The Apostles’ Creed: He Descended Into Hell…

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WEEK 3, DAY 3: He Descended Into Hell…

The Apostles’ Creed has been regularly used since around 390 AD. During the first 1,000-1,500 years, there wasn’t much controversy surrounding the Creed or any of its Articles. 

But this has all changed over the past couple hundred years or so, as the line “He descended into hell…” has been scrutinized by many biblical scholars. One theologian, Wayne Grudem, wrote an article in 1991 titled, He Did Not Descend into Hell: A Plea for Following Scripture Instead of the Apostles’ Creed.”

Other scholars, however, note that the intention of the phrase was to say that Jesus descended to the dead and the Creed was written using the vernacular of its time. For example, in his book titled, “He Descended to the Dead,” Matthew Emerson argues that Jesus couldn’t be be raised from the dead if he didn’t first descend to the dead. 

Is this just semantics, or does it really matter? Here are a couple things to keep in mind: 

  • What you believe does matter, and it’s good to think about what you believe and where those beliefs come from. 
  • This statement in the Apostles’ Creed is interesting, but is not an essential belief for salvation. 


     1 PETER 3:18-22

The Life Application Study Bible notes on this passage: “… While some Bible passages, such as this one, may remain unclear, we can discover certain truths from them along with the context of the rest of Scripture. In this passage, we discover that: (1) God speaks. While we puzzle over what, where, and how, we can see that God is communicating to the world. (2) God triumphs. Christ victoriously preached, indicating his power, control, and transcendence over all creation. (3) God saves. God exerts himself to rescue those who desire him. This mysterious passage tells us at least this much—and that is much indeed.

Why do you think it may be a good idea to wrestle with the meaning of hard-to-understand Scripture passages such as this one?


Today, write out your own prayer to God.


F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: 1 Kings 2

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?


Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.



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