The Apostles Creed is a description of the basic principles of Christian Faith. There are theologians that believe that those principles were written by the original twelve Apostles on the tenth day following the ascension of Christ into heaven. Other theories teach that the Creed was in fact developed later, in A.D. 215. In its original form, the document was used and recited during baptismal ceremonies for the churches of Rome. It became to be known as the Roman Symbol, and displayed in a question and answer format, with believers affirming their acceptance of the Creed. The authorship of the creed has been discussed by theologians and debated for centuries. While it did not originate within the Catholic Church, many scholars agree that the Statement of faith developed as a baptismal confession of faith, which continues to be used in most Western churches. Learn God's Word by taking this Apostles Creed Bible Quiz.
Here is the wording of the Apostles Creed and the Scriptures that support the principles: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: (Genesis 1:1 and John 3:16) who, was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin, Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. (Luke 1:26-31; 23:14-25, 24:46-56). He descended into hell. (1 Peter 3:19) The third day He arose again from the dead. (Luke 24:26-49) He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. (Luke 24:51; Luke 22:69; 1 Peter 4:6) I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrections of the body, and life everlasting. (Romans 12:5; 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 6:2)
By simple definition, a creed is a system of principles, beliefs or the body of teachings of a religious group that are generally accepted by that group. The Apostles Creed does just that, citing Christian beliefs and basic doctrine, uniting believers with the foundations that all Christians subscribe to. The statement of faith is not a citing of beliefs particular to the Catholic Church, though the faith statement uses the word Catholic in the body of the document. The word Catholic is referring to the entire body of believers, the universal Christian church, because the purpose of the Creed is to provide a statement of faith for all united believers. While this statement of beliefs is not the Holy Word of God, as is the Bible, the faith statement is built upon the foundation provided by Scripture. For more Bible resources like the Apostles Creed, click the link.
Though portions of this statement of faith have been debated and questioned, it is clear that the wording finds it roots in Holy Scripture. The wording of the document has evolved with different denominations and traditions, specializing the expressions to fit the beliefs of any given church. Perhaps the most debated phrase in the Famous Faith statement is the "descended into hell", a phrase that has confused Christians for centuries. This act of Christ descending into hell has long been the topic of debate and disagreement between Christians and differing denominations. Considering the fact that this phrase has stayed in the Creed gives the idea that Christ's descending has been a long time discussion. Christians have long been troubled over what the descent actually means for Christ. Augustine believed Christ literally descended into hell. But in a letter, he admitted to several uncertainties over the meaning of the scriptures located in 1 Peter 3:29, which says that Jesus preached to those "spirits in prison" who had been disobedient in Noah's day. If "prison" equals "hell," Augustine pondered why, would those in hell receive the honor of Christ and His message? Augustine, as many men after him did not attempt to resolve the matter, but openly admitted his puzzlement with this scripture.
Perhaps there are statements in Scripture that can leave us pondering and uncertain as to their meaning. However, accepting the Word as the inherent Word of God does not equate to total understanding. Jeremiah 33:3 tell us to call to God, and that He will teach us great and unreachable things. He also tells us through the prophet Isaiah that His ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts, according to Isaiah 55:8-10. The results of compelling scripture studies go far beyond settling debates; compelling scripture studies allow us to dig and research the Word of God, finding our very life within the pages of this great book. We should not worry if there are some things written within the pages of the Bible that are too great for our limited understanding, we are called obey and believe.
History Of The BibleA discussion of the history of Bible versions appropriately begins with understanding that the original manuscripts, the actual papyrus written on by Moses or Paul, no longer exist. These documents, called autographs, were lost or destroyed long ago. But God's Word has been preserved in an overwhelming multitude of scrolls and fragments that are copies of the autographs. The earliest Old Testament is actually a Greek translation of the original Hebrew language dating to 300-200 B.C. Known as the Septuagint, it is the careful and meticulous work of seventy Jewish scholars, who, for the first time ever, translated a text from one language into another. In their honor, the Septuagint is sometimes referred to by the Roman numeral LXX. The oldest copy of the Hebrew Old Testament, written in approximately 916 A.D., is known as the Masoretic Text or MT. The name comes from the scholars, the Masoretes, who standardized the pronunciation keys and spelling of the ancient texts. The history of the Bible isn't just about scholarly research, however. Sometimes it involves a common person minding his own business.
One of the most important archaeological finds of the last century was made by a wandering Bedouin goat herder in 1947 when he tossed a rock into a cave and heard the sound of breaking pottery. He had unwittingly discovered a treasure trove, the Dead Sea Scrolls, in the Qumran and Masada caves of Israel. The approximately 190 scrolls were protected by linen cloths, clay jars, and the dry, arid climate. Amongst these treasures, scholars found manuscripts and fragments of Old Testament writings, written in the ancient Hebrew language, and dating from between 250 B.C. and 70 A.D. One of these, found in Cave 1, was almost a complete manuscript of the book of Isaiah. When scholars compared these ancient texts with the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text, they found that the differences between the three were minor. This brief history of Bible versions shows how the Old Testament writings were preserved throughout the centuries despite the loss of the autographs.
The New Testament autographs also are lost, but archaeologists have discovered numerous copies and copies of copies dating from the first century A.D. Though scribal errors certainly occurred, the science of textual criticism provides assurance that these copies are a close match to the lost originals. In fact, no other literature from the ancient world, including the writings of Homer and Shakespeare, have as much evidence of what the original text must have been as the New Testament literature. As the prophet foretold, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever" (Isaiah 40:8). Studying the history of the Bible shows God's providence in protecting His Word.
This background information provides the foundation for the history of Bible versions. The first, a Latin translation dating to 382 A.D., is known as the Vulgate. When Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press in 1455 A.D., he chose to print the Vulgate Bible. A copy of the Gutenberg Bible is kept under glass at the British Museum in London, England. The first English translation of the New Testament was made in 1526 A.D. by William Tynsdale. The Geneva Bible, printed in 1599-1560 A.D., was the first to use numbered verses. This version, which was used by the Pilgrims, was the most popular in its time. Eventually, it was replaced by the King James Version, first printed in 1611 A.D. In the centuries since then, the King James Version has been printed more than any other book -- over one billion times. Too many versions belong on a history of the Bible timeline to include them all here. For example, the first Bible printed in America was a translation into the native language of the Algonquin Indians by John Eliot in 1663. The same Noah Webster of dictionary fame published his own King James Version revision in 1883.
An older source for New Testament translations is the Textus Receptus, or Received Text, a series of Greek New Testament translations dating from 1516 to 1633 and based on the translating work of the scholar Erasmus. A second source, referred to as Westcott and Hort, is based on two critical texts, the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. When B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort published their work in 1881, the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus were based on the oldest known manuscripts that were available at that time. Neither the King James Version nor the more modern English translations are wholly based on either of these critical texts, however. Current sources are the Nestle or Nestle Aland text and the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament. The former was first published in 1898; its twenty-seventh edition in 1993. The USB's text first edition appeared in 1966 and its fourth in 1993. Researching the history of the Bible demonstrates that scholars use the relevant critical texts and ancient manuscripts as a basis for their translating work.
The more popular modern English translations and the date of their printing include the English Revised Version (1880s), American Standard Version (1901), New American Standard Version Bible (1971), New International Version (1973), and English Standard Version (2002). Though the modern English translations vary, each one is based on either a word-by-word or phrase-by-phrase translation from the original language of the earliest manuscripts. Popular English versions exist that are not translations, but paraphrases, such as The Living Bible, printed in 1971, and The Message, printed in 2002.
This history of Bible versions briefly summarizes a few of the critical texts, early translations, and archaeological findings that have preserved God's Word throughout the centuries. Meticulous, thoughtful scholarship researched and compared ancient manuscripts to ensure as much accuracy as possible in our modern English translations.