The Apostles' Creed

Explore one of the oldest Christian statements of faith

The Apostles' Creed
The Apostles Composing the Creed by Somme le Roy.

 Public Domain

The Apostles' Creed, like the Nicene Creed, is widely accepted as a statement of faith among Western Christian churches (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) and used by a number of Christian denominations as a part of worship services. It is the simplest of all the creeds.

The Apostles’ Creed

  • The Apostles’ Creed is one of the three great creeds of the ancient Christian church, the others being the Athanasian Creed and the Nicene Creed.
  • The creed summarizes the apostles’ preachings and teachings concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the apostles.
  • The creed is the oldest, simplest, and least developed creed of the Christian church.

While Christianity as a religion is greatly divided, the Apostles' Creed affirms the common heritage and basic beliefs that unite Christians around the world and throughout history. However, some evangelical Christians reject the creed—specifically its recitation, not for its content—simply because it is not found in the Bible.

Origins of the Apostles' Creed

Ancient theory or legend adopted the belief that the 12 apostles were the original authors of the Apostles' Creed, and that each contributed a special article. Today biblical scholars agree that the creed was developed sometime between the second and ninth centuries. The oldest form of the creed appeared in approximately AD 340. The fullest form of the creed came into being around 700 AD.

The Apostles' Creed held an important place in the early church. It is believed that the creed was originally formulated to refute the claims of Gnosticism and protect the church from early heresies and deviations from orthodox Christian doctrine.

The early creed took on two forms: one short, known as the Old Roman Form, and the longer enlargement of the Old Roman Creed called the Received Form.

The creed was used to summarize Christian doctrine and as a baptismal confession in the churches of Rome. It also served as a test of right doctrine for Christian leaders and an act of praise in Christian worship.

The Apostles' Creed in Modern English

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;
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.

Amen.

The Apostles' Creed in Traditional English

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 catholic* Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

Amen.

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].

*The word "catholic" in the Apostles' Creed refers not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.