The Nicene and Apostles' Creeds

The Nicene and Apostles' Creeds

A closer look at these two creeds helps define what Christians believe.

Many Christians throughout the world recite either the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed regularly in their church services. Following is a short history and recitation of each creed. You may find these surprisingly useful in your small groups, especially as a way to clarify and open discussion on the basics of Christian doctrine.

The Nicene Creed

In the first three centuries, the church was often forced into secrecy and seclusion. As a result, it was fraught with theological disputes, especially concerning the divinity of Jesus Christ.

When Constantine won control of the Roman Empire in 312 A.D., he elevated Christianity to favored status. He soon discovered the fractured state of the church and what it believed. To bring unity, he convened a council in the year 325 that met in the city of Nicaea. Out of that convention came the Nicene Creed, which is still a standard of belief for many Christian churches.

Below is the 1975 ecumenical version agreed upon by the International Consultation on English Texts (ICET), published in the book Prayers We Have in Common.

Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ...

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