The Apostles' Creed (Circa 2nd Century AD)
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended to hell.*
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
from whence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
What is the Apostles' Creed?
From as early as the second century, Christians used statements of faith, like the Apostles’ Creed, to publicly declare their faith in Christ. Usually, these statements were declared prior to their public declaration of the faith at baptism. The Apostles' Creed is one of those statements based on the apostles' teaching. It accurately summarizes the essential doctrines of belief for every true believer in Jesus. Creeds, in and of themselves, have no authority or power but are rooted in the truth of Scripture and sound doctrine from God's Word, which alone has authority and power.
*The earliest versions of the Apostles' Creed include two phrases that require some explanation.
The first is that Jesus "descended into hell." Unfortunately, several English translations of the Bible are inconsistent in their translation of the Hebrew word Sheol and the Greek word Hades. They are sometimes translated as "hell" when they both mean "the place of the dead." Sheol and Hades are a temporary place where souls are kept till they await the final judgment. The Bible says that Jesus descended to these lower regions of the earth and proclaimed to the spirits in prison. However, he did not go to hell as we would know it as the Lake of Fire. That is the permanent place of punishment for Satan, his angels, and all those who reject the free gift of salvation offered to us in Christ. Therefore, it's helpful to say "He descended to the dead" so as not to be confused and confuse others.
Secondly, is that we believe in "the holy catholic church." This does not refer to the modern Roman Catholic Church as we know it today. The word catholic (with a lowercase "c") simply means “universal.” The true "catholic" church includes all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.