THE APOSTLES’ CREED
Catholics believe that the Word of God is found not only in
the Bible but also in the spoken word, a form of Sacred
Sacred Traditions are considered part of the unwritten Word
of God because it has been believed for centuries, since the
time of the Apostolic Church.
This period of time in Church history, from the first to the
second century AD, is called Apostolic because the Apostles
lived at that time.
• The most influential part of Sacred Tradition is the Creed
• The word creed comes from the Latin word credo, which
means “I believe”.
• A creed is a statement of what a person believes; it
states what members of a religion believe is essential.
• The two most important creeds are the Apostles’ Creed
and the Nicene Creed.
• The Nicene Creed is recited at every Mass.
• The oldest creed is the Apostles’ Creed. This creed
dates back to the first century AD.
• The Creed is one of the four pillars of faith, along with the
Ten Commandments, the seven sacraments, and the Our
• The text of the Apostles’ Creed summarizes all that
Catholicism regards as divinely revealed truth.
• The Apostles’ Creed can be divided into twelve articles
• Article 1: I believe in God the Father, almighty, creator of
heaven and earth.
– This affirms (confirms or states positively) that God
exists, that there is only one God, and that He created
the known universe; God created all things out of
nothing by His own power
•Article 2: and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord
-This attests that Jesus is the Son of God and that he is
divine; Jesus has both a divine nature and a human
-Use of the title Christ shows
an understanding that Jesus
is the Christ, or “anointed one”.
•Article 3: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of
the Virgin Mary,
- This affirms the human nature of Christ; he had a
real, human mother. It also affirms Jesus’ divine nature,
since it was by the power of the Holy Spirit that he was
conceived in Mary’s womb.
- Incarnation – The union of the two natures of Jesus
into one divine person; the “Word made flesh”.
• Article 4: suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified,
died and was buried;
– The human nature of Christ could feel pain and
actually die; Jesus experienced actual, physical death
on Good Friday.
– The mention of Pilate by name is meant to place the
Crucifixion at a point in human history.
• Article 5: He descended into hell; On the third day he
rose again from the dead;
– In the first century, the word hell referred to the place
of all the dead, good or bad. Before salvation and
redemption, the souls of all the deceased had to wait
in the “abode of the dead” until the Redeemer could
open the gates of heaven.
– This line of the Creed affirms
that Jesus rose; he came back
from the dead of his own divine power.
Jesus has a glorified, risen body.
• Article 6: He ascended into heaven and sits at the right
hand of God the Father almighty;
– The Ascension reminds us that after the human and
divine natures of Christ were united in the Incarnation,
they could never be separated. Where Jesus went, body
and soul, into heaven, the faithful hope to follow.
*Article 7: From there He will come again to judge the
living and the dead.
- This article affirms the Second Coming of Christ at the
end of the world to be its judge.
- After death, immediate private judgment occurs; a
person is judged by their faith and how the practiced it.
- At the end of time, we will experience General
Judgment, God’s disclosure of everyone’s private
• Article 8: I believe in the Holy Spirit
– This part reminds us that God exists in three persons –
the Blessed Trinity. The Holy Spirit is equal to God the
Father and God the Son.
• Article 9: (I believe in) the holy Catholic Church, the
communion of saints
- The word “catholic” means “universal”
- We believe that the Church is not simply an institution,
but an essential aspect of spiritual life.
- The role of the Church continues a three-fold mission
that Christ had when he was on earth: to teach,
sanctify and govern. Jesus fulfilled this mission in his
role as prophet, priest, and king.
- Communion of saints means that the Church includes
the baptized, the saints in heaven, and the souls in
• Article 10: (I believe in) the forgiveness of sins…
– Christ came to save the world from sin. Belief in the
forgiveness of sins is essential to Christianity. We
acknowledge that we are all sinners and that we are in
need of God’s mercy. (Mercy means compassionate
* Article 11: (I believe in) the resurrection of the body…
- For Catholics, a human being is the union of a body and
a soul. Death is just a brief separation of the body and
soul which is unique to each person.
• Article 12: (I believe in) the life everlasting.
– As Christ died, so we must die, too. As he rose, so shall
we. Death is the way we cross over from this life on earth
to eternal life with God.