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The Nicene Creed

A creed is a summary of Christian Faith written by the church in order to confess clearly what it believes.  The Nicene Creed was originally written in 325 A.D. (in Greek) when the Roman Emperor Constantine called together the Council of Nicaea (in Asia Minor) to address the fragmented character of the Christian church--a church fragmented primarily because of disputes over whether or not Jesus Christ was fully God. It was expanded to the current text at Constantinople in 381 A.D.  The contemporary translation of the Nicene Creed adopted by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was completed by an ecumenical body, the English Language Liturgical Consultation in 1987.

Fresh translation of liturgical forms, including the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, began with the work of the International Consultation on English Texts [ICET]. The ecumenical, international work of ICET culminated in the publication of Prayers We Have in Common (1970, 1971, 1975). The foreword to Prayers We Have in Common observed, "There has also been a growing realization that, at least in regard to those prayers common to all Christian confessions, this work should not be done independently by the various Churches, but should be done by them together."

The ecumenical body working on these translations followed a number of guidelines:

1. In order to avoid pastoral disruption, only necessary changes should be made.
2. Sensitivity should be shown to the need for inclusive language.
3. The revision should be made bearing in mind that these texts are for use in the liturgical assembly. The ease with which they can be said, heard, and sung is an essential element of the revision.
4. The revision should use language that is contemporary and suited to the present version of the ICET texts.

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Full Text of Translation Resource Paper

The Special Committee on the Nicene Creed was created by the 209th General Assembly (1997) and reported to the 210th General Assembly (1998), recommending that the Book of Confessions be amended to replace the older translation of the Nicene Creed with a contemporary translation. The Special Committee lifted up six specific reasons for adopting the contemporary translation:

"1. Confessions are not merely historical documents; when used in worship, reflection, and discipline, they are living documents and need contemporary language.
"2. For purposes of teaching, the contemporary translation is a more faithful rendering of the original Greek text and solves some significant linguistic problems in the older English version.

"3. The Nicene Creed serves as a common symbol for churches around the world. It is the only creed shared across all the divisions of the church. It is the premier ecumenical creed and should be presented in the most agreed upon ecumenical version.

"4. The Nicene Creed may help renew Trinitarian theology in the church and could be a fountainhead for reflection on the doctrine of the Trinity.

"5. The creed can be a unifying point in our diverse multicultural, multiethnic context.

"6. The creed was the last common defense of the gospel by the whole Church."

"The Special Committee concluded that the ancient ecumenical creeds and A Brief Statement of Faith are intended for liturgical use and thus require contemporary language in a way that the other documents in The Book of Confessions do not. Furthermore, since the Nicene Creed is used ecumenically and in our own Book of Common Worship in Eucharistic services, its language should be as accessible as possible."

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Report by the Special Committee

The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed
A Resource Prepared by the Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Latin | Greek Texts

The 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 and for our salvation
         he came down from heaven,
         was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
         and became truly human.
         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 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.

Copyright ©1999 by the Office of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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Traditional Translation

We 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 Spirit 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 shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, 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 spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

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Other Translations

 

International Consultation on English Texts translation (as printed in)
The Lutheran Book of Worship
The Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal)

English Language Liturgical Commission translation

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 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 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.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He 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. 

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 and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
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 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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1 in Faith: A Christian Bible Study Copyright © 2000 by Robert Traer