Q. 57–62, The Fourth Commandment

Q. 57. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.

Q. 59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly sabbath?
A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian sabbath.

Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.

Proof Texts

Q. 57: Ex. 20:8–11. Deut. 5:12–15; Q. 58: Ex. 31:13, 16–17. Q. 59: Gen. 2:2–3; Ex. 20:11; Mark 2:27–28; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10. Q. 60: Ex. 20:10; Neh. 13:15–22; Isa. 58:13–14; Ex. 20:8; Luke 4:16; Acts 20:7; Matt. 12:1–13. Q. 61: Neh. 13:15–22; Isa. 58:13–14; Amos 8:4–6. Q. 62: Ex. 20:9; Ex. 31:15; Lev. 23:3; Gen. 2:2–3; Ex. 20:11; Ex. 31:17.

Harmony with the Westminster Standards

WLC 115-120.

Additional Resources

Sermons by James Cassidy on the Westminster Shorter Catechism

Questions 57-58: “Call the Sabbath a Delight”

Questions 61-62: “The Origin of the Sabbath”


Hodge, The System of Theology Contained in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, 93-97.

Vincent, The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly Explained and Proved From Scripture, 138-155.

Vos, The Westminster Larger Catechism, 320-339.

Watson, The Ten Commandments, 93-122.

Whyte, A Commentary on the Shorter Catechism, 124-135.

Williamson, The Westminster Shorter Catechism for Study Classes, 229-240.

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