Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #60 & 61

Doctrinal Standard #60-61

  • Q. How do we keep the Sabbath holy?
  • A. We keep the Sabbath holy by resting the whole day from worldly affairs or recreations, even ones that are lawful on other days. Except for necessary works or acts of mercy we should spend all our time publicly and privately worshipping God.
  • Q. What does the fourth commandment forbid?
  • A. The fourth commandment forbids failing to do or carelessly doing what we are supposed to do. It also forbids treating the day as unholy by loafing, by doing anything in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thinking, talking about, or working on our worldly affairs or recreations.

Memory Verses

  • “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night” (Psalm 92:1–2, ESV).


  • Study Passage: Acts 20:6-12
  • Support Passages: Exodus 16:22-30; Psalm 92; Isaiah 66:23; Luke 4:16; Leviticus 23:3; Ezekiel 23:36-39; Colossians 3:16-17
  • Bible Story: Nehemiah 13:15-22


  • “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.”[1]  Isa 58.13; Neh 13.15-22. Matt 12.1-13.
  • “When the catechism speaks of ‘worldly employments and recreations,’ it simply means those things that God calls us to do on the six days of the week appointed for this purpose. These things are the things that we do to fulfil our task in the world – the task that we will one day lay down never to resume, because it is appointed to us to die and then be judged.” [2]

Discussion Questions

  • What type of things should we avoid on the Sabbath?
  • What things should we do on the Sabbath?
  • Why do you think God gave mankind a Sabbath?
  • Do you think the Sabbath is a curse or a gift for man? Explain
  • God tells us in six days we shall do our work. What does this teach us about procrastination?


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

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

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