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The Apostles' Creed

 

What the Bible Teaches:
God Jesus Holy Spirit Man Angels Satan


In Christian terminology a creed is a statement of beliefs. A confession is a similar device. Creeds and Confessions are statements summarizing the beliefs of a particular group. There are many Christian Creeds and Confessions; emphasizing various aspects of belief.

The oldest of these formal Creeds is the Apostles' Creed.  Despite the name, there is no evidence that it was written by any of the Apostles; the title indicates that the principles stated were believed by the Apostles and therefore should be believed by all Christians.

The other Creed that is frequently used is the Nicene Creed, which was formulated at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.  Basically, it slightly expands on the Apostles' Creed; for instance, instead of beginning "I believe in God" the Nicene Creed begins "I believe in one God".

Either the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed is usually recited near the beginning of a Christian worship service, depending on the denomination.  Everyone who is a Christian, wants to become a Christian, or simply wants to understand what Christianity teaches and Christians believe should be sure to understand the meaning of each phrase in the Creed.

HOW CAN I KNOW GOD IS REAL AND THE BIBLE IS TRUE?

God tells us, for example, in Chapter  44:6-8 and 46:9-10 of the book of Isaiah, that He alone knows the future and He tells it to us to prove He is real and the Bible is His word.  This is called prophecy.  The Apostles' Creed contains nine examples of things that were foretold and later happened.  They are highlighted below in blue.

Also see Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus


 

THE APOSTLES' CREED BIBLE  REFERENCES
  I believe in God,(1) the Father Almighty,
       Maker of Heaven and Earth,(2)
 
  And in Jesus Christ,(3)
       His only Son,(4)
       our Lord,(5)
       who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,(6)  
       born of the Virgin(7) Mary,
       suffered under Pontius Pilate,(8)
       was crucified,(9)
       dead(10)
       and buried.(11)

He descended into Hell.(A)
 
  The third day(12)
       He arose from the dead,(13)
       He ascended into Heaven(14)
       and is seated at the right hand
       of God,(15) the Father Almighty.
 
  From thence He shall come
       to judge the quick* and the dead.(16)
 
  I believe in the Holy Spirit,(17)
       the church universal,(18)
       the communion ** of saints,(19)
       the forgiveness of sins,(20)
       the resurrection of the body,(21)
       and life everlasting.(22)
 
  *   "quick" means "spiritually alive"
  ** "communion" refers to "coming together"

  1.  Isaiah 44:6; 45:5
  2.  Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3; Acts 14:15
 
  3.  Luke 2:11; John 20:28
  4.  John 3:16; Proverbs 30:4
  5.  John 20:28
  6.  Luke 1:35
  7.  Luke 1:27
  8.  Luke 23:23-25
  9.  John 19:20; Acts 4:10; all Gospels
  10. 1 Corinthians 15:3
  11. 1 Corinthians 15:4

  A. 1 Peter 3:18; Luke 23:43

  12. 1 Corinthians 15:4
  13. 1 Corinthians 15:4
  14. Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51, Acts 1:11
 
  15. Mark 16:19; Hebrews 1:3
 
 
  16. 2 Timothy 4:1; John 5:22
 
  17. John 15:26; 16:7-8, 13-14; Acts 13:2  
  18. Galatians 3:26-29
  19. Revelation 19:14; Hebrews 10:25
  20. Luke 7:48
  21. 1 Thessalonians 4:16; John 6:39
  22. John 10:28; 17:2-3
 
 

BIBLICAL BASES FOR THE APOSTLES' CREED

Footnote 1 BACK

Isaiah 44:6 This is what the LORD says -- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:  I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.

Footnote 2 BACK

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

John 1:1-3 [1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was with God in the beginning. [3] Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Acts 14:15 Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.

Footnote 3 BACK

Luke 2:11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

John 20:28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

Footnote 4 BACK

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Proverbs 30:4 [NKJV]   Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?  Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if you know?

Footnote 5 BACK

John 20:28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

Footnote 6 BACK

Luke 1:35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Footnote 7 BACK

Luke 1:26-27 [26] In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, [27] to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

Footnote 8 BACK

Luke 23:23-25 [23] But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. [24] So Pilate decided to grant their demand. [25] He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

Footnote 9 BACK

John 19:20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.

Acts 4:10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.

Footnote 10 BACK

1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to [i.e., in accordance with, in fulfillment of] the Scriptures,

Footnote 11, 12, 13 BACK

1 Corinthians 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

Footnote A BACK

1 Peter 3:18b-20a [18] . . . He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, [19] through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison [20a] who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Comments on "He descended into Hell.":

(a) The closest translation of the original Latin is "He descended into the lower parts." It is unclear which is meant: 'Hell', 'Hades' or 'the Lake of Fire'. The Hebrew term "Sheol" is sometimes translated "Hell" or "Hades", and other times "the grave". Some commentators claim this sentence means "He went into the grave." However, as Calvin aptly points out, earlier versions of the Creed already said "He was . . . buried."  What would be the point of 'clarifying' an unambiguous statement by adding an ambiguous statement? Also, "He descended" is active voice. Jesus didn't go into the grave, His body was placed in the grave.

(b) The placement of the comma in Luke seems to say "I tell you the truth -- you will be with Me in Paradise today." However,  there is no punctuation in the original Greek text. it could also mean "Today I tell you the truth -- you will be with me in Paradise." in the sense of "I'm telling you right now -- you will be with me in Paradise." On the basis of the biblical text there is no reason to prefer the punctuation chosen by the translators.

(c) Among both the authors of the New Testament and later commentators there is some confusion as to where Jesus' spirit was between His death and resurrection. Peter seems to indicate that He spent at least part of the time in Paradise preaching. To whom and about what continues to be a subject of debate.

(d) Many theologians point out that the punishment for sin is not physical death, but spiritual death (separation from God) and punishment in Hell/the Lake of Fire. There is nothing to indicate that Jesus went directly to Paradise. He could have gone to the punishment part of Hades or to the Lake of Fire to take our punishment for a time and then gone to Paradise to preach.

BUT THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN INTRODUCTORY WEBSITE! (Well, at least it started out that way!)

Footnote 14 BACK

Mark 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

Luke 24:51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

Acts 1:11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Footnote 15 BACK

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Footnote 16 BACK

2 Timothy 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

John 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,

Footnote 17 BACK

John 15:26 When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

John 16:7-8, 13-14 [7] But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. [8] When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: [13] But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. [14] He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

Footnote 18 BACK

Galatians 3:26-29 [26] You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, [27] for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. [28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Footnote 19 BACK

Revelation 19:14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.

Hebrews 10:25 [Living Bible] Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.

(In the Apostles' Creed the term 'communion' refers to 'meeting together', not the Lord's Supper. Hebrews 10:25 is frequently paraphrased as "Do not forsake the assembly of saints" or "Do not forsake the assembling of the saints."

Footnote 20 BACK

Luke 7:48 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

Footnote 21 BACK

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.

Footnote 22 BACK

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

John 17:2-3 [2] For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. [3] Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.


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