Sometimes we don’t see ourselves as part of an unbroken line of faith. Instead, we see our interpretations of the Bible as independent of anyone else’s interpretation and of any other Christian’s beliefs. Yet, history tells us that when we have those feelings and interpretations that we’re incorrect. The very beliefs that we take for granted as being the only interpretation of a Biblical passage are often the more nuanced discussion of Christians almost two millennia before us. How can we learn and become better Christians from that? This is the idea that sparked Michael F. Bird’s journey through the Apostles’ Creed in What Christians Ought to Believe: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine Through The Apostles’ Creed.
In this book, Bird first makes a very strong argument for what the creeds are and why they’re important to our beliefs. He points out Biblical examples of creeds, discusses the development of scripture and theology alongside the creeds and explains how our Christian faith can be enhanced using the Christian creeds. Then, in the main body of the book, Bird takes each part of The Apostles’ Creed apart and explores it line by line in reference as to what it means to Christian theology and how through the Apostles’ Creed we can find a key to our faith.
This is really a beautifully written book, and I found that it brings meaning to a creed that I truly love. I know that many people who I associate with have no use for the Christian creeds, but I think it’s as meaningful an encapsulation of our beliefs as the Lord’s Prayer is for us as an index prayer. This is a basic book of instructional theology, and it’s a good refresher for any Christian. (I took many notes of verses and ideas that I want to explore.) However, as a homeschooling mom, I find that it would also be an excellent high school level textbook for my children as part of their Biblical studies in their Junior or Senior year. It would also be good for most mainline denominations to use for introductory theology courses for laypeople.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.