31 October 2004
1 Timothy 5:8, Ephesians 4:28, Proverbs 21:6 & 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth, or may, unjustly hinder our own or our neighbour’s wealth or outward estate.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.75. What does the eighth commandment forbid?
A. The eighth commandment forbids anything that either does or may unjustly take away money or possessions from us or anyone else.
1. What does this commandment teach the believer regarding his behaviour?
This commandment teaches that the believer is forbidden any part of the area of theft regarding himself and others.
2. How could a believer steal from himself?
A believer could steal from himself by being idle when he should be at work; by not making use of the blessings that God has given him; by being wasteful of the material things God has given him.
3. What is the more direct teaching of this commandment?
The more direct teaching is the believer stealing from others.
4. What does the teaching contained in this commandment mean by stealing from others?
Stealing from others could be in the area of defrauding others in buying or selling; in the area of stealing money, a person’s name and reputation, and God Himself in not giving to Him what rightfully belongs to Him; extortion and all oppression (especially of the poor and afflicted).
5. Can theft be committed against the church?
Yes, it can be committed against the church either by simony or sacrilege.
6. What is simony?
This is a reference to Simon Magus in Acts 8:18,19 who attempted to buy spiritual power for money. This could be done today, for example, in the case of a man who bought or sold in reference to a church and made profit.
7. What is sacrilege?
Sacrilege is the taking away of anything which has been dedicated to a sacred use. (Proverbs 20:25; Malachi 3:8).