A Brief and Easy Explanation

of the

The Shorter Catechism

Presented by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster

to both houses of Parliament, and by them approved,

Wherein the Newest Students[1] May in a Speedy and Easy Way

Be Brought to Understand the Principles of Religion,

In Imitation of a Catechism Formerly Published by

Mr. Herbert Palmer, B.D. and late Master of Queen’s College


John Wallis, Minister of the Gospel


Translated into 21st Century American English

Edition: March 13, 2018


Table of Contents


Notes to the Reader

Editor’s Introduction

Author’s Introduction

Questions 1–10

Questions 11–20

Questions 21–30

Questions 31–40

Questions 41–50

Questions 51–60

Questions 61–70

Questions 71–80

Questions 81–90

Questions 91–100

Questions 101–107

Appendix A: Notes on Memorization

Appendix B: Background and Editorial Philosophy



Copyright 2015: Tom Sullivan, Editor



The editor hereby grants to all without restriction full freedom to copy and distribute this work (excluding publication of ESV, KJ3, or NASB proof texts) without limitation, in part or in whole, provided that the text shall be unmodified and that all copyright notices are included. The original Westminster Shorter Catechism was authored by the Westminster Divines and is in the public domain, as is Wallis’s Explanation.


Quoted Scripture passages fall into two categories. Within the main text and footnotes, Scripture passages are quoted under general permission to all authors and are taken from the NKJV, the New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), the default, and those designated by (NASB) are from the New American Standard Bible : 1995 update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995). The second category contains proof texts from the English Standard Version (ESV), King James 3 (KJ3), and the New American Standard Bible (NASB), all reproduced by kind permission, and from the World English Bible (WEB), which is in the public domain.

ESV Proof texts, whether in the body of the document or screen tips:

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For permission to publish, please visit http://www.crossway.org/rights-permissions/esv/

KJ3 Proof texts, whether in the body of the document or screen tips:

KJ3—Literal Translation Bible - 2005 Edition

Copyright © 2005 — by Jay P. Green, Sr. — All rights reserved.



NASB Proof texts, whether in the body of the document or screen tips:

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968,

1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA. All rights reserved.

For Permission to Quote Information visit http://www.lockman.org.

WEB Proof texts, whether in the body of the document or screen tips:

The World English Bible is a current work in the public domain. See http://ebible.org for more information.

Those wishing to publish copies of this work must either remove the ESV, KJ3, and NASB proof texts or else obtain their own permissions from Crossway, Sovereign Grace Publishers, Inc., and the Lockman Foundation, respectively. Contact the editor regarding availability of versions of this work with hyperlinks to BibleGateway.com or another source instead of the included ESV, KJ3, and NASB proof texts.


[1] The original has “Meanest Capacities.” This phrase is offensive to modern ears, but Wallis surely had no unkind thoughts, thinking mostly of younger children. He wrote for an audience where substantial knowledge of the Christian religion was general and pervasive, not for a modern, multicultural, and international audience.