Apostles’ Creed sums up the belief and teachings of the 12 Apostles. It is also known as Apostolicum or Apostolic Creed or the Symbol of the Apostles.
Origin of Apostles’ Creed
Like many Christian prayers and creeds, it isn’t easy to state how they came to be because their origins are lost to time. Similarly, according to ancient tradition, it is believed that the Apostles’ Creed was composed on the day of the Pentecost by the twelve apostles contributing each of the twelve articles.
However, the present version of the creed is said to have been composed in the 4th century, much later than the Apostolic era. Many Catholic theologians and historians believe that we call the creed ‘Apostles’ Creed’ not because it was written by the Apostles but because it is a faithful summary of the apostles’ faith.
The common belief that the Apostles’ composed the creed was largely abandoned by scholars by the time of the Renaissance. Apostles’ Creed is considered a variant of the Old Roman Creed, an ancient baptismal confession.
The Old Roman Creed or the Old Roman Symbol is believed to have been created in accordance with Jesus’s command in Matthew 28:19: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Apostles’ Creed Prayer
I believe in God,
the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended into hell;
on the third day, He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into 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 Church,
the communion of Saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Read more: What is Holy Thursday?
Meaning of Apostles’ Creed
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth”
While the Old Testament does a good job of establishing God as the creator of everything, this article reminds us that He is the Father as well. The New Testament, along with Jesus’s own teachings, teaches us that God is the Father.
“And in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord”
The Messiah announces in the Scriptures that Jesus Christ is the ‘Anointed One’ and we believe that not only is Jesus the Son of God but that he is the Only Son of God.
“Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit“
This article of the creed is trying to address the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and the divine nature of Christ. Unlike other human beings, Jesus Christ was conceived by God, therefore, he shares the same nature with God.
“Born of the Virgin Mary”
Unlike the previous article which addresses the nature of Jesus Christ, this article addresses his form as the Son of Man. Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God in flesh.
“Suffered under Pontius Pilate”
By mentioning Pontius Pilate in this composition, the creed is trying to affirm the existence of Christ in our reality. Jesus Christ is not a legend, he is a part of our history. Therefore, it also indicates that Jesus Christ endured the suffering of the body and heart till the end.
“Was crucified, died, and was buried”
This article emphasizes the importance of the Passion of Jesus in the Bible as an essential element of the faith. Jesus’s sacrifice shows his unconditional love for humanity as he died on the cross.
“He descended into Hell”
Jesus’s descent into hell, also known as the ‘Harrowing of Hell,’ brought salvation to all men who have died since the beginning of time and to those who will ultimately die in the future.
“He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead”
This article summarizes Jesus’s Ascension to Heaven, the Second Coming of Christ, and the Day of the Lord.
“I believe in the Holy Spirit“
By reading this article, we profess our faith in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s power and energy sent to accomplish His will on earth.
“The Holy Catholic Church”
In the Protestant version of the Apostles’ Creed, this article is as follows “the Holy Universal Church.” Through this article, we state our beliefs in the Church and in the Universal Body of Christ.
“The communion of Saints“
According to this article, our relationship with God is accomplished through our relationship with each other and the communion of men: Trinitarianism is also built on relationships.
“The resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen”
This article states that we will be resurrected in His flesh when we are called to eternal life and that death is just a passage.
Read more: Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Significance of Apostles’ Creed
Apostles’ Creed plays a very significant role in the lives of Christians. Let us look at some reasons why symbolizes its usefulness and necessity in Church life:
1) It defines the basis of the faith
Apostles’ Creed outlines the basic outline of the truths of the Christian faith. It helps devout Christians live a life without sin, corruption, and despair of sin. The Creed teaches a valuable lesson about the glorious splendor of God and his gospel to mankind. Therefore, they help a corrupt mind see the light of reason and set them free from a life of sin.
2) Creeds correct people’s false beliefs
In the day and age of the internet, it is very common that false teachings to exist. These theologically false beliefs pose a horrible danger to the people of God. In order to maintain closer to the truth, the Church needs and uses the Apostles’ Creed and other creeds to help teach the truth and guard the mind against errors.
3) Summarizes the rules and standards for a proper Christian lifestyle
In the early church, new believers would have to affirm their belief in the true Christian faith by reading the lines from the Apostles’ Creed because it prepares new believers for faithfulness and maturity in the Christian Faith.
4) It teaches how to worship and confess the faith
The Apostles’ Creed is composed of the most glorious and splendid truths of the Christian faith. It is a guide on how to worship and includes many precious truths which help us praise God.
5) Summarizes the Christian faith
While many believe that creeds are written to replace the scripture, however, in reality, they seek to summarize its content in a succinct statement that gives Christians a crucial distillation of their faith.
Read more: Come Holy Spirit Prayer
Download Apostles’ Creed
What is a Creed?
The word “creed” originally comes from the Latin word “credo” which means to believe. In Catholicism, a creed is something in which we believe and consider the truth. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that creed is a “sign of recognition and communion between believers…a summary of the principal truths of the faith.” A creed is a summary of the principal truths, main ideas, and core tenets of your belief.
Read more: Apostles’ Creed in Spanish
In conclusion, the affirmations in the Apostle’s Creed prayer weave a narrative that is imperative to form a genuine bond of unity amongst all Christians. The Apostle’s Creed composition states the unchanging truth of God’s revelation.
These words have the power to bridge denominational divides between Christians throughout the years because its essence describes the true meaning of being a Christian. In a series of powerful yet succinct sentences, Apostle’s Creed confesses the grandeur of authentic Christianity.
- Origin of Apostles’ Creed
- Apostles’ Creed Prayer
- Meaning of Apostles’ Creed
- Significance of Apostles’ Creed
- Download Apostles’ Creed
- What is a Creed?