The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ his only 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 sitteth on 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; The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.

This statement of faith does not claim to be written by the Apostles, rather it was written to preserve the faith of the Apostles. It is a concise summary of what the Apostles taught and believed. An early form dates back to A.D. 140. John, the last living Apostle of the Twelve, died 40 years prior.

It is connected with Acts 2:42.

And they were devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers.

The Apostles’ Doctrine was a primary focus of the First Church and is expounded upon in the writings of the New Testament which were created during a time when the Twelve were living. Early Christians held to a Rule of Faith that was based upon the Apostles’ Doctrine which was a set of core beliefs that were never compromised.

We have used the word Christian in place of catholic for disambiguation. The word catholic means “global” and is broad enough to include all church groups including the Roman Catholic church.

This creed was preceded by an earlier one which is called The Old Roman Creed. 

I believe in God the Father almighty;
and in Christ Jesus His only Son, our Lord,
Who was born from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
Who under Pontius Pilate was crucified and buried,
on the third day rose again from the dead,
ascended into heaven,
sits at the right hand of the Father,
whence he will come to judge the living and the dead;
and in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Church,
the remission of sins,
the resurrection of the flesh,
life everlasting.
[a]Elliot Ritzema and John D. Barry, “Apostles’ Creed,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

Some scholars feel that “He descended into hell” is a later addition and not a necessary part of the creed, or that it should it should be corrected to something like “He went into the grave” so that the harrowing of hell is not supported in this creed.

See also The Nicene Creed.