Overview of the Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed Is a Comprehensive Expression of the Christian Faith

First Council of Nicaea
Public Domain

The Nicene Creed is the most widely accepted statement of faith among Christian churches. It is used by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and most Protestant churches.

The Nicene Creed was established to identify conformity of beliefs among Christians, as a means of recognizing heresy or deviations from orthodox biblical doctrines, and as a public profession of faith.

Origins of the Nicene Creed

The original Nicene Creed was adopted at the First Council of Nicaea in 325. The council was called together by the Roman Emperor Constantine I and came to be known as the first ecumenical conference of bishops for the Christian Church.

In 381, the Second Ecumenical Council of Christian churches added the balance of the text (except for the words "and from the Son"). This version is still used today by Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches. In the same year, 381, the Third Ecumenical Council formally reaffirmed the version and declared that no further changes could be made, nor could any other creeds be adopted.

The Roman Catholic Church made the addition of the words "and from the Son" to the description of the Holy Spirit. Roman Catholics refer to the Nicene Creed as the "symbol of faith." In the Catholic Mass, it is also called the "Profession of Faith." For more about the origins of the Nicene Creed visit the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Along with the Apostles' Creed, most Christians today regard the Nicene Creed as the most comprehensive expression of the Christian faith, with it often being recited in worship services. Some evangelical Christians, however, reject the Creed, specifically its recitation, not for its content, but simply because it is not found in the Bible.

The Nicene Creed

Traditional Version (From the Book of Common Prayer)

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty​
Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds;
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God;
begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father,
by Whom all things were made:
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man:
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried:
And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures:
And ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father:
And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead:
Whose Kingdom will have no end:

And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Life,
Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified,
Who spake by the Prophets.
And I believe in One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church,
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.
And I look for the Resurrection of the Dead:
And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

Contemporary Version (Prepared by the International Consultation on English Texts)

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, one in Being with the Father.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

By the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered, died and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father (and the Son)
Who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
Who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

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Fairchild, Mary. "Overview of the Nicene Creed." Learn Religions, Apr. 5, 2023, learnreligions.com/the-nicene-creed-700366. Fairchild, Mary. (2023, April 5). Overview of the Nicene Creed. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/the-nicene-creed-700366 Fairchild, Mary. "Overview of the Nicene Creed." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/the-nicene-creed-700366 (accessed June 10, 2023).