The word creed comes from the Latin credo, meaning "I believe." This is because, when these creeds were written, they were meant to be a personal baptismal confession; confession not merely academic, but confession of a personal relationship to the Triune God as revealed in Holy Scriptures.
The use of pronouns in the text of the creeds indicates their use as either a baptismal confession "I believe" or in congregational worship "We believe." The "confession of the community" (the one) is realized fully by the personal confession and relationship with God of each individual congregant (the many). This is why, in many "confessional" churches, the faith is dead. The faith is dead because the confession is mere words; there is no living relationship subsuming the confession.
The earliest manuscript containing this creed is dated ca. 750. The Apostles creed was developed from the “Old Roman Creed.” This statement of belief was presented by Marcellus of Ancyra ca. 340 to Bishop Julius of Rome , to prove that he was orthodox in faith. It is almost identical with a Roman Creed mentioned by Rufinus ca. 400, and is in fact clearly based on the baptismal creeds of c. 200. In Western churches, this creed has been traditionally used at baptisms.
When "catholic" is used in these early creeds its primary referent is the universality of the reign of Christ (over heaven and earth and all nations and men therein). Second, catholic embodies the universality of the atonement ... Christ by taking all humanity to Himself in the Incarnation (John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:16-17), (1) took all men into death with Him, (1) took all men to the grave with Him, (3) took all men with Him in His resurrection, and (3) presented all men to the Father with Him in His ascension. Third, by inference from the universality of Christ's kingdom and atonement, catholic refers to the universal body of Christ, men and women who participate in Christ's redemption by the Spirit, irrespective of race, from every tribe, tongue, kindred, and nation (Revelation 5:9-10).
Some people object to the phrase "He descended into hell" in some readings of the creed. Hell is Hades, the place of death. "He descended into death" means that Christ, dying on the Cross, tasted the death of sinners and delivered sinners from its ramifications (Job 38:17; Psalm 68:18-22; Matthew 12:38-41; Acts 2:22-32; Romans 10:7; Hebrews 2:13-15; Ephesians 4:7-10; I Peter 4:6).
The Apostles' Creed pits the world's only history-grounded faith against all others.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things seen and unseen.
And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended to the dead; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Apostle's Creed sung by Sylvia Groeger (Powerpoint Slide Show).Nicene Creed