The Apostles’ Creed

Church bulletin:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator 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 virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to hell [meaning either the grave or the hellish experience of separation from the Father]. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven 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 [universal] church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed is the oldest Christian creed still widely used today. The name can be a bit misleading – it is not the work of the apostles, but rather a summary of their teaching. It went through several developments with the present form probably taking shape in the 5th century. What purpose does it serve? It provides a basic outline of Christian thought going back to the early church. It says a lot in small scope yet it is general enough to be embraced by all who come under the Christian umbrella.

The structure is Trinitarian “I believe in God, the Father almighty…… I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord…… I believe in the Holy Spirit”. It emphasises the deity of the Son and His work on our behalf. It emphasises the nature of the church and our future hope. Many congregations still recite the Apostles’ Creed as a public confession. While we do not do this, it remains a useful introduction to Christian doctrine that we ought to be familiar with. God has blessed us with the labours of many faithful believers from the past, and we are the poorer for it if we fail to make use of their work. Go over the creed slowly and ponder what it is saying. The statements are pregnant with truth and open doors to other Biblical concepts. There are many good books, articles and sermons based on this creed and it will be a blessing to us if we take the time to investigate them.