The Usefulness of the Apostles’ Creed


The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord;
who was conceived of the Holy Spirit; was born of the virgin Mary;
he suffered under Pontius Pilate, he was crucified; died and was buried,
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose from the dead;
He ascended into heaven;
he sat at the right hand of God the Almighty Father;
and from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
I believe in the Holy Universal Church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and eternal life.

One of Bethlehem College and Seminary’s core values is that we are Rooted in Historic Christian Orthodoxy. The value states:

Bethlehem College and Seminary is a confessional institution that embraces the doctrinal beliefs set forth in the Bethlehem College and Seminary Affirmation of Faith. We joyfully embrace the historic Christian teaching on the Trinity and the Incarnation of Jesus Christ as set forth in the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds. We are Reformed in our soteriology, baptistic in our practice, and charismatic in our affections. On secondary matters we allow for a range of perspectives, provided that such positions are held in submission to the inerrant and infallible Word of God.

The Apostles’ Creed is useful for several reasons (It was even a chapel theme.). First, it is a list of official doctrines which have always been accepted by the authentic and historic church, and which can act as a guide in the way one interprets the scriptures. Zacharias Ursinus, in his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, says, “That there might be extant some perpetual rule, short, simple, and easily understood by all, according to which every doctrine and interpretation of Scripture might be tried, that they might be embraced and believed when agreeing therewith, and rejected when differing from it.”[1] By this creed, we discover and affirm that we are united in our faith with the apostles, the disciples of apostles, and with the whole church universal. It is a clear, short, and succinct reminder of what all true Christians, everywhere, believe.

Second, a major part of true Christian worship is to be frequently reminded of what you believe. The Apostles’ Creed can be very helpful in church worship. Ursinus points out that, “That all might constantly have before their eyes the confession and comfort of their faith, knowing what the doctrine was on account of which they were called to suffer persecution.”[3] Interestingly enough, whether many realize it or not, we frequently sing the Apostles’ Creed in our churches (such as the contemporary worship song “We Believe” which has been recorded by many artists, such as the Newsboys; or “Creed” by Rich Mullins and Third Day; or “This I Believe” by Hillsong or Shane and Shane).

Third, creeds help remind us of things that unite us. There are many differences of opinion in the church. We all have beliefs about how things should be done, doctrines, etc., but we are united by our creeds! Ursinus points out that the Creed serves to distinguish us from false religions and beliefs, and to make clear what we believe, “That the faithful might have a certain badge or mark by which they might then and in all future ages be distinguished from unbelievers and heretics, who cunningly corrupt the writings of the Prophets and Apostles.”[4]

Fourth, creeds are very useful in discipleship, in baptisms, in new believer classes, and in our Sunday schools, to help new believers better understand what Christians believe, why they believe it, and how to express it. Zacharias Ursinus points out that one of the reasons for writing creeds of this kind is that “all the young, as well as those of riper years, might be able to remember the chief points of Christian doctrine, as thus briefly summed up and expressed.”[5]

David Haines, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy


Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray that we each would be drawn to worship by our study of theology.
  2. Pray for the prospective students coming to Spring Preview Day April 26, that God will guide their steps.
  3. Pray that the remaining Serious Joy Scholarships would be subscribed by June 30.



[1]Ursinus, CHC, 118.
[3]Ursinus, CHC, 118.
[4]Ursinus, CHC, 118.
[5]Ursinus, CHC, 118.