The Apostles’ Creed
The term creed derives from the Latin credo (“I believe”), and as used in the Christian church signifies a confession of faith. The Apostles’ Creed is the oldest creed, and lies at the base of most others. Though not the direct work of the Apostles, it has roots in apostolic times, and embodies apostolic teaching, growing out of the rudimentary forms of confession which we find in the New Testament. The creed exists in two forms - a shorter and a longer; the former, known as the Old Roman Form, going back certainly as early as the middle of the 2nd century (about 140 AD), and the latter, the enlarged form, having phrases added until about the 7th century.
The creeds of the church have served a variety of functions. They were used in a baptismal context as a confession of faith as one joined the church. They were used for instructing new Christians in the essentials of the faith. They were used to refute and expose heretical teachings. And they were recited at various places in the worship services of the churches.