The Scot’s Confession


What the symbols mean

The Blue of the Shield – The background color of the Church of Scotland.

The Tartan, X-shaped Cross – A form called St. Andrew’s Cross, he being the apostle who brought the gospel to Scotland. The tartan, or plaid, is that of the Hamilton clan in honor of the first martyr of the Scottish Reformation, Patrick Hamilton.

The Celtic Cross – Another ancient form associated with Christians of the British Isles.

The Ship – A symbol for the Church; the Confession contains a remarkable, strong doctrine of the Church.

The Bible and the Sword – Paul called the word of God “The sword of the Spirit,” and the sharpness of John Knox’s preaching of the Word was major power for reformation in Scotland.

The Burning Bush which is Not Consumed – Reminding us of Moses’ Sinai experience, thus a symbol of God’s presence and call: the chief symbol of the Church of Scotland.









The History of The Scot’s Confession

The Scot’s Confession is a lengthy document consisting of 25 chapters.  It was written at a turning point in the history of the Scottish nation. When the Queen Regent Mary of Guise died in her sleep in 1560, the Protestant nobility of Scotland was able to secure English recognition of Scottish sovereignty in the Treaty of Edinburgh. To the Scots, this favorable conclusion to the civil war with Mary’s French-supported forces represented a providential deliverance.


The Scottish Parliament, having declared Scotland a Protestant nation, asked the clergy to frame a confession of faith. Six ministers, including John Knox,  completed their work in four days. In 1560, the document was ratified by Parliament as “doctrine grounded upon the infallible Word of God.”


The Scots Confession sets forth three marks of the true and faithful church: “the true preaching of the Word of God,” “the right administration of the sacraments of Christ Jesus,” and “ecclesiastical discipline . . . whereby vice is repressed and virtue nourished.”


“Cleave, serve, worship, trust” are key words in this document. As a call to action in a turbulent time, the Scots Confession reflects a spirit of trust and a commitment to the God whose miraculous deliverance the Scots had experienced firsthand.

(historical synopsis taken from The Book of Confessions)