What is the Meaning of Apostolic?

Apostolic - Say What?

The Nicene Creed uses a curious word. Apostolic.

"One holy catholic and apostolic church." So, what is the meaning of apostolic?

The shorter Creed known as the Apostle's Creed doesn't use the word regarding the church. It simply says, "The holy catholic church."

So what does Apostolic really mean?

Simply put… Apostolic refers to the fact that the church and it's doctrines (core beliefs) were established by the 12 Apostles (plus Paul) who were appointed and commissioned by Jesus.

There is great evidence for this throughout the New Testament.

In what is called the Great Commission, Jesus charged his disciples,

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV).

That the Apostles had a unique authority to teach and build the church's foundation is clear throughout the New Testament.

For example, in Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul states,

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Emphasis mine).

So, when the Nicene Creed calls the church "Apostolic," it simply refers to the Universal (catholic) church which was established by Christ and built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.