Read the Westminster Standards in a year.
Shorter Catechism

Q. 51 What is forbidden in the second commandment?

The second commandment forbiddeth the worshiping of God by images,1 or any other way not appointed in his Word.2

  1. Deuteronomy 4:15-19

    “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

    Romans 1:22-23

    Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (ESV)

  2. Leviticus 10:1-2

    10:1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.

    Jeremiah 19:4-5

    Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind—

    Colossians 2:18-23

    Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

    If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. (ESV)

Larger Catechism

Q. 109 What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising,1 counseling,2 commanding,3 using,4 and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself;5 the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever;6 all worshiping of it,7 or God in it or by it;8 the making of any representation of feigned deities,9 and all worship of them, or service belonging to them;10 all superstitious devices,11 corrupting the worship of God,12 adding to it, or taking from it,13 whether invented and taken up of ourselves,14 or received by tradition from others,15 though under the title of antiquity,16 custom,17 devotion,18 good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever;19 simony;20 sacrilege;21 all neglect,22 contempt,23 hindering,24 and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.25

  1. Numbers 15:39

    And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. (ESV)

  2. Deuteronomy 13:6-8

    “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. (ESV)

  3. Hosea 5:11

    Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
    because he was determined to go after filth.

    Micah 6:16

    For you have kept the statutes of Omri,
    and all the works of the house of Ahab;
    and you have walked in their counsels,
    that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing;
    so you shall bear the scorn of my people.” (ESV)

  4. 1 Kings 11:33

    because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did.

    1 Kings 12:33

    He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had devised from his own heart. And he instituted a feast for the people of Israel and went up to the altar to make offerings. (ESV)

  5. Deuteronomy 12:30-32

    take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.

    “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

    Leviticus 10:1-2

    10:1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.

    Jeremiah 19:5

    and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind— (ESV)

  6. Deuteronomy 4:15-19

    “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

    Acts 17:29

    Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.

    Romans 1:21-23

    For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    Romans 1:25

    because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (ESV)

  7. Galatians 4:8

    Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.

    Daniel 3:18

    But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (ESV)

  8. Exodus 32:5

    When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” (ESV)

  9. Exodus 32:8

    They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” (ESV)

  10. 1 Kings 18:26

    And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made.

    1 Kings 18:28

    And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.

    Isaiah 65:11

    But you who forsake the Lord,
    who forget my holy mountain,
    who set a table for Fortune
    and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny, (ESV)

  11. Acts 17:22

    So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.

    Colossians 2:21-23

    “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. (ESV)

  12. Malachi 1:7-8

    By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord's table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.

    Malachi 1:14

    Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. (ESV)

  13. Deuteronomy 4:2

    You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. (ESV)

  14. Psalm 106:39

    Thus they became unclean by their acts,
    and played the whore in their deeds. (ESV)

  15. Matthew 15:9

    in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
    (ESV)

  16. 1 Peter 1:18

    knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, (ESV)

  17. Jeremiah 44:17

    But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster. (ESV)

  18. Isaiah 65:3-5

    a people who provoke me
    to my face continually,
    sacrificing in gardens
    and making offerings on bricks;
    who sit in tombs,
    and spend the night in secret places;
    who eat pig's flesh,
    and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels;
    who say, “Keep to yourself,
    do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
    These are a smoke in my nostrils,
    a fire that burns all the day.

    Galatians 1:13-14

    For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. (ESV)

  19. 1 Samuel 13:11-12

    Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”

    1 Samuel 15:21

    But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” (ESV)

  20. Acts 8:18-19

    Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” (ESV)

  21. Romans 2:22

    You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

    Malachi 3:8

    Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. (ESV)

  22. Exodus 4:24-26

    At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision. (ESV)

  23. Matthew 22:5

    But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,

    Malachi 1:7

    By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord's table may be despised.

    Malachi 1:13

    But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. (ESV)

  24. Matthew 23:13

    “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. (ESV)

  25. Acts 13:44-45

    The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him.

    1 Thessalonians 2:15-16

    who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God's wrath has come upon them at last! (ESV)

hide proof texts

follow on facebook · follow on twitter
subscribe by rss · subscribe by e-mail

Copyright © Olney Hymn. Feedback?

Based on Calendar of Readings in the Westminster Standards by Dr. Joey Pipa. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.