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 verbally.
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 regarding teachers and scripters, which were false. The two most popular and commonly used creeds of western Christianity—are 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 principles to be recited at different events.
The decision on which creed to recite depends on the appointed church leaders.
- The Apostles’ Creed is an early Christian statement of faith, traditionally believed to have been composed by the twelve apostles, outlining core Christian beliefs.
- The Nicene Creed is a more detailed statement of faith, adopted by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, addressing specific theological controversies and further clarifying Christian doctrine.
- Both the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed are foundational Christian creeds, but the Apostles’ Creed is an earlier and simpler statement of faith. At the same time, the Nicene Creed provides more detailed theological explanations.
Apostles Creed vs Nicene Creed
The difference between the 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.
|Parameters of Comparison||Apostles Creed||Nicene Creed|
|Purpose||The Apostles Creed is used during the baptism.||The Nicene Creed is mainly associated with the death of Jesus Christ.|
|Wording||It begins with “I believe.”||It uses “We believe.”|
|History||The Apostles Creed is the older of the two.||Nicene Creed came into existence after the Apostles Creed.|
|Origin||It 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.|
|Language||In 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 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. The Apostolic is a declaration of belief used by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant churches.
Theologians or the apostles do not originate from the Apostles’ Creed. However, it was prepared by them and came from what occurred in historic times.
The word’ catholic’ was used in the early version of the Creed. 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 not part of the creed in its original form.
The current text and context of the Apostle’s creed are similar to the baptismal creed. The church used the baptismal creed 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.
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 adopted in the city called Nicaea in Turkey; hence, the word ‘Nicene’ was used.
Nicaea is the present-day Iznik.
In the church’s history, the Nicene Creed is regarded as one of the most popular and influential creeds. It helped solve the question of how Christians could believe in one God and 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, the bishop of that time, for negligence in not focusing on the difference between the nature of God the Father, and the Son.
When the dispute came to light, Alexander blamed Arius for publicly refusing the divinity of God the Son. Also, he blamed him for being too Greekish and Jewish in his thoughts.
Only after this did Alexander and his promoters go forward to start the Nicene Creed to let out transparency in the critical principles of Christian belief.
Main Differences Between Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed
- The Apostles Creed is the older of the two Creeds, as the church took it up before the middle of the 2nd century. On the other hand, The Nicene Creed was adopted in 325 by the Council of Nicaea.
- The Apostles Creed is used in baptism, while the Nicene Creed is mainly linked with the death of Jesus Christ.
- The wording in both creeds is different. The Apostles Creed starts with “I believe”, whereas the Nicene Creed uses “We believe.”
- The words “descended into hell” are used in the Apostles Creed but not in the Nicene Creed.
- The Apostles’ Creed arises from its authority because it is a faithful summary of the Apostles’ faith and also as an ancient baptismal symbol, whereas On the Nicene Creed arises from its authority from the fact that it came from the first two ecumenical councils.
- The Apostles Creed’s earlier manuscripts are Latin, whereas the Nicene Creed is Greek.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.