In a previous discussion concerning creeds, I have argued that so-called creeds in the NT do not have their origin in man, but in God. This brief remark to give context needs to be further developed, but I hope you find the words below stimulating for further study.

RON – Herein is the problem: the so-called “proto-creedal statements” did not “originate from God, but from men.” This is, in effect, a veiled way of calling Paul a liar, for he expressly stated that he received that which he taught directly from God and not man (Galatians 1:11-12). “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Either what Paul said was (is) true, or it is not? Ian, effectively said it is not true. Paul did not receive from God that which he wrote, but incorporated what man said “into his inspired writings.”

I thought I would look into this further, that is, look and see if it can be historically demonstrated that “creedal statements” predate the New Testament. There is a caveat to this. Predating the writings of the New Testament is not that same as predating the revelation of God’s message to His chosen who penned the New Testament. It is the latter that I am investigating, not the former.

  • The early church formulated creeds – even before the books of the New Testament were written – and used them to proclaim and share the faith. A creed (from the Latin “credo” which means: “I believe”) is a memorized statement which was declared, shared and passed between believers at early church meetings. Many of the creeds were incorporated into the New Testament books; some as early as the gospels but others in apostolic letters. (http://www.evidencesforchristianity.org/new-testament-creeds.html)
  • The writers of scripture (and the first leaders of the church) valued these statements enough to document them for all time, and they understood their value to the Christian community.

In a comment related to perceived creedal statements in 1 Timothy 3:16 and Philippians 2:5-11, the author writes in regard to their inclusion in the New Testament: “This is because these two passages are perhaps the earliest of creeds (statements of belief). Scholars and historians believe these creeds were either introduced to readers so they could recite them in the context of their group meetings, or were recorded by Paul because they were already being used.” (http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/the-importance-and-early-use-of-creeds/)

Thus far, in both of these websites, there is no evidence that New Testament writers took the words of man and made them “inspired of God.”

There is an analysis of 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 that seems to better attempt to speak of the origin of a creedal statement (https://carm.org/analysis-pre-pauline-creed-1-corinthians-151-11). Yet, in the evidence put forth, there is no addressing of the words of Paul in Galatians 1:11-12. There is something close, but no actual addressing. The author of this web article argues for Pauline authorship of 1 Corinthians, but the “creed” cited is one that he gained via apostolic tradition, and not directly from the Lord, as Paul declares that he did when he preached.

  • Orr agrees, “Here the correlation with delivered in vs. 3 points to a chain of tradition: Paul received the facts that he is relating from Christians who preceded him, and in turn he delivered them to the people of his churches.” (10) 1 Corinthians 11 contains a similar example using the same words “received” and “delivered.”  This indicates that 1 Corinthians 15 is not the only example of Paul using traditional material in his epistles.
  • Not only do scholars suspect that Paul is referring to a creed in these few verses, but they almost unanimously argue it predates Paul.
  • Thus, it seems quite likely that the creed could have its origin in the Palestinian setting, but it was definitely the developed form that Paul received. … Craigs [sic] argues that the creed has its basis in Jerusalem, but it was the developed, Hellenized form that Paul received in Damascus. This argument serves to synthesize the Jerusalem and Hellenistic influence.  Therefore, one should date the creed to approximately 33-38 C.E.

What did Paul say in 1 Corinthians 15? That which Paul taught the Corinthians was the gospel; it was received by him from a source not indicated in the 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 section. It is assumed that Paul received it from people, but Paul says nothing of the sort. That he did receive it is without dispute, but his source is not indicated. In a footnote to a discussion point relative to the origin of the so-called creedal statement, the author mentions that linguistic studies alone cannot pinpoint origin.

Though Paul mentions nothing concerning the origin of the words he wrote, this does not stop others from speculating.

  • Second, since the creed shows Hellenistic influence, it is likely that Paul received it for kerygmatic (preaching) purposes in a Greek speaking environment.
  • The most likely location where Paul received the creed is Jerusalem.

If the passage under discussion as “creedal” indicators, that will be because the Lord set forth what Paul was to teach, and he taught it. That which he taught did not come from man. thus, those who assert that what Paul said in regard to “creedal” remarks have to contend with Paul’s own words concerning the origin of his words.


An assertion that creeds existed before the New Testament was written (http://www.evidencesforchristianity.org/new-testament-creeds.html)

Analysis of pre-Pauline creed in 1 Corinthians 15 (https://carm.org/analysis-pre-pauline-creed-1-corinthians-151-11)

IMPORTANCE OF EARLY CREEDS IN New Testament (http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/the-importance-and-early-use-of-creeds/)