I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
The third day he rose again from the dead:
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
I believe in the Holy Ghost:
I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
The forgiveness of sins:
The resurrection of the body:
And the life everlasting. Amen.
The Apostles’ Creed, a variation of the earlier ‘Roman Creed’ (AD 150), was said by Church tradition to have been composed jointly by the Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem. While there is some doubt as to whether each Apostle contributed a distinct element to the teaching, the creed was used by the early church and often divided into doctrinal questions asked to candidates for baptism. Apparently written, probably from sometime before A.D. 250, it initially appeared in the second century to refute the teachings of Marcion. Marcion held many beliefs that were not compatible with the central teachings of the Church. Therefore, the Apostle’s Creed was a restatement of these central beliefs. It was written down when there was no longer danger of it falling into the wrong hands. Variations of the Creed appeared in the teachings of Marcellus, Bishop of Ancyra (@ AD 340), and an early sixth century Gallican Creed. Almost 2,000 years later, the Apostles’ Creed still reflects the basic doctrine of the Church.
Apostle: messenger “one who is sent”
Creed: Latin “Credo” meaning “I Believe”: credit, credibility, accreditation. The first two words are an affirmation of the existence of God.
Peter’s reply to Jesus’ “Who do you say that I am?” “You are the Christ!” was the first recorded Christianic creed.
The creed is divided into 3 paragraphs, each specifying the work of one member of the Trinity: In the first two paragraphs, God the Father wills and ordains the creation. God the Son, by his incarnation and exaltation, redeems that fallen creation. In the final paragraph, God the Holy Spirit sanctifies the church, brings the members into fellowship and assures them of sin’s forgiveness and eternal life.
Father: denotes Creator coupled with ongoing paternal care & responsibility (unlike Zeus-fathered mankind out of lust & left them to fend for themselves)
Almighty: El Shaddai- omnipotent – Yahweh “I Am That I AM”
Maker:Greek “poieten” meaning “Poet”, “Creator” Eph. 2:10 refers to God’s handiwork – the ultimate poetry of the Universe! Every molecule in perfect harmony with its kin.
Jesus: Hebrew “Yeshua” (Joshua) meaning “Savior” Christ: Greek “Christos” – Hebrew “Messiah” meaning “God’s Anointed”
Only Son: added to combat the heresy of calling Jesus “a” son of God – Romans 1:4. Jesus said; “I am THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life”; not A way.
Lord: Savior, Unique Son AND Lord of all creation, giving Him full honor. All creation answers to Him – Col. 1:15-17.
Holy: “set apart”, Unique – Ghost: German “geist” meaning spirit. Spirit: Latin “spiritus” meaning breath or wind. Literal: “Breath of God”. Gen. 1:2, 2:7 (only humans were “born” in this way)
Born of the Virgin Mary: Conceived by the same power of the Holy Spirit that responded to the will of the Father and the Word of the Lord “Let there be light!”. The God of creation is the God of the Incarnation, as well.
Suffered under Pontius Pilate: serves as a means of historical verification: . (Luke 3:1-2 example A.D. 29 beginning of John’s ministry) Historian Rufinus 404 A.D. “Those who handed down the Creed showed great wisdom in underlining the actual date at which these things happened, so that there might be no chance of uncertainty or vagueness upsetting the stability of tradition.”
crucified, dead and buried: emphasized the cruel reality of the price Christ paid, as well as His humanity (dead).
descended into hell: controversial: hellish agony on the cross; Hades/Sheol the collective abode of the dead, divided into Paradise (God fearing souls) & Gehenna (ungodly souls)
On the third day: again, historical verification-3rd day following crucifixion on day the lamb was slaughtered for Passover. Also, three is the number of God.
He arose again from the dead: emphasized the power of God’s resurrection, in body
not as a “ghost”. Acts 26:8
He ascended into Heaven: Phil. 2:6-8 God’s humiliation for our sake; Phil. 2:9-11 Jesus’ exaltation for the Father’s glory- Christ arose in bodily form, creating a new order “the Second Adam”. 1 Cor. 15:20-23
He shall come: Promise of Christ’s triumphant return & His judgment of everyone living and dead.
Holy Ghost: special affirmation of the Unique Breath of God, His Person, His power, His gifts to those who receive Him and His work as Counselor & Comforter.
Catholic: “universal” :refers not to denomination, but to the “universal” church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus in John 17:21″ that all of them may be one , Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.”
Church: Greek “Ekklesia” meaning an assembly or congregation of like minded people
Communion: Greek “koinonia” meaning partnership, mutual participation, community’ fellowship; working, striving, loving & living not for oneself but for the Lord & each other.
Forgiveness of sins: God’s offer to do that which we are incapable of doing ourselves. The pardon was signed and sealed through Christ’s death & resurrection. All we have to do is repent and accept. 2 Chron. 7:14 gives an excellent definition of repent.
Resurrection of the body: reminder of every man’s mortality. also that we are to respect that which God created. It completes God’s program in restoring us to Himself, being made in His image. 1 Cor. 15:42-44
Life Everlasting: God’s promise to us John 3:16, which we can claim now 1 John 1:1-3.
Amen: an affirmation of what has gone before; “These words are true”. Amen is also one of the names by which Jesus identified Himself. Rev.3:14 “The Amen, the faithful & true witness
the Ruler of God’s creation.”
Can you say, “I believe…” Can you also say, “Amen”?
From the Apostle’s Faith to the Apostles’ Creed – Barr
The Apostles’ Creed: do You Really Believe It? – Lockerbie