Class: Overview of the Westminster Confession of Faith

Here are links to live video recordings plus the web version of the paper handout. In each class, I answer previous questions, briefly overview the structure of the chapter, read key verses, then read and comment on at least one section from the chapter. My goals for the class are to overview the confession, entice you to learn more on your own, and give you opportunites to get your questions answered.

📼 Class 1: Chapters 1-5

For an excellent written commentary, read Confessing the Faith: A Reader’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith and the corresponding study guide by Chad and Emily Van Dixhoorn.

Chapter 1: Holy Scripture

  • the reason for Holy Scripture (1)
  • the books of Holy Scripture (2-3)
  • the authority of Holy Scriputre (4)
  • the testimony concerning Holy Scripture (5)
  • the sufficiency of Holy Scripture (6)
  • the clarity of Holy Scripture (7)
  • the sharing of Holy Scripture (8)
  • the interpretation of Holy Scripture (9)
  • the judgment of Holy Scripture (10)

2 Timothy 3v14-16: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Romans 15v4: For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Chapter 2: Of God, and the Holy Trinity

  • the nature of God (1)
  • the supremacy of God (2)
  • the unity of persons as God (3)

Jeremiah 10v10: But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.

Romans 11v36: For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Proverbs 16v4: The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

Chapter 3: Of God’s Eternal Decree

  • all things that happen are ordained by God (1-2)
  • salvation and damnation are also ordained by God, to the exat number (3-4)
  • reasons for God’s ordaining the salvation of some from their sin (5)
  • the means are foreordained too (6)
  • reasons fo God’s ordaining some to the consequences of their sin (7)
  • how we ought to treat this “high mystery” (8)

Isaiah 46v10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

Revelation 4v11: Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.

Ephesians 1v11: In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will

Job 23v13: But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does.

Acts 2v23: this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Chapter 4: Of Creation

  • the creation of the world by God (1)
  • the creation of man by God, under God, and over his creatures (2)

Genesis 1v1-3 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

1 Corinthians 8v6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

OPC Report on Views of Creation: www.opc.org/GA/creati…

Chapter 5: Of Providence

  • God upholds and directs all things (1)
  • God uses second causes (2)
  • God uses means but isn’t bound to them (3-4)
  • God’s providence extends to the fall (4)
  • Reasons why God’s people suffer hard providences (5, 7)
  • Reasons why wicked people suffer hard providences (6)

John 10v29: My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Matt 10v29-30: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

Daniel 4v34-3: At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof

  • the fact of the fall (1)
  • the effects of the fall (2)
  • the spread of the fall to others (3)
  • the spread of the fall in ourselves (4)
  • the remains of the fall in the re-born (5)
  • the guilt of the fall (6)

Rom 3v23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Prov 20v9: Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?

1 John 1v8, 10: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

John 3v6: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Chapter 7: Of God’s Covenant with Man

  • knowledge of God through covenant (1)
  • the Covenant of Works (2)
  • the Covenant of Grace (3-4)
  • different administrations of the Covenant of Grace (5-6)

Job 9v32-33For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both.

2 Cor 3v6-8: who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?

Jer 31v31-33: Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Gal 3v7-9: Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Chatper 8: Of Christ the Mediator

  • the offices and work of Jesus for mankind (1)
  • the incarnation of the Son of God (2-3)
  • the obedient suffering of Christ (4)
  • the satsifaction and reward of justice (5)
  • the benefits given to all the saints (6)
  • on the two natures of Christ the Mediator (7)
  • not a partial, but a fullly effectual atonement (8)

1 Pet 1v19-20: but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you

1 Cor 1v30: And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

Heb 2v14, 16-17: Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Chapter 9: Of Free Will

  • God has given mankind a free and able will (1)
  • before the fall: able to do good or fall
  • after the fall: will hates the good (3)
  • power of grace in this age: free from natural bondage to sin, but with remaining corruption (4)
  • power of grace in the age to come: free to good alone (5)

Eccl 7v29: See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.

Jas 4v7: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Col 3v10: and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

John 6v44-45: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—

John 15v5: I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Gal 5v17: For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

  • the elect come freely by the call of God in Word and Spirit (1)
  • this effectual call is by grace alone (2)
  • a note on elect infants and others uncapable of outward calling (3)
  • none can be saved who aren’t called (4)

Rom 8v30: And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

2 Tim 1v9-10: who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

Ezek 36v26-27 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

John 6v37: All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

1 Cor 16v22: If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.

Christopher Chelpka @christopherchelpka