Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #58 & 59

Doctrinal Standard #58-59

  • Q. What does the fourth commandment require?
  • A. The fourth commandment requires us to set apart to God the times He has established in His word – specifically one whole day out of every seven as a holy Sabbath to Him.
  • Q. Which day of the week has God designated as the Sabbath?
  • A. From the beginning of the world until the resurrection of Christ God established the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. From that time until the end of the world the first day of the week is the Christian Sabbath.

Memory Verses

  • “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:7–8,ESV).


  • Study Passage: Romans 14:1-12
  • Support Passages: Deuteronomy 5:12-14; Genesis 2:2-3; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10
  • Bible Story: Numbers 15:32-36


  • The London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 provides some insight to this command to keep the Sabbath. The excerpt below is from chapter 20 section 7 and 8 of the LBC with brief comments from Peter Masters.
  • “7. As it is the law of nature that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, should be set apart for the worship of God, so He has given in His Word a positive, moral and perpetual commandment, binding upon all men, in all ages to this effect. He has particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy for Him.28 From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ this was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ it was changed to the first day of the week and called the Lord’s Day.29 This is to be continued until the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week having been abolished. 28 Exod 20.8. 29 1 Cor 16.1-2; Acts 20.7; Rev 1.10.8. The Sabbath is kept holy to the Lord by those who, after the necessary preparation of their hearts and prior arranging of their common [ordinary or domestic] affairs, observe all day a holy rest from their own works, words and thoughts about their worldly employment and ­recreations, 30 and give themselves over to the public and private acts of worship for the whole time, and to carrying out duties of necessity and mercy.30 Isa 58.13; Neh 13.15-22. 31 Matt 12.1-13. [1]

Discussion Questions

  • What does the 4th commandment require?
  • What should our Sabbath day consist of?
  • What day does the catechism say the Sabbath should be observed?
  • What was significant about the first day of the week that would make the day change?
  • How is this command related to the first three commands of the Ten Commandments?

[1] Masters, Peter (1982). The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 – Notes by Peter Masters. Ashland, Ohio, USA; BookMasters, Inc.

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