Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #45 & 46

Doctrinal Standard #45 & 46

  • Q. What is the first commandment?
  • A. The first commandment is: You shall have no other gods before me.
  • Q. What does the first commandment require?
  • A. 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.

Memory Verses

  • “For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 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” (1 Corinthians 8:5–6, ESV).


  • Study Passage: Luke 14:25-35
  • Support Passages: Deuteronomy 4:35,39; I Samuel 2:2; II Samuel 7:22; I Kings 3:12, 8:60; Acts 4:12
  • Bible Story: Judges6:25-32


  • “The first commandment is concerned with the object of true worship. The principal set forth in this commandment is this: It is true and living God (and none other) who is to be worshiped and served by men. Before we concern ourselves about the proper manner of worship (in the second commandment), or the proper attitude (in the third commandment), or even the proper time of worship (in the fourth commandment), we must first be certain that the object of our worship is the true and living God.
  • Here we see how contrary this commandment is to popular religious opinion. For nothing is more common than the idea that it doesn’t matter what particular religion one may have, or what denomination one belongs to, since it is taken for granted by most people that those different religions have the same object in view. The different religions, in other words, are commonly thought to be just different ways of knowing one and the same God. But the Bible does not agree with this. No, it says ‘though there be [those] that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we by him’ (1 Cor. 8:5-6). Since there are many ‘gods,’ and since only one God is the true and living God, it becomes extremely important to know and acknowledge the true God as God.
  • If God were only the creation of man’s imagination, then all ‘gods’ would be ‘created equal.’ One ‘god’ would have no higher claim than another. This is the exact truth with all the ‘gods’ that men have made. In ancient times men created “gods” for themselves. They made these ‘gods’ out of wood, stone, silver, gold, and so on. Today men create ‘gods’ for themselves having no material form. They imagine a ‘god’ who is without wrath, for example; a ‘god’ who does not punish sin. Now of course these ‘gods’ that men create in their minds have no real existence. They only seem real to those who ‘believe in them.’ Just as the idols in the Old Testament times were only wood or stone, so these ‘gods’ that men have created out of their own imagination today are nothing more than idols.” [1]

Discussion Questions

  • What is the first commandment of the Ten Commandments?
  • What are the types of “god” men put before the real God?
  • What does this first command require?
  • How can people who say they worship God really be worshiping an idol (refer to thoughts section)?
  • Why is it important to know as much as we can about God?


[1] Williamson, C.I. (2003). The Westminster Shorter Catechism – 2nd Edition. Phillipsburg, New Jersey, USA; P&R Publishing Company.

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