In 2 Timothy 1.13-14, the apostle Paul writes, “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”
Notice this. As Paul contemplates his protégé ministering in a post-apostolic world, he doesn’t simply tell him to follow the words he’s heard, but “the pattern of the sound words.” Doesn’t this imply that, within the words of Scripture, there is a logical pattern?
The goal in studying Bible doctrine is to identify and utilize this pattern for the sake of knowing Scripture better – and therefore knowing God better. At Resurrection, we study Bible doctrine because we believe it will help us connect the dots in God’s story. Our statements of doctrine – the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms – serve us as a theological concordance. They do not replace God’s Word, but rather they summarize it.
The main textbook for our doctrine class is A Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, edited by Morton H. Smith. This volume sets the texts of the Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism in three parallel columns. Below each paragraph is printed the Scripture references, so that readers can “check the work” of the confessional theologians against the Bible.
As we work through each section of our doctrine textbook, we read and discuss a few pages of comments. These are available for download below (click on the links marked ‘diagram’ or ‘lesson’). The entire commentary can be downloaded as a single document, The Confession of the Presbyterian Church(4th ed), or separately by lesson:
2. Finding True North. In this session, we discuss the meaning of human existence and the canon of Scripture. (lesson)
3. The Voice of God. In this session, we discuss the sufficiency of Scripture, the attributes of Scripture, and the interpretation of Scripture. (lesson)
4. The Living God. In this session, we discuss who God is – his being and attributes – and why it matters for us to study these things. (lesson)
5. The Author of Life. In this session, we discuss God’s eternal plan in both its totality and its mystery – including both predestination and reprobation. (lesson)
6. A Spreading Goodness. In this session, we discuss God’s work of creation – including the “image of God” and the relationship of Scripture to science. (lesson)
7. The Fingerprints of God. In this session, we discuss God’s works of providence – including the hard question of the existence of evil. (lesson)
8. Paradise Lost. In this session, we discuss the fall and ruin of humanity – including the subjects of original sin, total depravity, and how these affect human freedom. (lesson)
9. The Theory of Everything. In this session, we discuss how the concept of ‘covenant’ unifies our understanding of the story of Scripture, including the relationship of Israel to the church. (lesson)
10. The God-Man. In this session, we discuss the person, offices, and estates of the Lord Jesus Christ – the God-man. (lesson)
11. The Atonement. In this session, we discuss the atonement – how the obedience of Jesus accomplishes our salvation. (lesson)
12. Changed Forever. In this session, we discuss conversion – how the Holy Spirit changes us forever by uniting us to Christ. (lesson)
13. From Courtroom to Living Room. In this session, we discuss justification, adoption, faith, and the free offer of the gospel. (lesson)
14. Living in Redemption. In this session, we discuss sanctification, repentance, and good works. (lesson)
15. Our Sure Hope. In this session, we discuss perseverance of the saints and assurance of salvation. (lesson)
16. God’s Declared Will. In this session, we discuss the law of God. (lesson)
17. Liberated to Serve. In this session, we discuss Christian liberty and how this liberty relates to Christian worship. (lesson)
18. Ties That Bind. In this session, we discuss oaths, vows, and marriage. (lesson)
19. Church and Commonwealth. In this session, we discuss the institutional church and civil society. (lesson)
20. The Means of Grace. In this session, we discuss the ways God works in us through prayer, the Word, and the sacraments. (lesson)
21. History’s Final Chapter. In this session, we discuss the end of history and our future eternity. (lesson)
Interested in joining our study? Contact us!