NORTH VALLEY’S CATECHISM: QUESTIONS 1-7

A catechism is like a Christian FAQ. It explains the basics of Christian beliefs in an organized way, useful for teaching and reference. While every catechism reflects the beliefs of the particular church or group that wrote it, a catechism is meant to summarize God’s ideas, not man’s ideas. It doesn’t cover everything, and it isn’t meant to be the end of your study of God’s Word, the Bible. A catechism provides a framework of knowledge for the household of faith, built on Jesus, our cornerstone (Eph. 2:19-22).

From generation to generation churches have sought to preserve and propagate truth to the next generation by teaching in a format such as this. Our catechism is similar to that of the 'Desiring God' Catechism, which was adapted from the Heidelberg Catechism and Westminster Catechism. We hope this catechism helps all who read it to grow in their love and knowledge of Jesus, the Bible, and His church! 

NORTH VALLEY’S CATECHISM: QUESTIONS 1-7

Question 1: Who is the first and best of beings?

Answer: God is the first and best of beings.

Scripture: Isaiah 44:6; Psalm 8:1, 96:4, and 97:9; 1 Samuel 2:2

Question 2: What is the purpose of man?

Answer: Man’s purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Psalm 16:11, 37:4, and 73:25-26; Isaiah 43:7

Comment: "Glorify" does not mean make glorious. It means [to] reflect or display as glorious. Other words you could use for "purpose" are "goal" or "end".

Question 3: How do we know there is a God?

Answer: Man’s conscience and all of creation plainly declare that there is a God; but only by God’s Word and Spirit can we know of the salvation found in Him.

Scripture: Romans 1:18-20; Psalm 19:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 1:21-24, 2:9, 10; Matthew 11:27

Comment: The answer distinguishes two kinds of knowledge: one is common and comes from conscience and from the works of God in nature; the other is spiritual or saving, and it comes from the recognition of the true value of God, the beauty of His character, and Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. Natural knowledge is possessed by all people, thus making all people accountable to honor and worship God. Spiritual knowledge is possessed only by those whose natural spiritual blindness has been overcome by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14-16). We cannot be saved by just natural knowledge about God—which the demons also have (James 2:19).

Question 4: What is the Word of God?

Answer: The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Isaiah 8:20; Matthew 5:17-18; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Psalm 19:7-8

Comment: "Scriptures" is a special word for the writings of the Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT) contained in the Bible. The OT is God’s Word that came before Jesus was born, and the NT is the Word of God that came after Jesus was born. "Inspiration" means that it is God-breathed: by His Spirit God guided His spokesmen to speak and write His word in their language. "Infallible" means it will never lead us astray in what it teaches. The Bible is true and does not err. It can be trusted. "Faith" refers to right thinking and feeling, and "practice" refers to right doing. We measure our thoughts, emotions, and actions by the rule of the Bible.

Question 5: How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?

Answer: The Bible evidences [simpler word: shows] itself to be God’s Word by the heavenliness of its doctrine, the unity of its parts, and its power to convert sinners and to teach God’s people. However, only the Spirit of God can make us willing to agree and submit to the Bible as the Word of God.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:6-7, 13-16; Psalm 19:7-9, 119:18, and 129; Acts 10:43, 26:22 and 18:28; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 15:4; John 16:13-14; 1 John 2:20-27; 2 Corinthians 3:14-17 and 4:4-6

Comment: "Heavenliness" refers to the fact that the teachings of Scripture cannot be explained by mere human resources. They bear the marks of the supernatural. "No man ever spoke like this man" (John 7:46). The "unity of its parts" has to do especially with the way all Scripture points to Christ. "To him all the prophets bear witness" (Acts 10:43).

Question 6: Can anyone use the Scriptures?

Answer: Everyone is not only permitted, but commanded and exhorted to read, hear, and understand the Scriptures.

Scripture: John 5:39; Luke 16:29; Acts 8:28-30 and 17:11

Question 7: What do the Scriptures mainly teach?

Answer: The Scriptures mainly teach what man is to believe about God and what duty God requires of man.

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 20:31; Acts 24:14; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Ecclesiastes 12:13