Modernising the Apostles Creed

a not-so-sacred cow in Edinburgh via karen_roe in flickr
a not-so-sacred cow in Edinburgh via karen_roe in flickr

During a baptism class on Sunday, where many children were present, I was briefly explaining some of the key phrases of the Apostles Creed. Who is God? Who is Jesus? What does “ascended” mean? etc. I also noticed that the version of the creed we were reading had retained a few archaic English terms like “thence” instead of “there” and “Ghost” instead of “Spirit”.

I told the parents present I would update that language so the kids understood what we were talking about. If they read in the Bible, and hear in Kids Church that “God the Holy Spirit” is the third person of the Trinity and then read “Holy Ghost” in the creed, are they going to become confused? I think it’s very likely and not just for the children.

Here is my suggested modern rendering the Apostles Creed. The creed has changed much since its earliest appearance as a Latin statement of belief. Some of those changes have attracted controversy. Others were simply to modernise the language. In my version below, I have changed the wording in a few places. Have I retained the meaning adequately? Is the Apostles Creed an untouchable “sacred cow”? What do you think?

The Apostles Creed – A Modern Children’s Edition by Albert Garlando

I believe in God the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

I believe in Jesus Christ, God the Son, our Lord:
He was made into a baby by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary; he suffered under Pontius Pilate and was crucified, then he died, and was buried; he went down into the grave.
The third day after, He arose again from the dead;
He went up into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
He will come back from heaven to judge everyone who has ever lived.

I believe in the Holy Spirit; He brings every believer into the holy Christian Church and gives them the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and everlasting life.



2 thoughts on “Modernising the Apostles Creed

  1. “went down into the grave” – Is this the same as “descended into hell”. For some reason, I remember that in the apostle’s creed…. is it?

    1. Yes. Before it was translated as “descended into hell” it used to read as “descended into hades”.
      Which is a term that, generally speaking, described the realm of the dead or the grave. As opposed to the term gehena which describes a place of torment and suffering often translated into English as “hell” or “hell fire”.
      The link in the article to “controversy” explains the use of this phrase.
      Basically, saying Jesus “descended into hell” creates a few problems in the way modern English speakers use the term.
      By saying “went down into the grave”, I am retaining the meaning that Jesus really died, he didn’t simply swoon or pass out due to pain of crucifixion and revive later on. And I am avoiding the frequent confusion about why the Son of God had to go to the place of torment and hell fire.

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