What Is the Apostles' Creed?


Quick Answer

The Apostles' Creed is a brief formulaic summary of basic Christian teaching, and some believe the creed to have originated with the 12 Apostles of Christ. Among the topics in the Apostles' Creed are God, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Church, the communion of saints and the end times.

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Full Answer

The title of the Apostles' Creed may refer either to the creed's supposed apostolic authorship (though some doubt this authorship, while maintaining the apostolic nature of the doctrine therein), or to the belief that the creed is a faithful representation of the Apostles' doctrine. Traces or references to the content of the creed are extant in the early centuries of the Church, including in the writings of St. Ambrose and Tertullian.

The Apostles' Creed starts with an acknowledgement of God as creator or all that is, and it proceeds to acknowledge fundamental Christological doctrines, including Christ's sonship, his Incarnation by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. The creed also refers to the Second Coming, when Christ returns at the end of the world as judge.

The creed professes belief in the Holy Spirit and next focuses on the members of the Church in both heaven (the Communion of Saints) and on earth. It closes with an acknowledgement of eternal life with an "Amen."

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