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Jesus Christ Pantocrater

The Nicene Creed

The Council of Nicea, convened by Constantine in 325, generated the first version of the Nicene Creed. Estimates differ concerning the number of bishops present. This gathering was called "Council of the Three Hundred and Eighteen," reportedly that was the number of bishops who attended. The creed has only 220 signatures however.

The gathering rejected the teaching of Arius. Parts of the Nicene Creed directly refute the Arian heresy. For example, the words "begotten, not made" address Arius' argument that Jesus was a "creature." The difference between a child (from the being of God) and a creature (made from nothing) was at the center of the controversy.

The Council of Constantinople (381) made some minor changes to the creed. It was reaffirmed at the Council of Chalcedon (451).

Following are two versions of the creed, a modern one from the United Methodist Hymnal and a traditional version (in use by Christians since 1549) from the Methodist Hymnal (1964). The older version includes lines which uses words like "substance" that echo more exactly theological words that were used in the Arian controversy.

The Nicene Creed

United Methodist Hymnal

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 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.

This translation is the version in the current (1989) United Methodist Hymnal.

The Nicene Creed


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 his 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,
through 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 shall 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.

This translation is the version in the Methodist Hymnal of 1964. It has been re-formatted from prose to poetic style to follow the style of the version in the current hymnal and the more traditional way of publishing this creed.

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