Apostles Creed


About the creed

The Apostles’ Creed is not a production of the Apostles themselves, but it contains a brief summary of their teachings, as the words are almost all directly from their Epistles. In its present form it is of no later date than the 4th century. More than any other creed of Christendom, it may justly be called an ecumenical symbol of faith.

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I believe in God the Father Almighty,
     Maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ,
     his only begotten Son, our Lord;
     who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
     born of the virgin Mary;
     suffered under Pontius Pilate;
     was crucified, dead, and buried;
     he descended into hell;¹
     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 there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit;
     the holy catholic² church;
     the communion of saints;
     the forgiveness of sins;
     the resurrection of the body;
     and the life everlasting. Amen.



[1] “He descended into hell” — See Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 44; Canons of Dort, 2.4. We understand this phrase to mean two things. First, that after suffering on the cross, Jesus’ body lay three days in the grave while his spirit was in the abode of the righteous dead (Greek, hades). Secondly, the words “descended into hell” remind us that God the Son came down from glory to suffer among us. All his earthly life, but especially on the cross, our Savior experienced the anguish and torment due to sinners. For more information, see Daniel R. Hyde's short book on this clause of the Apostles’ Creed, In Defense of the Descent.

[2] “Catholic” means universal; that is, there is one church across all times, places, and peoples (Belgic Confession, art. 27; Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 54). The term “catholic” was in use by Christians long before anything like modern Roman Catholicism existed. Though there are many denominations, yet Christ has one Church composed of true believers who affirm these essential beliefs.