This year 2021, I am both continuing my individual reading of the Westminster Larger Catechism (now on Q. 106) as well as beginning my first shared study of the same Catechism reading through it starting at the beginning with my wife after dinner.
The Catechism begins…you will find this slightly different than the more familiar Shorter Catechism form of this question and see where I got my title for this blog from.
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Interestingly the Larger Catechism doubles the imperative by adding highest to the question. Not only the chief or primary of perhaps many good ends, but also the highest and most glorious end.
STUDIES IN THE LARGER CATECHISM OF THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY
Lesson 1 For the Week Beginning January 6, 1946.
Q. l What is the chief and highest end of man?
A Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him for ever.
Revelation 4:11 (All things created for God’s pleasure).
Romans 11:6 (All things exist for God)
1 Corinthians 10:1 (it is our duty to glorify God in all we do)
Psalm 75:24-28 (God teaches us how to glorify him, and that we shall enjoy him in glory)
John 17:21-24 (Our supreme destiny is the enjoyment of God in glory).
There are a number of versions of the Catechism online.
One of the best is the OPC site, which actually has even more scripture references. But we are using the Williamson’s edited version of Vos’s original work in hard copy. You can find it here:
The Westminster Larger Catechism (Vos)
The Westminster Larger Catechism: A Commentary Paperback – April 1, 2002
I also found the originally published version on the Blue Banner site.
BLUE BANNER FAITH AND LIFE January 1946
I thought it relevant to read the words Vos writes in the beginning as he introduces these weekly studies. I’ve copied part of his introduction below. This is still relevant today 75 years later.
The present studies in the Larger Catechism have baen prepared for class or discussion group use and have been actually tested in such use. However they are also suitable for individual study or for reference. In class or group use, it is suggested that the leader propound each question but withhold the printed answer until the members of the class have had an opportunity to present their own answers to the question. Then the printed answer may be read and compared with the answer or answers that have already been given, and discussed in the light of the Scripture references. The Scripture references should always be looked up, and an effort should be made to show how each particular reference is related to the subject under discussion.
There is but little value in merely reading a large number of verses, unless the leader or members of the group show the relation of each Scripture verse or reference to some element of the doctrine stated in the Catechism. In these studies, a few words will be added to each reference or group of references to point out their relation to the subject.
It is suggested that a group of adult church members study the Larger Catechism during the Young people’s hour on Sabbath evenings. Such a group might be led by the minister part of the time, and at other times by elders or other members taking turns. The leader should always study the materiel in advance of the group meeting.
The aim of these studies is not to solve all problems or explain all mysteries, but to present the system of doctrine found in the Word of God in an orderly and understandable manner. It should always be borne in mind that the doctrines of the Bible form a system. They are not a miscellaneous collection of isolated truths, but an organism. Each part of a doctrine is related to the whole doctrine, and each doctrine is related to all the other doctrines. The student should seek not merely to grasp the individual doctrines (such as the doctrine of creation, the doctrine of Christ’s two natures, or the doctrine of sanctification, for example), but to see how each of these is related to other doctrines and how each fits into its proper place in the divinely revealed system of truth.