Difference Between Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed (With Table)

The early Christians used Creeds in two ways. First, in societies where illiteracy prevailed, speaking, and learning of creeds made way for things to be taught in a verbal manner. When catechumens prepared for baptism, they would have to recite the creed during the event, after hearing speeches on a creed-like synopsis of the Christian belief.

Secondly, Scripture was identified and explained using creeds in regards to teachers and scripters which were not true. The two most popular and commonly used creeds of western Christianity—the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed.

The Apostles and Nicene Creeds are both ancient creeds tracing back to the origination of the church. The church has chosen the two creeds to be recited on different events. The decision on which creed to recite depends totally on the appointed church leaders.

Apostles Creed vs Nicene Creed

The difference between Apostles and Nicene Creeds is that the Apostles’ Creed is used during Baptism while the Nicene Creed is mainly linked with the death of Jesus Christ. It is recited in the course of Lent and Easter.

 

Comparison Table Between Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonApostles CreedNicene Creed
PurposeThe Apostles Creed is used during the baptism.The Nicene Creed is mainly associated with the death of Jesus Christ.
WordingIt begins with “I believe.”It uses “We believe.”
HistoryThe Apostles Creed is the older of the two.Nicene Creed came into existence after the Apostles Creed.
OriginIt was drawn and adopted by the early church before the middle of the 2nd century.This was created in 325 by the Council of Nicaea.
LanguageIn the beginning, the manuscripts were written in Latin.It was produced in Greek.

 

What is Apostles Creed?

The oldest creed of the Christian church is known to be the Apostles Creed. It was the basis for the other creeds that came after.

The Apostle’s Creed is widely accepted in the Christian church. It is called the Apostolicum and is a declaration belief that is currently used by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant churches.

The Apostles’ Creed is not originated by theologians or the apostles. However, it was prepared by them and it came from what actually occurred in historic times.

In the early version of the Creed, the word ‘catholic’ was used. It means ‘relating to the church universal’ which further means the church, the body of Christ, as an all-embracing companionship. “He descended into hell,” was a phrase used in it, but it was a not part of the creed in its original form.

The current text and context of the Apostles creed are similar to the baptismal creed. The baptismal creed was used in the church during the 3rd and 4th centuries in Rome. Later in the 6th and 7th centuries, the creed reached its concluding form in the Southwest region of France.

The creed slowly replaced the existing baptismal creeds and was acknowledged as an official statement of belief by the whole Catholic church in the West. Up to the present moment, many Protestant churches broadly believe in the creed.

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What is Nicene Creed?

Another name for the Nicene Creed is Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed. The Creed follows a century-old traditional belief of the old Christian church disregarding some heresies, especially Arianism.

The Nicene Creed is a broadly used statement of faith, mainly related to Christian worship. The creed was actually adopted in the city called Nicaea in Turkey and hence the word ‘Nicene’ was used. Nicaea is the present-day Iznik.

In the history of the church, the Nicene Creed is regarded as one of the most popular and powerful creeds. It helped in solving the question of how Christians could believe in one God and also state that this God is three persons.

The Nicene creed was mainly embraced to settle the Arian controversy. The dispute was guided by one clergyman of Alexandria, Arius. He opposed Alexander’s, the bishop of that time, negligence to not focus on the difference existing between the nature of God the Father, and the Son.

When the dispute came to light, Alexander blamed Arius of publicly refusing the divinity of God the Son. Also, he blamed him for being too Greekish and Jewish in his thoughts. It was only after this that Alexander and his promoters went forward to start the Nicene Creed in order to let out transparency in the key principles of the Christian belief.

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Main Differences Between Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed

  1. The Apostles Creed is the older of the two Creeds as it was taken up by the church even before the middle of the 2nd century.  On the other hand, The Nicene Creed was adopted in 325 by the Council of Nicaea.
  2. The Apostles Creed is used in baptism while the Nicene Creed is mainly linked with the death of Jesus Christ.
  3. The wording in both the creeds is different. The Apostles Creed starts with “I believe” whereas the Nicene Creed uses “We believe.”
  4. The words “descended into hell” are used in the Apostles Creed but are not used in the Nicene Creed.
  5. The Apostles’ Creed arises its authority from that fact that is a faithful summary of the Apostles’ faith and also as an ancient baptismal symbol, whereas On the Nicene Creed arises its authority from the fact that it came from the first two ecumenical councils.
  6. The Apostles Creed’s earlier manuscripts are in Latin whereas for the Nicene Creed it was in Greek.

 

Conclusion

Despite having differences, the two creeds mostly serve the same purposes. Both are broadly accepted as statements proclaiming a belief by Christians. The Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed both include the word ‘Creed’ which means ‘I believe’ and both are used to pray and connect with God.

The reasons as to why they were both created were to solve different problems which bring out different wordings.

References

  1. https://www.intoxicatedonlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/David-Scaer.pdf
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/harvard-theological-review/article/christianity-before-the-apostles-creed/D945133EB233A38406938186E9FB3E73

Last update on 2021-11-23 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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