This book is intended to be a guide to help you work through the Westminster Confession of Faith on a transformational level, not merely an intellectual level. In other words, my goal in this book is to help you to pray through this Confession in a way that fosters personal transformation and spiritual growth. Weighty matters of the Confession’s historical composition will not bog you down. Neither will you find yourself stumbling over the various changes, amendments, and alterations that have been imposed upon the text, as various denominations sought to make it more palatable. In the rare case that these discussions are necessary, notes will be provided for your convenience.
A commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith
While this book is not intended to be academic, neither is it intended to be “easy.” The real work of the heart never is. My hope is that this book will be of primary importance to three groups of people. 1) Impassioned lay persons who are inflamed with a desire to go much deeper into theological truth than is possible in a typical Sunday School class, 2) seminary students from the Reformed tradition that are hoping to discover the power of this Confession, and 3) pastors and elders who would like to show their flocks the richness of our theological heritage in order to fan into flame a greater zeal for the glory of God.
The version of the Westminster Confession that you will be working through is essentially the 1647 version, with only minor updates to the language. For instance, I took the liberty of changing words like “dependeth” to “depends” and changed archaic language like “hath” to “has.” My intent is to make the Confession more readable without detracting from its theological content. …
My challenge to the reader is to “eat” this book in small sections, digesting each chapter of the Westminster in bite-sized portions. As a matter of course, one chapter of the Confession followed by its spiritual formation section will likely be enough for one sitting. Any more, and the mind may be overrun with too many thoughts! In any case, the suggested spiritual formation exercises, if honestly attempted, will lead the believer in such a direction of prayer as will be spiritually edifying to the soul. Please remember that even though the Westminster Confession has literally dozens of quotations of Scripture within, and allusions to many more, it is no substitute for reading Scripture itself.
While the Scriptures are the words of God, the Confession is nonetheless the words of men. For this reason, each section will be fortified by special readings of Scripture that are designed to be parallel to the segment of the Confession. The Confession itself acknowledges its human limitations (WCF 1.10). At the same time, it has served as an inspiration to countless souls, and it is my conviction that it will benefit you too “until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).
Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida. Follow on Twitter @matt_everhard.