G.I. Williamson’s exposition on The Westminster Shorter Catechism is unlike most books I’ve reviewed, because it’s not exactly a living book (although it is abundantly clear that the author is passionate about his topic), even though it’s devoted to uncovering the living and active Word of God!
I wanted to recommend it as an aid to teaching older children (ages 10+) about God and our duties towards Him because there is no greater thing we can study than the central teachings of Scripture!
The Westminster Shorter Catechism was originally compiled in the mid-1600s by Scottish theologians so that children could be “catechized,” or taught the truths of the Christian faith from a very young age.
Biblical doctrines were succinctly summarized in a Question & Answer format for ease of memorization.
Multiple scriptural proof texts for each statement of faith were given as supporting evidence and to encourage those being “catechized” (taught the Christian faith) to be like the Bereans, and study whether these things be true. (Acts 17:11)
G.I. Williamson’s book digs a little deeper into the proof texts behind each Catechism answer and has become an invaluable tool in explaining theological truths to adults and children alike.
I’ve often felt my own ineptitude when asked questions about the Bible that are difficult to explain. Many things we believe are true because the Bible says so (like Creation, and the doctrine of the Trinity, for example) must be accepted by faith and not by our finite human reasoning and limited understanding. Williamson’s book reminds us that this is not a bad thing by elaborating often on who we are and Who God is.
Yet, Williamson makes doctrine a delightful thing to study together! With a great deal of clarity, illustrations and analogies from a stick-figure named Shorty, helpful diagrams, explanations replete with Scripture, and a set of review/narration questions at the end of each chapter, “The Westminster Shorter Catechism For Study Classes,” is an excellent addition to Family Worship, a Morning Basket, or an in-depth Bible study for a new believer.
Multiple headings on each page make it easier to bite off small portions to chew on through the day. If you’ve been using a Children’s Bible and have found that your children are ready for something deeper to meditate on, The Westminster Shorter Catechism For Study Classes by G.I. Williamson is a great “next step.”
You can find it, here.