Creeds, Confessions & Catechisms #2 – The Apostles’ Creed

This is a series looking at various Christian doctrines, biblical words and practices, which simply uses the historical creeds, confessions and catechisms to teach us. Use this time to reflect and meditate on the various truths and doctrines, and make use of the Scripture references and resources as you go.

For nearly two thousand years the Church has recited and memorised the Apostles’ Creed. If you want a brief explanation about it, then listen to a five minute explanation of the Apostles’ Creed here – this is Barry Cooper on his great podcast series Simply Put, a ministry of Ligonier Ministries. [There’s also a transcript you can read if you prefer].

Here’s a translation of the Creed from the original Latin:

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,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and 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.

Notice the three movements of the three verses which begin with a focus on each member of the Trinity. Later creeds like the Nicene and Athanasius Creeds will help shape what we believe about the Trinity but here we have three things (or parts).

First, the Father is our Creator. Second we have Christ and his saving works. And third we have the Spirit and our sanctification. The holy catholic Church in the third stanza should not be confused with the Roman Catholic Church – rather this is a statement on the unity and universal nature of the Church.

Another way to look at this creed is to say that God, the Gospel and His Church are the three key truths we need to know and learn about. The Apostles’ Creed is a good starting point to help us grapple with these three important Christian realities.

Why not read through this Creed and use it to praise God in your prayer life. And if you’re feeling ambitious – why not try and memorise it?

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