Biblical Reference: Psalm 121
Tune: Franz Joseph Haydn, 1797 ("Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken") (MIDI)
Text: Copyright © 1998 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Copied from Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today's Worship by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (Geneva Press, 2000).
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com/
Hymn Use Permission: Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today's Worship by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (Geneva Press, 2000) includes a permission note for those who own this book to use this hymn (along with the 44 other new hymns in the book) in their local church's worship services. People who do not own Gifts of Love are asked to contact Carolyn (email@example.com) for permission to use the hymn and to get a copy of the hymn formatted for worship bulletin use.
Learn More about the Apostles' Creed
"I Believe" was written to remind people of this ancient statement of faith by offering it as a hymn of faith. The Study Catechism of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PDF file) offers new contemporary insights to the continuing relevancy of the Apostles' Creed for today (see Study Catechism's questions 5 — 88). A number of recent books offer many helpful insights into this creed that is affirmed by Christians from a variety of traditions. Consider adding the following books to your personal and church libraries, and offering them to your public library (there they have the potential of touching the lives of people you might never meet).
The wonderful theologian Shirley Guthrie wrote this about the Apostles' Creed in the preface of Justo L. González's The Apostles' Creed for Today (pages xi- xii):
"Sunday after Sunday the minister or worship leader says, 'Let us stand and say what we believe, using the words of the Apostles' Creed.'
Some members of the congregation find it very meaningful to recite these old familiar words, remembering that fellow Christians of many church traditions have been confessing them for almost two thousand years, and knowing that this very day all over the world, in all the languages of the world, fellow Christians will say the Creed as they gather for worship.
Others will recite the Creed mechanically, without giving much thought to the content and meaning of what they are saying.
Then there are some newer and also older Christians and church members who are not sure that they can honestly affirm what the Creed says. They either repeat the words with a guilty conscience, simply stand there silent, or perhaps edit the Creed to recite some statements and delete others. They have questions and reservations...
Should I say these words when I do not understand what they mean or why they are important, and when I am pretty sure I do not agree with some of them?
Why do we need this or any other creed anyway? Shouldn't we look to God's Word in the Bible rather than to some ancient or modern human words from the church to find out what we are to believe and do?
This ancient creed may have made sense and been helpful a long time ago, but it is pretty irrelevant for people in the modern world...
Isn't it just 'official' statements of Christian orthodoxy that divide the church into self-righteous, arrogant, warring parties certain that their understanding of Christian faith and life is right and any one who disagrees with them is wrong? Isn't it just 'orthodox' Christianity, Judaism, and Islam that cause much of the worldwide conflict...?
This book is especially for Christians who struggle with questions like these. Not because they are doubters or heretics who need to be converted to the traditional faith of the church expressed in the Apostles' Creed but because the church needs them. It needs their disturbing questions that invite all of us to take as seriously as they the decision we are called to make when we stand to say 'I believe...'"
The Apostles' Creed for Today by Justo L. González is one of the newest books (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007) on the creed. This gifted church historian and theologian shows the creed's meaning for today with discussion questions at the end of each chapter.
A Christian Primer: The Prayer, the Creed, the Commandments by Albert Curry Winn (Westminster John Knox Press, 1990) is a very readable book filled with new insights into the pillars of the faith: The Lord's Prayer, The Apostles' Creed, and The Ten Commandments. Carolyn has given this book to new members in her church.
Exploring and Proclaiming the Apostles' Creed edited by Roger E. Van Harn (Eerdmans, 2004) is a rich collection of essays by top theologians from diverse backgrounds on each part of the creed followed by sermons of outstanding preachers.
"I Believe": Exploring the Apostles' Creed by Alister E. McGrath (InterVarsity Press, 1998) is a popular evangelical writer's examination of how this traditional statement of faith speaks to Christians today.
The Apostles' Creed by William Barclay (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998) offers biblical insights about the creed by this popular writer of Daily Study Bible commentaries on the New Testament.
The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters by Luke Timothy Johnson (Image, 2004) is a wonderful, ecumenical explanation of the Nicene Creed by a top Roman Catholic scholar who teaches the New Testament at a United Methodist seminary (Emory).