The Apostles’ Creed is the statement of the core beliefs of Christianity. The Creed itself has been revised over and over by different churches and denominations. Phrases were added, removed, changed, and edited. I remember having to memorize if for either First Communion or Confirmation. The problem with that, is I could rattle it off, but I had no concept of it’s true meaning.
The History of the Apostles’ Creed
The Apostles’ Creed began as the Nicene Creed. It’s what many Christians profess. Why did it have to be created? In 325 AD, the debate at that time was the divinity of Christ. Emperor Constantine wanted to have a specific doctrine stating what every Christian would believe in. He called the Council of Nicaea where he brought together most of the leaders of all the churches in the Roman Empire.
First of all, the Apostles didn’t write it. The church leaders composed it in 325 AD. It’s called the Apostles’ Creed because it’s based on the writings of the Apostles. Here is an excerpt of one of the Bible studies on the Apostles’ Creed in the YouVersion Bible App from LifeWay.com.
“The Apostles’ Creed begins with the words “I believe in.” The creed is an affirmation Christian story which is both good and true. God the Father is reconciling the world to Himself in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“In the early church, uttering the word “I believe” meant identifying in the closest possible way with the gospel. When believers said the creed, they were identifying themselves as citizens of a different kingdom—the kingdom of God. This meant, and still means today, that believers could face persecution, alienation, and even death. The creed is far more than a list of propositions; it’s the summary of the faith that has been practiced throughout church history.
“Finding its genesis in the apostles’ teachings, the Apostles’ Creed contains essential Christian doctrines and beliefs that summarize the gospel and make up the foundation of our faith. The scriptural truths contained in the creed help us operate from good theology, with the knowledge that our faith is rooted in truth and a rich history that spans past, present, and future. The lines of the creed aren’t mere words. They convey the essence of what we confess and believe as the body of Christ.”Matt Chandler, LifeWay.com
I believe in…
What is true faith?
We can have faith in a lot of things: sunrise, gravity, air, etc. We can have faith in people, however, the problem with that is even though the person we trust is honest and trustworthy, they are human and humans make mistakes. Humans fail. Humans break promises. People are not perfect. God is.
I have faith that when I die, I will go directly to Heaven – I have my non-stop, one-way ticket! I also have faith that Jesus is coming soon for His born-again believers in the Rapture. In the Book of Hebrews, we find a wonderful definition of faith…
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”Hebrews 11:1 NLT
The verse before that, in Hebrews 10, is also a powerful true statement:
“But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.”Hebrews 10:39 NLT
We are saved by grace through faith.
The Apostles’ Creed
Faith is not just going to church every Sunday, sitting through a sermon, putting money in coffers, saying the Lord’s Prayer, then going home and feeling like you did our duty. That’s religion. That’s not freedom in Christ.
You may have memorized the creed differently, and like I said, it has been edited many times throughout the centuries. I think my memory is a mix of the Catholic one that I memorized as a kid and then the Protestant version we recited in church every day. Below the creed is a video of a contemporary song that highlights the basics of our faith.
I believe in one God,The Apostles’ Creed
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, in essence with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilot,
he suffered, died and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in fulfillment of the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
In the next few posts, I’ll be deconstructing the Nicene (or Apostles’ Creed) to analyze what exactly we are professing to believe. Subscribe so you don’t miss out.
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!
Here’s a modern version of the Creed, “We Believe” by the Newsboys…
Top picture is Council of Nicaea 325, dated 1590, Fresco in Sistine Chapel, Vatican