The Apostle’s 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 Hades.
The third day he rose from the dead, he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost,
the holy universal church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. “
Apostle’s Creed Commentary
The word ‘creed’ comes from the Latin word ‘credo’, which means ‘I believe’. It is a public testimony of faith espousing articles which Christian adherents believe are essential to salvation. The earliest universally accepted Christian creed is the Apostles Creed. It was formulated by Christian leaders in the first century of the faith, i.e., about the year 100 or before, and is still in use today.
The Apostle’s Creed was followed in the year 325 by the Nicene Creed, which affirmed the doctrine of the Trinitarian nature of God. The Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed are essentially alike. They teach one God; the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ, and both state the same gift of the Spirit. They describe the same precepts, the same consitution concerning the universal Christian Church, look for the same Second Coming of Christ. Both proclaim the same salvation, both in soul and body.
The Nicene Creed was developed by a council representing all the churches, not only to combat the Arian heresy’s (see below), but to bring every church of Christianity under the umbrella of one code of belief. Over the previous 300 years, many churches had began codifying and altering their own creeds.
The final form of the Nicene Creed came at the Council of Constantinople which added, “and I believe in the Holy Spirit” to the code in the year 381.
In the year 870 the creed was altered by the Western church to state that the Holy Spirit came from both God and Jesus Christ. The Eastern church did not accept this doctrine. They believe the Holy Spirit comes only from the Father. So they broke away from the Western Church, a schism which continues to this day.
The Nicene Creed affirms that the Godhead is Triune, and that Jesus is a complete and full member of this Trinity.
Together, the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed sum up the core belief of 99% of Christians worldwide.
For more on the creeds of the Christian Church, see Creeds.