I’ve always been a bit skeptical of John Piper’s slight tweak of the Westminster Shorter Catechism’s first answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God ‘by enjoying’ him forever.” It’s not that I think the catechism is perfect, or that it must never be changed. Rather, I believe the authors of the catechism purposely used a conjunction (and) rather than a preposition (by) in the first answer. Enjoying God isn’t the only way or chief way we glorify him; in other words, we shouldn’t equate “glorify” and “enjoy” in the first answer of the WSC. I haven’t done extensive research on this, but J. G. Vos’ commentary is helpful.
“Why does the catechism place glorifying God before enjoying God?”
“Because the most important element in the purpose of human life is glorifying God, while enjoying God is strictly subordinate to glorifying God. In our religious life, we should always place the chief emphasis on glorifying God. The person who does this will truly enjoy God, both here and hereafter. But the person who thinks of enjoying God apart from glorifying God is in danger of supposing that God exists for man instead of man for God. To stress enjoying God more than glorifying God will result in a falsely mystical or emotional type of religion.”