Why study the Apostles 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 Spirit,
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 sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there He shall 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.

“They shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

  • Genesis 17:7, Exodus 6:7, Ezek. 34:24, Jer. 32:38, 2 Corinthians 6:16

The Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

  • 1 Kings 18:39
  • Matthew 28:19
  • Mark 8:29
  • Acts 2:36
  • Romans 1:3-4, 10:9
  • 1 Corinthians 8:6, 12:3, 15:3-7
  • 2 Corinthians 13:14
  • Philippians 2:6-11
  • 1 Timothy 3:16

A.A. Hodge:  “While, however, the Scriptures are from God, the understanding of them belongs to the part of men. Men must interpret to the best of their ability each particular part of Scripture separately, and then combine all that the Scriptures teach upon every subject into a consistent whole, and then adjust their teachings upon different subjects in mutual consistency as parts of a harmonious system. Every student of the Bible must do this, and all make it obvious that they do it by the terms they use in their prayers and religious discourse, whether they admit or deny the propriety of human creeds and confessions. If they refuse the assistance afforded by the statements of doctrine slowly elaborated and defined by the Church, they must make out their own creed by their own unaided wisdom. The real question is not, as often pretended, between the word of God and the creed of man, but between the tried and proved faith of the collective body of God’s people, and the private judgment and the unassisted wisdom of the repudiator of creeds.”[1]

“The creed is the church’s understanding of the meaning of Scripture.”[2]

History of the Apostles Creed

  • Traditional Story
  • End of 2nd Century
  • Irenaeus / Tertullian / Hippolytus / Marcellus / Rufinus
  • Roman Symbol, or Rule of Faith
  • Textus Receptus
  • Late in the 6th century in southwest France.
  • De singulis libris canonicis scarapsus of Priminius dated 710-24
  • African variant

“I believe in God”

What does it mean to believe in something?

  1. Thinking (opinion) – holding to something to be true on insufficient grounds
  2. Believing (religion) – on subjectively sufficient grounds
  3. Knowing (science) – on objectively sufficient grounds
  • Intellectual ascent
  • Love / Trust
  • Saving Faith or Justifying Faith

“Faith in Reformation theology was not a matter of knowing a number of doctrinal truths but consisted in the soul’s union with the person of Christ according to the Scriptures and with Scripture as the word of Christ.”[3]


  • “… But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.”

WSC 86: What is faith in Jesus Christ?

A: Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

WLC 72: What is justifying faith?

Answer: Justifying faith is a saving grace1, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit2 and Word of God3, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition4, not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel5, but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin6, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.7

1 Hebrews 10:39
2 2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 1:17-19
3 Romans 10:14; Romans 10:17
4 Acts 2:37; Acts 16:30; John 16:8-9; Romans 5:6; Ephesians 2:1; Acts 4:12
5 Ephesians 1:13
6 John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Acts 10:43
7 Philippians 3:9; Acts 15:11

Our ground of belief is in our union with Christ

  • Genesis 17:7:   “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”

[1] A.A. Hodge, A Short History of Creeds and Confessions,

[2] John Leith, The Creeds and Their Role in the Church.

[3] Herman Bavinck Reformed Dogmatics, I:573

Did Jesus Go to Hell?

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