The Apostle’s Creed: “Credo”

When we recited the Apostles’ Creed last week, you may have noticed that the words “I believe” were nowhere to be found. The reason for that is that we’re using an updated translation that translated the original Latin word “credo” of the creed as “I commit myself,” “I set my heart upon,” and “I place my trust in.”

The best concise explanation I can find for this change comes from church historian Diana Butler Bass:

“To believe” in Latin (the shaping language for much of Western theological thought) is opinor, opinari, meaning “opinion,” which was not typically a religious word. Instead, Latin used credo, “I set my heart upon” or “I give my loyalty to,” as the word to describe religious “believing,” that is, “faith.” In medieval English, the concept of credo was translated as “believe,” meaning roughly the same thing as its German cousin belieben, “to prize, treasure, or hold dear,” which comes from the root word Liebe, “love.” Thus, in early English, to “believe” was to “belove” something or someone as an act or trust or loyalty. [1]

[1] Diana Butler Bass, Christianity after Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2013), Kindle, 117.