The deposit of the faith was handed on to new Christians via “formulas, prayers, hymns, and rules of faith delivered orally“. The Apostles’ Creed predates the Nicene Creed and was in use by the second century. I found an interesting article at Catholic Answers about the Creed and the Scriptures (which, for quite a while in the Early Church, consisted of the Old Testament, the Epistles of Saint Paul being the earliest writings of the New Testament in about the year 50 AD or a little earlier, and portions of these rules and formulas can be found in his epistles). See also another article at The Catholic Thing about the creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian).
The Apostles’ Creed
“I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
He descended into hell;
on the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Image: Adoration of the Trinity (Landauer Altar), by Albrecht Dürer. Google Art Project, Wikimedia. Public domain.
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