The Westminster Confession: A Commentary

by A. A. Hodge

In ePub, .mobi and .pdf formats

In this classic guide to The Westminster Confession of Faith, A.A. Hodge examines each chapter of the confession in a clear and understandable way. This volume is intended both to facilitate and stimulate study of the Westminster Confession and is excellent material for discipleship - designed for Presbyterians, but accessible and useful for everyone.He begins with a short history of the creeds and confessions in general and a history of the Westminster Confession in particular, including the historical and theological events which inspired its composition. Most of the volume is rightly devoted to detailed commentary on the Confession itself. Each chapter includes a detailed exposition of the Confession, and concludes with dozens of questions for review and reflection.Each chapter includes a detailed exposition of the Confession, and concludes with dozens of questions for review and reflection. A Commentary on the Confession of Faith also includes appendices which contain statements by Charles Hodge and Henry B. Smith, as well as the 1879 Auburn Declaration and the Declarative Act of the United Presbyterian Synod of Scotland.


All that man is to believe concerning God, and the entire duty which God requires of man, are revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and are to be believed and obeyed because contained therein, because it is the word of God. This divine word, therefore, is the only standard of doctrine which has intrinsic authority binding the conscience of men. And all other standards are of value or authority only in proportion as they teach what the Scriptures teach.

While, however, the Scriptures are from God, the understanding of them belongs to the part of men. Men illumined by the Holy Spirit must interpret to the best of their ability each particular part of Scripture separately, and then combine all that the Scriptures teach upon every subject into a consistent whole, and then adjust their teachings upon different subjects in mutual consistency as parts of a harmonious system. Every student of the Bible must do this, and all make it obvious that they do it by the terms they use in their prayers and religious discourse, whether they admit or deny the propriety of human creeds and confessions. If they refuse the assistance afforded by the statements of doctrine slowly elaborated and defined by the Church, they must make out their own creed by their own unaided wisdom. The real question is not, as often pretended, between the word of God and the creed of man, but between the tried and proved faith of the collective body of God’s people, and the private judgment and the unassisted wisdom of the repudiator of creeds.

Creeds and Confessions, therefore, have been found necessary in all ages and branches of the Church, and, when not abused, have been useful for the following purposes: (1.) To mark, disseminate and preserve the attainments made in the knowledge of Christian truth by any branch of the Church in any crisis of its development. (2.) To discriminate the truth from the glosses of false teachers, and to present it in its integrity and due proportions. (3.) To act as the basis of ecclesiastical fellowship among those so nearly agreed as to be able to labor together in harmony. (4.) To be used as instruments in the great work of popular instruction.

It must be remembered, however, that the matter of these Creeds and Confessions binds the consciences of men only so far as it is purely scriptural, and because it is so; and as to the form in which that matter is stated, they bind those only who have voluntarily subscribed the Confession, and because of that subscription.


Table of Contents

A Short History of the Creeds and Confessions

Some Account of the Origin of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms 

Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scripture 

Chapter 2: Of God and the Holy Trinity 

Chapter 3: Of God's Eternal Decree 

Chapter 4: Of Creation 

Chapter 5: of Providence 

Chapter 6: Of The Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof 

Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant With Man 

Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator 

Chapter 9: Of Free Will 

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling 

Chapter 11: Of Justification 

Chapter 12: Of Adoption 

Chapter 13: Of Sanctification 

Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith 

Chapter 15: Of Repentance Unto Life 

Chapter 16: Of Good Works 

Chapter 17: Of Perseverance of the Saints 

Chapter 18: Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation 

Chapter 19: Of the Law of God 

Chapter 20: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience 

Chapter 21: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day 

Chapter 22: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows 

Chapter 23: Of the Civil Magistrate 

Chapter 24: Of Marriage and Divorce 

Chapter 25: Of the Church 

Chapter 26: Of the Communion of the Saints 

Chapter 27: of the Sacraments 

Chapter 28: Of Baptism 

Chapter 29: Of the Lord's Supper 

Chapter 30: Of Church Censures 

Chapter 31: Of Synods and Councils 

Chapter 32: Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead 

Chapter 33: Of the Last Judgment 

Appendix 1: The Meaning of 'System of Doctrine': Old School vs. New School 

Appendix 2: The Auburn Declaration and The Declaratory Act 

Appendix 3: What is Presbyterianism? by Charles Hodge 

Appendix 4: What is Meant by Adopting the Westminster Confession? 

Appendix 5: On the Passages of the Confession Concerning the Magistrate's Power as to Religion and the Church

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