Q. 53–56, The Third Commandment

Q. 53. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Q. 54. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word and works.

Q. 55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known.

Q. 56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the third commandment is that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.

Proof Texts

Q. 53: Ex. 20:7; Deut. 5:11. Q. 54: Deut. 10:20; Ps. 29:2; Matt. 6:9; 1 Chron. 29:10–13; Rev. 15:3–4; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:27–28; Ps. 138:2; Rev. 22:18–19; Ps. 107:21–22; Rev. 4:11. Q. 55: Lev. 19:12; Matt. 5:33–37; James 5:12. Q. 56: Deut. 28:58–59; 1 Sam. 3:13; 1 Sam. 4:11.

Harmony with the Westminster Standards

WLC 111-114.

Additional Resources

Sermons by James Cassidy on the Westminster Shorter Catechism

Questions 53-54: “God’s Holy Name, Our Unholy Lips”

Questions 55-56: “False Preachers and the Name of the Lord”


Hodge, The System of Theology Contained in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, 91-93.

Vincent, The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly Explained and Proved From Scripture, 131-138.

Vos, The Westminster Larger Catechism, 301-320.

Watson, The Ten Commandments, 84-92.

Whyte, A Commentary on the Shorter Catechism, 118-124.

Williamson, The Westminster Shorter Catechism for Study Classes, 217-228.

On Key


Van Til’s Trinitarian Theology

Designed to equip the student to engage critically central issues in trinitarian theology, this course will focus on the architectonic significance of the Trinity both