The Apostles' Creed
The Apostles’ Creed is rightly named not because it arose at the time of the apostles,
but rather because it is a succinct summary of apostolic teaching, the doctrines
of the New Testament. It is a product of the Western church during the first 400
years after Christ and can be traced in written form to the late 300’s, though its
present form does not appear until the seventh to eighth centuries. The belief that
the creed arose with the apostles, particularly Peter, has been promoted at times,
particularly in the Roman Catholic Church, though this has been questioned since
before the time of Calvin and Luther and has since been thoroughly disproved in
the minds of most scholars and theologians.
Although the Apostles’ Creed is not as detailed a doctrinal statement as other creeds,
it is wonderful in its simplicity and brevity. In the words of one writer: “As the
Lord's Prayer is the Prayer of prayers, the Decalogue the Law of laws, so the Apostles'
Creed is the Creed of creeds. It contains all the fundamental articles of the Christian
faith necessary to salvation, in the form of facts, in simple Scripture language,
and in the most natural order—the order of revelation— from God and the creation
down to the resurrection and life everlasting. It is Trinitarian, and divided into
three chief articles, expressing faith—in God the Father, the Maker of heaven and
earth, in his only Son, our Lord and Saviour, and in the Holy Spirit (in Deum Patrem,
in Jesum Christum, in Spiritum Sanctum); the chief stress being
laid on the second article, the supernatural birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.
Then, changing the language (credo in for credo with the simple accusative), the
Creed professes to believe ‘the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the
remission of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.’ It is
by far the best popular summary of the Christian faith ever made within so brief
a space. It still surpasses all later symbols for catechetical and liturgical purposes,
especially as a profession of candidates for baptism and church membership. It is
not a logical statement of abstract doctrines, but a profession of living facts
and saving truths. It is a liturgical poem and an act of worship. Like the Lord's
Prayer, it loses none of its charm and effect by frequent use, although, by vain
and thoughtless repetition, it may be made a martyr and an empty form of words.
It is intelligible and edifying to a child, and fresh and rich to the profoundest
Christian scholar, who, as he advances in age, delights to go back to primitive
foundations and first principles. It has the fragrance of antiquity and the inestimable
weight of universal consent. It is a bond of union between all ages and sections
of Christendom. It can never be superseded for popular use in church and school.”
(Schaff, Philip. The Creeds of Christendom, Vol. I, Ch. 2, Sec. 7, 1877,
The Apostles' Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus
Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and born of the
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
The third day he arose again from the dead.
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From there he
will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.