While the editor does not presume to replace any denomination’s standard text, the present translation is given in order to make the original richness of the 1647 WSC accessible and easily read by the contemporary reader, all to the glory, praise, and honor of God. The editor has endeavored to faithfully retain the meaning of the original text, translating word for word when possible. At the same time, the goal of readability is paramount with the intent that one may read with ease, focusing on the material without being distracted by antique spelling, vocabulary, grammar, or difficult sentence constructs. For this reason, there are times when the original text is quite considerably modified and rearranged. Details on the translation process and philosophy may be found in Appendix B.
Regrettably, no human work can be translated without some loss of finer shades of meaning. It is the editor’s opinion, however, that this loss is small compared to the loss imposed on many readers by changes in word and phrase meanings over time. Readers interested in more detailed study are encouraged to consult the referenced Scriptures and some of the many commentaries on the WSC, as well as the original WSC itself.
The Scripture proof texts given here are the originals provided by the Westminster Divines. This is in keeping with the goal of providing a faithful translation of the original WSC. Most editions of the WSC use different sets of proof texts than the original; the editor makes no judgment concerning these other sets, recognizing that others may have different goals.
The editor has endeavored to translate faithfully without interjecting his own opinions. Nonetheless, the WSC is a human work that is a product of its place in history and geography. God has continued to raise up able theologians in the intervening 370 years, and we now know that there do exist a very few theological errors in the WSC. The editor is conscience-bound to point out these errors for fear of propagating that which is not in accordance with Scripture. All such editorial opinions are clearly designated in the footnotes. Let the reader be as the Bereans, searching the Scriptures, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Unlike traditional paper book publishing, electronic publishing allows fairly rapid increments to new additions. This log allows the reader to know what changes have been made from an earlier version.
March 13, 2018
Added footnote to Question 107 noting that some translations omit the conclusion to the Lord’s prayer. Minor editorial and typological corrections.
August 17, 2015
A footnote was added to Q68: “From the context of this and the next question, it is clear that “life” includes not only life as opposed to death, but also all that pertains to a person’s living out his or her life, such as freedom and well-being.”
August 5, 2015
So that readers do not have to go online to access Scripture proof texts, four versions are now included for which the editor was able to obtain permission. The Helpful Hints section was updated to reflect this. Small changes were also made throughout the text for typographical error correction, clarity, and modernization.
February 16, 2015
The English Standard Version (ESV), by kind permission, was added to the versions available both within the document itself, and in screen tips.
February 7, 2015