|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 forgivenness of sins,|
|the resurrection of the body,|
|and the life everlasting.|
The Apostles’ Creed dates from ancient times. Heresy was rampant then as now, so Christians needed a concise statement of what they believed.
The Apostles’ Creed was written first in Greek, then Latin. This translation into English is antiquated, but it’s the one I grew up with and memorized. More recent English translations exist. The meaning reamins the same.
If someone were to ask you, sincerely, about God, how would you reply? What if the only gospel they ever received was what they heard from you? You would do well to recite the Apostles’ Creed and then comment on it and answer questions. Well, here goes:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
Two things bother many academic cosmologists:
And in Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord;
Jesus is God’s only son (John 3:16). God became one of us, to teach us how
we should live and to show us that death is not the end.
Jesus is my personal savior from sin, death, and the power of the devil.
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary,
The gospels of Matthew and Luke begin with birth narratives. When I was in high school, our Christmas assembly featured a reading of the narratives from the gospels (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-14 [KJV]).
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;
Crucifixion was the slave’s punishment, inflicted on the worst people in
the Roman Empire who had done the worst things.
he descended into hell;
When Jesus died the tombs were opened (Matthew 27:51-54).
Earlier, he had promised that the dead would hear the gospel (John 5:26-29).
the third day he rose again from the dead;
Resurrection accounts are in all four gospels. If Jesus had been merely a good teacher who died, he would have been forgotten and there would be no Christianity. But the disciples met the risen Lord (I Corinthians 15:3-8). Most believed, but some doubted. The doubting Thomas (John 20:24-29) is my favorite.
he ascended into heaven,
The ascension is described in Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, and Acts 1. In heaven Jesus intercedes on our behalf (Hebrews 4:14-16).
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
When Jesus referred to himself by an honorary title, it was “Son of Man”. This is from Daniel 7:13-14, in which the Son of Man is presented before the Ancient of Days and receives an everlasting kingdom.
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
Every human being walking the earth is going to die. That includes me, and you. The only other possibility is that Jesus comes back while we are still alive (Acts 1:11, I Thessalonians 4:14-18). We will be judged (John 3:16-21, I Corinthians 11:27-32).
I believe in the Holy Ghost,
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to his disciples (John 14:15-31).
This promise was kept at Pentacost (Acts 2:1-4). The Holy Spirit can be at all
places in all times (Genesis 1:1-2, John 4:24), is freely available to us
(I Thessalonians 4:8) and intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27).
the holy catholic church,
Note that “catholic” is spelled with a small c, to distinguish the universal
church from the Roman Catholic Church. The church is a human institution, instituted
by Jesus (Matthew 16:15-18).
There are many denominations, just as there are many interpretations of
scripture. But God’s church includes all believers. Martin Luther was Catholic.
the communion of saints,
My litmus test for Christianity is to ask what they believe about the Bible.
If their answer is something like “I accept the 39 books of the Old
Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, and nothing else, as
God’s holy word,” that’s good enough for me
(yes, I give the Roman Catholic Church a pass for including the
the forgivenness of sins,
People will say “My sins are not as bad as xyz’s.” It
doesn’t matter. Suppose you have a pail of milk and I sneeze into it.
The milk is contaminated. It has to be thrown away, even though my sneeze
didn’t amount to much.
If, on the other hand, I dropped a dirty shoe into your pail of milk,
it would still be contaminated and have to be thrown away.
So it is that any sin contaminates your relationship with God.
the resurrection of the body,
The best evidence for the resurrection is in the book of Acts. The apostles were just ordinary folks, like you and me, but they did extraordinary things. No one will give up his life, fortune, or sacred honor for something he knows isn’t true. But they had met the risen Jesus.
and the life everlasting.
When my time comes, I’ll be dead for a lot longer than I live. To me, it really
matters how I spend the rest of eternity.