The Apostles’ Creed is the oldest creed of the church, and its influ-ence can be seen in many of the subsequent creeds in church his-tory. The Apostles’ Creed
was so named because of a tradition that emerged in the sixth century that each of the apostles contributed one of the creed’s twelve articles, or statements of belief.
This story, although ancient, is almost certainly a legend: the Apostles’ Creed is not a direct production of the apostles themselves. Rather, the justi-fication for continuing to call this formulation the Apostles’ Creed is that it preserves the “rule of faith” that was transmitted from the apostles. It should be understood as a summary of apostolic teaching.
The creed is an early witness to the apostolic teaching, and not an attempt to attribute a later document to the apostolic era. This can be seen from its development from the so-called Old Roman Creed that was used during baptisms, which can be dated from the middle of the second century (about 140) in Greek and in Latin around 390. The Old Roman Creed featured the main tenets of