The Apostles' Creed Today
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by [the power of] the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again 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 the Early Church
A form of The Apostles' Creed was certainly in use by the middle of the second century. It may have been developed in the western church, either in Rome, or in Gaul (Harnack). From the testimonies of the early Christians, it appears the early church may have been following a rule of faith during this time. We simply do not know if the Apostles had developed a formal creed although it is possible. The Apostles' Creed was likely developed in the first half of the second century to represent the apostolic tradition. Both Ireneaus and Tertullian seem to be citing a rule of faith that was known to the entire church by the middle of the second century. These early confessions also make no reference to the holy church, the communion of saints, or forgiveness of sins. They also do not contain the phrase, "He descended to Hades." What is clear in the early confessions is the belief in one God alone who is the Creator and that one God alone is identified as the Father and Jesus is His Son. The first phrase, "believe in one God, the Father Almighty," seems to have been modified after Trinitarianism developed and was changed to "believe in God, the Father Almighty."
Irenaeus (Gaul, ca. 180 AD).
The Church, though dispersed through the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation, and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and his appearance from heaven in the glory of the Father "to gather all things in one," and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, "every knee should bow, of things in heaven,, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess" to him, and that he should execute just judgment towards all, that he may send "spiritual wickednesses," and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire, but may, in the exercise of his grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept his commandments, and have persevered in his love, some from the beginning, and others from their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory.
(Against Heresies, I, 10).
Rule of Faith
(ca. 140-220 AD)
The Apostles' Creed was developed out of a belief in one God: the Father. The early versions read "one God, the Father." Later versions dropped the word "one." The Nicean Creed also used the term "one God, the Father."
|Irenaeus||Tertullian||Old Roman||Present Form|
|Against Heresies||On the Veiling of Virgins||Against Praxeas||Prescription against Heretics || || |
|The Church, though dispersed through the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples ||The rule of faith, indeed, is altogether one, alone immoveable and irreformable - the rule, to wit ||We, however, as we indeed always have done and more especially since we have been better instructed by the Paraclete, who leads men indeed into all truth, believe that ||Now, with respect to this rule of faith, that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend, it is, you must know, that which prescribes: || || |
|this faith: One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
||Believing in One God Almighty, Creator of the Universe
||there is One God alone
||the belief that there is only One God and He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word
||I believe in God the Father Almighty
||I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth
|and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God
||and His Son Jesus Christ
||that this One God alone has also a Son, His Word, who proceeded from Himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made
||that this Word is called His Son
||And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord
||And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord
|who became incarnate for our salvation... birth from a virgin
||born of the Virgin Mary
||Him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the Virgin, and to have been born of her
||at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ
||Who was born of the Holy Spirit and out of the Virgin Mary
||Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary
|and the passion
||crucified under Pontius Pilate
||we believe Him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures
||fastened to a cross
||Crucified under Pontius Pilate and buried
||Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried
|* * *
||* * *
||* * *
||* * *
||* * *
||He descended into Hades
|and the resurrection from the dead
||raised again the third day from the dead
||after He had been raised again by the Father
||He rose again the third day
||The third day he rose again from the dead
||The third day He rose again from the dead
|and the ascension into heaven
||received in the heavens, sitting now at the right hand of the Father
||and taken back to heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father
||having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father
||He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father
||He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty
|and his appearance from heaven in the glory of the Father... that he should execute just judgment towards all
||destined to come to judge living and dead
||and that He will come to judge the living and the dead
||will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire,
||He shall come to judge the living and the dead
||He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
||who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to His own promise, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit
||sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Spirit to lead such as believe
||I believe in the Holy Spirit
||I believe in the Holy Spirit.
|to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race.... immortality on the righteous... everlasting glory
||through the resurrection of the flesh
|| after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh
||the holy church, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the body.
||the holy catholic church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins and the life everlasting. Amen.
|the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth.
||this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel
||Note: The last 2 statements are switched.
Last Updated: March 2, 2011