Afternoon Sermon: A Brief Introduction To The Baptist Catechism, Baptist Catechism 6, 1 Timothy 4:6-11

Baptist Catechism 6

Q. 6. What things are chiefly contained in the Holy Scriptures?

A. The Holy Scriptures chiefly contain what man ought to believe concerning God, and what duty God requireth of man. (2 Tim. 3:16,17; John 20:31; Acts 24:14; 1 Cor. 10:11; Eccles. 12:13)

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 4:6–16

“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:6–16, ESV)


This is the last Sunday of 2023. And given that we concluded our study through the Baptist Catechism last Sunday, I thought I would take the opportunity to speak to you about the importance of catechetical (or doctrinal) 0preaching and to give you a very brief overview of our catechism, the Baptist Catechism.

What is catechetical preaching? It is preaching that aims to teach the core doctrines of the Christian faith – that is to say, the core doctrines contained within Holy Scripture – in a systematic way, using a catechism as a guide.

What is a catechism? It is a document that seeks to communicate the core doctrines of the Christians through a series of questions and answers. 

Many catechisms have been produced in the history of the church. Some are good and some are bad. The good ones are faithful to the teaching of Holy Scripture. The bad ones are not. Some are longer and others are shorter. Some are old and others are new. 

The catechism we use here at Emmaus is called the Baptist Catechism. I’d like to tell you about it. 

  1. The Baptist Catechism was written sometime between 1693 and 1695. 
  2. In 1693 an association of Baptist churches in London requested that a catechism be drawn up for use in the churches. By 1695 the Baptist Catechism was in its fifth edition. We do not have copies of the first four editions, and so we say it was written before 1695 and as early as 1693. It must have been very well received by the churches to have gone through five printings in a two year period of time.
  3. Pastor William Collins edited this catechism.  
  4. I refer to them as editors, and not as authors, because the Baptist Catechism is very similar to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which was written in 1646/47. The Baptists adopted most of the WSC, not because they were incapable of producing this work on their own, but to express agreement with their Presbyterian and paedobaptist brethren. There are only 18 of the 114 questions in the Baptist Catechism that differ from the WSC. The main differences are found in the section on Baptism – the WSC teaches infant baptism; the Baptist Catechism teaches baptism upon a credible profession of faith only.  
  5.  The Baptist Catechism consists of 114 questions and answers. These were carefully crafted to summarize the teaching of Holy Scripture and to agree with the doctrines expressed in the Second London Confession of Faith, which is Emmaus’ confession of faith. 

Please allow me to present you with a brief overview of the content of the Baptist Catechism.

  1. First Principles (1-6)

Foundational truths are established here which make the gospel of Jesus Christ intelligible.

  1. What Man Ought To Believe Concerning God (7-43) (7-43)The gospel is presented in this section in a redemptive-historical way (see especially questions 32-34).
    1. God: His Nature, Decrees, Creation, Providence, And Covenant (7-15)
    2. Sin: Man’s Alienation From God By His Fall Into Sin (16-22)
    3. Redemption Accomplished By God Through Christ (23-31)
    4. Redemption Applied By God Through The Spirit (32-43)
    5. Effectual Calling Unto Faith In Christ (32-34)
    6. What Those Effectually Called Are Saved Unto (The Benefits Of Salvation) (35-41)
    7. What Those Effectually Called Are Saved From (The Miseries Of Damnation) (42-43)
  2. What Duty God Requires Of Man (44-114)
    The gospel is presented in this section in a law/gospel way. First, we learn God’s law (44-86). Second, we learn that no mere man is able to keep God’s law, but sins and deserves God’s judgment (87-89). Third, to escape God’s wrath, we are told that we must turn from our sins and trust in Jesus Christ (see especially questions 90-92). Lastly, the ordinary means of grace are presented to us in questions 93-114. These are the means that God ordinarily uses to purify, strengthen, and sustain his people by his grace.
    1. God’s Law (45-89)
    2. The Gospel (90-114)
      1. Faith and Repentance (90-92)
      2. The Outward And Ordinary Means Of Grace (93-114)
        1. The Word Of God (94-95)
        2. Baptism (96-101)
        3. The Lord’s Supper (102-104)
        4. Prayer (105-114)

Why preach catechically? Because ministers of the gospel are called to teach the faith and to contend for the faith. It is true that God’s word – The Holy Scripture – is our final authority in matters of faith and obedience. Our confession of faith states this from the outset. The first line is this: “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.” And our catechism teaches this too. Q. 3 asks, “How may we know there is a God?”

A. “The light of nature in man and the works of God plainly declare that there is a God; but His Word and Spirit only do it fully and effectively for the salvation of sinners.” Q. 4 then asks, “What is the Word of God?” A. “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, and the only certain rule of faith and obedience.” Our belief in the supreme authority of Holy Scripture cannot be more clearly stated. But ministers of the word are called to teach the word. They are to teach and “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). This requires a systematic, theological, study of the Holy Scriptures. This requires systematic teaching. 

Brothers and sisters, there are multiple ways to teach the Bible. Preachers may preach the word in an expositional way, moving through the text of Scripture verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. This is a very good approach. And this is the approach we take in the first service. The Scriptures can also be taught topically. Here some particular topic of interest to the people of God is addressed from the totality of the Scriptures. Catechetical preaching is topical or systematic, but it is unique in that it focuses attention on the core tenets of the Christian faith. 

I hope and pray that you never grow tired of catechetical preaching. For one, it is good for those seasoned in the faith to be reminded of old, foundational truths. Two, there will always be young people and new believers who need to be instructed in the fundamentals. Everyone in the church – young and old, seasoned believers and new believers – ought to rejoice over the proclamation of the foundational truths of the Christian faith.   

Q. 6. “What things are chiefly contained in the Holy Scriptures?”

A. “The Holy Scriptures chiefly contain what man ought to believe concerning God, and what duty God requireth of man.”

Lord God, may we never stop growing in our understanding of you and what it is that you require of us. May we grow in our knowledge and appreciation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

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

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