As Troy announced on Sunday, as part of my preparation for ordination, I am in the process of memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism and Scripture references for each question and answer. We are providing book marks starting Sunday with the memorization plan, and it is our hope to use this blog to provide additional reflection on each question.
We realize there may be some who simply do not see the value in memorizing catechisms. I am quite sympathetic, as a person who struggles to memorize Scripture, to those who would say our time could be better spent on memorizing the Word of God only. Memorizing catechisms could, for some people, be seen as a waste of time and energy. Not only for adults, but also for our children, as many of us use the First Catechisms in our homes to begin Biblical instruction to our young ones. Biblical literacy is indeed our top priority. We want to know what the Word of God says. We want to pour through the pages of the Bible, hiding it in our hearts and helping our children do the same. Please do put your time and energy into memorizing Scripture. Make it your top priority. However, we must remember this: Catechisms, when used properly, do not replace the memorization of Scripture, but rather, help bring clarity to what we are memorizing. It is one thing to memorize John 3:16 as a child. It is another to memorize it and know that to believe in Christ means that "Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel." (Shorter Catechism #86)
My own heart has been encouraged as I have watched my young children memorize catechisms. When my daughters tell me that God created them and all things for his own glory, and that we can glorify God by loving him and doing what he commands, I realize that the catechisms have given these young children a better understanding of Biblical truth than what many believing adults have, and in just a few questions and answers, these little ones are able to summarize grand truths of Scripture! This is the real value in this effort, and it is our prayer and hope that you would all be edified by this work, and that your knowledge and understanding of the Word of God would grow!