I am now reciting all 107 questions of the WSC several times a week (something children used to do in the seventeenth century), and I’m finding it most refreshing. I thought I would give the bookends of the logic with a summary of the questions in-between.
Westminster Shorter Catechism Rundown:
Q.1: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
This question serves to answer the world-famous philosopher question of Why are we here? God created man, as is stated nine questions later in the catechism, and our ultimate purpose is for His glory – that is why we are here and that is what we must set ourselves about to do.
Questions 2-9: Introduces the Scriptures; God (the Author of the Scriptures) in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and His eternal decrees.
Questions 10-19: Introduces mankind, the fall of man, and the path all men are on.
Questions 20-28: Introduces Christ, Savior of our race; the offices Christ holds; and what He did to bring man upon a different path.
Questions 29-38: Explains how Christ’s work is applied to us and the benefits that follow.
Questions 39-81: THIS IS THE LARGEST SEGMENT: Introduces the duty of man, which is the moral law, and gives a summary of the entire moral law, expressed in the Two Greatest Commandments and the Ten Commandments. Explains what is required and forbidden in each commandment.
Questions 82-84: Shows the tragedy of sin upon all mankind and what it deserves.
Questions 85-98: Shows what is necessary for salvation and the means of His continual nourishment and provision for us, giving the Word, Sacraments, and Prayer as special means.
Questions 99-107: An expository on the Lord’s Prayer.
Question 107: What doth the conclusion of the Lords’ Prayer teach us?
A: The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen, teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him; and, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.
Much as the first question gives God as the ultimate reason for existence, the last question gives us a clear example from the model prayer how to give the glory back to the Lord. It is as though the Puritans were saying, “To God be the glory, and this is why, because this is what happened, this is what is required, this is what God did for us, and here is how we may glorify Him.”