Quick overview

Enhance your understanding of the Christian faith by viewing doctrine through a small, but powerful, lens: the Apostles' Creed.

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Download a free chapter, "Christian Creeds for Beginners."

key Quotes

"No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible." The irony, of course, is that those
words are not found in the Bible.

Inasmuch as we all have a "tradition," the creeds arguably provide the best tradition within which to read Scripture.

Creeds are in fact found in the Bible! There are a number of passages in the Old and New Testaments that have a creedal function. In Deuteronomy, we find the Shema, Israel’s most concise confession of its faith in one God [Deut 6:4–5].

Jesus, Paul, and the first Christians were creedal believers simply by virtue of the fact that they were Jewish and lived within the orbit of Jewish beliefs about God, the covenant, and the future.

The Apostles’ Creed is the faith that all professing Christians should know, what all pastors and priests should teach, and what all bishops and theologians should defend.


Modern Christians have often hesitated to embrace the ancient creeds because of our “nothing but the Bible” tradition. In What Christians Ought to Believe Michael Bird opens our eyes to the possibilities of the Apostle’s Creed as a way to explore and understand the basic teachings of the Christian faith.

Bringing together theological commentary, tips for application, and memorable illustrations, What Christians Ought to Believe summarizes the basic tenets of the Christian faith using the Apostle’s Creed as its entryway. After first emphasizing the importance of creeds for the formation of the Christian faith, each chapter, following the Creed’s outline, introduces the Father, the Son, and the Spirit and the Church. An appendix includes the Apostles’ Creed in the original Latin and Greek.

What Christians Ought to Believe is ideally suited for both the classroom and the church setting to teach beginning students and laypersons the basics of what Christians ought to affirm if they are to be called Christians.

table of contents

The Apostles' Creed

1. Christian Creeds for Beginners
2. Why You Need the Creed
3. I Believe
4. Believing in the Father
5. Believing in the Son—Divine and Human
6. Believing in the Son—Messiah and Lord
7. Believing in the Virgin Birth
8. Believing in the Cross—The Offence of the Cross
9. Believing in the Cross—The Victory of the Cross
10. Believing That Jesus Lives
11. Believing That Jesus Reigns
12. Believing in the Spirit
13. Belonging to the Church
14. Believing in Salvation, Waiting for God’s New World

Appendix: Early Texts and Traditions Associated with the Apostles' Creed


"Thank you, Michael Bird, for a fresh exposition of this classic expression of our Christian faith. Thank you for reminding us of what too many Protestants, evangelicals no less than liberals, have forgotten: creeds matter!"

TIMOTHY GEORGE, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford
University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture.

"He writes in a colorful, accessible, and engaging way even though he is a scholar of epic proportions; he writes to regular people like me. I’m going to take the staff of Transformation Church through What Christians Ought to Believe and I will use it to introduce new Christians to the faith."

DERWIN L. GRAY, Lead Pastor, Transformation Church; author of The High
Definition Leader: Building Multiethnic Churches in a Multiethnic World.

"The genius of this book is the way in which it makes profound truth a pleasure to read. The general reader will be both engaged and richly encouraged by Bird’s winsome exploration of the Apostles’ Creed. His direct and even chatty style makes you feel as if you are visiting an ancient cathedral in the company of a friendly and yet knowledgeable tour guide. I would commend What Christians Ought to Believe to study groups and to individual Christians looking to deepen not just their knowledge of the Christian faith but their knowledge of the triune God."

REV DR. MICHAEL P. JENSEN, St Mark’s Anglican Church, Sydney

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