The Nicene Creed (A.D. 325)
We believe in one God, the Father, Ruler of All,
Maker of all things visible and invisible;
And we believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
Begotten of the Father as only begotten,
That is, from the essence of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
Begotten, not created, of the same essence as the Father,
Through whom all things came into being, both in heaven and in earth;
Who for us and for our salvation came down,
And was incarnate, being made a man.
He suffered and the third day he rose.
And he ascended into the heavens.
And he will come to judge the living and the dead.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit. Amen.
History of the Nicene Creed
What do you say when someone asks, “Who is Jesus Christ?” Maybe you answer, “Jesus is the Word who became flesh and died for sins once for all before God raised him from the dead on the third day”(John 1, 1Peter 3, Acts 10). If this is your response, you join Christians who, throughout the centuries, have summarized their faith to proclaim the Gospel and to ensure that teaching in the church is thoroughly Biblical. These summaries are often called “creeds.”
You may already be familiar with the Apostles’ Creed, but the Nicene Creed of AD 325 is less well known. Its origin is interesting. A preacher named Arius began to teach false doctrine such as: 1) God the Father alone is God; 2) Jesus Christ is a created being; and 3) there was a time when Christ did not exist. About 220 elders gathered in the town of Nicaea (in modern-day Turkey) to address Arius’ false teaching.
They wrote a brief statement, using biblical wording, to clarify that Christians believe Jesus Christ is fully God, and that those who believe and teach anything less lack Biblical faith. We have omitted one paragraph that condemns a particular false teaching of the time.