Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #55 & 56

Doctrinal Standard #55-56

  • Q. What does the third commandment forbid?
  • A. The third commandment forbids our treating as unholy or abusing anything God uses to make Himself known.
  • Q. What is the reason for the third commandment?
  • A. The reason for the third commandment is that the Lord our God will not allow those who break this commandment to escape His righteous judgment, although they may escape punishment from men.

Memory Verses

  • “And if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory” (Jeremiah 4:2,ESV).


  • Study Passage: James 3:1-12
  • Support Passages: Isaiah 26:8,29:13; Matthew 5:33-37,23:16-23,26:63-64; James 5:12, Malachi 1:6-14,2:2,3:13-15; Jeremiah 7:4-11,30-34; Proverbs 30:9; Deuteronomy 18:10-14; 2 Timothy 4:3-4
  • Bible Story: Leviticus 24:10-16


  • “We saw in the last question and answer that, when God commands us not to misuse His name, He is concerned with our attitude toward Him. The third commandment covers more than just our attitude toward God’s name. It also requires a reverent attitude toward everything God uses to make Himself known. We saw in the last question and answer that God makes Himself known to us through all things: His names, titles, and attributes, His regulations for coming to Him and for growing in godliness, His Word, and His works.
  • This third commandment requires us to use all these things to grow in our knowledge of God and in our obedience to Him. It requires us not only to use these things, but to use them with reverence. At the same time, of course, there are things this commandment forbids. We are forbidden to show irreverence, or disrespect, to any of the things God has given to make Himself known to us. God forbids us to treat these things as though they were ordinary things. We must treat them as holy. We may not abuse these things or fail to use them as God intended them to be used. God insists that we honor Him as He ought to be honored.
  • We are to use God’s Word and use it reverently. Sometimes, children who have grown up in Christian families, attending Christian churches, behave as though they are tired of God’s Word. Instead of bringing their Bibles with them to use them in a Sunday school class, they do not even want to use one the teacher lends them. They excuse themselves by saying things like, ‘I already know this.’ Such children show disrespect for God’s Word.
    People also misuse God’s Word by using verses from it to teach things it really does not teach. These people use one or two verses instead of using all of God’s Word. They make those verses say things God never intended His Word to say. The apostle Peter wrote about Paul’s epistles, which are a part of the Word of God. He spoke about people who were making Paul’s letters say things they did not really say. Read what he said about such people in 2 Peter 3:16. People also misuse God’s Word when they call their own opinions ‘the word of the Lord.’ People will say things like, ‘The Lord told me to do that,’ or ‘God spoke to me.’ They are really talking about a feeling or an opinion that they have had. God has told us everything He has to say to us in the Bible. He does not speak in any other way.” [1]

Discussion Questions

  • What does the third commandment forbid?
  • What are the different ways God makes himself known?
  • How could people abuse or treat these things as unholy?
  • Have you every abused or treated these things as unholy?
  • What does this reveal about your heart?
  • If we find ourselves sinning in this area what should we do to correct this?

[1] Meade, Starr (200). Training Heart, Teaching Minds. Phillipsburg, New Jersey, USA; P&R Publishing Company.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

© 2011-2022 Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church