are of such a nature that they cannot be explained by mere human resources. They bear the marks of the supernatural. “No man ever spoke like this man” (John 7:46). The “unity of its parts” has to do especially with the way all Scripture points to Christ. “To him all the prophets bear witness” (Acts 10:43). There are detailed and scholarly historical arguments for the reliability of the Bible, but these are generally beyond the acquaintance of ordinary Christians, and so do not serve as widespread support for Scripture. They are needed, however, in the scholarly arena. [See “Is the Bible a Reliable Guide to Lasting Joy” in Desiring God by John Piper (Multnomah Press, 1986).]
Question 6: May all men make use of the Scriptures?
Answer: All men are not only permitted, but commanded and exhorted, to read, hear, and understand the Scriptures.
Question 7: What do the Scriptures mainly teach?
Answer: The Scriptures mainly teach what man is to believe about God and what duty God requires of man.
Question 8: What is God?
Answer: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
Comment: Ask what “infinite” means (there is no limit to how great he is!). What does “eternal” mean? (He never had a beginning and will never have an ending!) Talk about how God can respond to us and yet not be “changeable.” (His character never changes; he acts consistently on the same principles always. Even his responses to us are known and planned long before so that his purposes are unchanging.)
Question 9: Are there more Gods than one?
Answer: There is only one living and true God.
Comment: There are “gods” which are idols, but they are not “living”. And there are “gods” which are angels or demons, but they are not “true” God, that is they are not eternal, infinite and unchanging. Only one God is living and true.
Question 10: How many persons are there in the Godhead?
Answer: 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.
Comment: The word “Godhead” is needed because we shouldn’t say that there are three persons in God. No, there are three persons who are God. Nor should we say that there are three Gods. There is one God. They are distinct persons with special roles in creation and redemption. But they are in perfect harmony and are (in ways beyond our comprehension) perfectly One God. (See The Pleasures of God, by John Piper, Multnomah Press, pp. 38, 42-44 for one explanation of the Trinity.)