This creed is called the Apostles’ Creed, not because it was written by the apostles themselves, but because it contains a brief summary of their teachings. It sets forth their doctrine, as has been said, “in sublime simplicity, in unsurpassable brevity, in beautiful order, and with liturgical solemnity.” In its present form it is of no later date than the fourth century. More than any other creed in Christendom, it may justly be called an ecumenical symbol of faith.
I believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten 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 hell1;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sits at 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.
I believe a holy catholic2 church, the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
1. That is, on the cross Jesus suffered the agony of hell which our sins deserved (cf. Heidelberg Catechism Q. 44).
2. That is, God’s people through all times and places (cf. Heidelberg Catechism Q. 54).