English versions of the Nicene Creed

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Nicene Creed, composed in part and adopted at the First Council of Nicaea (325) and revised with additions by the First Council of Constantinople (381), is a creed that summarizes the orthodox faith of the Christian Church and is used in the liturgy of most Christian Churches. This article endeavors to give the text and context of English-language translations.

Versions in current liturgical use[edit]

Ecumenical versions[edit]

1975 ecumenical version (ICET)[edit]

The International Consultation on English Texts published an English translation of the Nicene Creed, first in 1970 and then in successive revisions in 1971 and 1975. These texts were adopted by several churches. The Roman Catholic Church in the United States, which adopted the 1971 version in 1973, and the Catholic Church in other English-speaking countries, which in 1975 adopted the version published in that year, continued to use them until 2011. The 1975 version was included in the 1979 Episcopal Church (United States) Book of Common Prayer, though with one variation: in the line "For us men and for our salvation", it omitted the word "men":

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.

Episcopal Church Book of Common Prayer (1979), The Book of Common Prayer. New York: Church Publishing Incorporated. 2007. pp. 326–327. Retrieved 2013-02-18. 

1988 ecumenical version (ELLC)[edit]

The English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC), the successor body to ICET, published in 1988 the book Praying Together, which included a revision of the 1975 ICET text. Variations of this text are gaining acceptance among mainline Protestant churches: it is used by the Methodist Church with little if any change, and by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Other denominations use it with modifications that vary between the churches: see, for instance, the discussion within The ELLC Texts: A Survey of Use and Variation, which does not include recent use of the ELLC text by the ELCA in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).

Observation on the 1988 version[edit]

"For us men and for our salvation" has been the usual translation of "δι' ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν". The 1988 ELLC ecumenical version omits the word "men", corresponding to "τοὺς ἀνθρώπους". Instead of simply omitting the word "men", some replace it with the word "all", equivalent to replacing "τοὺς ἀνθρώπους" with "πάντας".

In the original Greek text, "τοὺς ἀνθρώπους" (tous anthropous), usually translated as "men", is unambiguous, since "ἄνθρωποι" (anthropoi) means human beings, while "ἄνδρες" (andres) means male human beings, as opposed to "γυναῖκες" (gynaikes), female human beings.

Reduction of the phrase "for us men" to "for us" or "for us all" has been criticized[1] as ambiguous and capable of being understood to refer merely to the members of the congregation reciting the creed. Omission of the word "men" is felt to be in harmony with the notion of limited atonement, as opposed to that of universal atonement seen as implicit in the phrase when translated with the word "men" (understood in the inclusive sense of this word).

The 1988 ecumenical version also renders "ἐνανθρωπήσαντα" (for which the usual and more literal translation is "was made man" or "became man") as "became truly human", avoiding again the word "man".

Catholic Church[edit]

Roman Rite[edit]

The translation for use in Mass of the Roman Rite is found in the Order of Mass.

Current Roman Catholic version (2011)[edit]
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day 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.
I 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 adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.[2][3][4]

Ruthenian Catholic Church[edit]

The Ruthenian Catholic Church, a sui iuris Eastern Catholic Church, uses a text which may be found on their website.[5]

Oriental Orthodox Churches[edit]

Coptic Orthodox Church[edit]

The text used by the Coptic Orthodox Church:

In truth we believe in one God, God the Father the Pantocrator, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things came into being. This is he, who for us humans and our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became human. And he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried. And he rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. He ascended into the heavens and sits at the right hand of the Father. And he is also coming in his glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end. Yes, we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father. With the Father and the Son, we co-worship him and we co-glorify him, who spoke by the prophets. And in one holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. Amen.[citation needed]

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church[edit]

The text used by the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church may be found at their website.[6]

Eastern Orthodox Churches[edit]

The text used by the Orthodox Church in America may be found at their website.[7]

The text used by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America may be found at their website.[8]

The text used by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America may be found at their website.[9]

The text used by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is:[10]
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 Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light: true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried; And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures; And ascended into the heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; And shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life; Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the prophets. In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, And the life of the age to come. Amen.

Anglican Communion[edit]

The 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America version has the 1975 ecumenical (ICET) version (see above).[11] The version in the Church of England's Common Worship of 2000 is the 1988 ecumenical (ELLC) version.[12] The Anglican Church of Canada's Book of Alternative Services (1985) uses the 1975 ICET version, but unusually, it omits the Filioque ("and the Son") phrase in accordance with the 1978 Lambeth Conference Statement, and the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Commission.[13] But in many churches of the Anglican Communion the version in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is still the one in use:

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,
By 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 one Catholick and Apostolick 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.[14]

Lutheran churches[edit]

The version in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) is the 1988 ecumenical (ELLC) version. But the Lutheran Service Book (2006) of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) uses that of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with slight changes, substituting the word "catholic" with "Christian" and modernizing the spelling of the word "apostolic", with changes in capitalization of this and other words, and with "Holy Spirit" in place of "Holy Ghost".[15]

Presbyterian churches[edit]

The Trinity Hymnal of 1990, published by the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, contains a translation which is used by those denominations and some others.[16]

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) uses a slightly different version as subscribed in their Book of Confessions.[17]

Liturgical versions no longer in use[edit]

1973 draft ICET text[edit]

While working towards the 1975 ecumenical text given above, the International Consultation on English Texts (ICET) published a version, which the Roman Catholic Church in the United States adopted in its English version of the Roman Missal, in use from 1973 to 2011.

"One in Being with the Father" (1973), which, when spoken, could be confused with "one, in being with the Father", was replaced in the 1975 version by "of one Being with the Father".

"He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man" was altered in 1975 to "He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man": neither Greek "σαρκωθέντα" nor Latin "incarnatus" means "born", and the 1973 text linked hominization ("became man") with birth ("he was born").

"He suffered, died, and was buried" was replaced in 1975 by "he suffered death and was buried": "παθόντα" in Greek and "passus" in Latin are indicative of a suffering demise; but the 1973 text inserted an extra verb, "died", not present in the original Greek or Latin.

Versions by scholars[edit]

Philip Schaff[edit]

Nicene Creed as adopted in 325[edit]

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (ὁμοούσιον) with the Father; by whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; he suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
And in the Holy Ghost.
But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable'—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.[18]

Nicene Creed as altered in 381[edit]

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 (æons), 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 Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and 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; from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets. In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.[18]

J.N.D. Kelly[edit]

...
... Whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth, Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down and became incarnate, becoming man, suffered and rose again on the third day, ascended to the heavens, will come to judge the living and the dead;
And in the Holy Spirit.
But as for those who say, There was when He was not, and, Before being born he was not, and that He came into existence out of nothing, or who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance, or is subject to alteration or change - these the Catholic and apostolic Church anathemizes.[19]


A translation of the 381 version may also be found in Kelly's Early Christian Creeds.[20]

John Haddon Leith[edit]

Translations by John Haddon Leith may be found in his 1982 book Creeds of the Churches.[21]

Mingana's translation of Theodore of Mopsuestia (Creed of 325)[edit]

I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ the Only Begotten Son of God, the first-born of all the creatures.
Who was bom before all the worlds, and not made.
True God of true God.
Consubstantial with the Father.
By Whom the worlds were made and all things were created.
Who for us children of men and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate and became a man.
And was born of the Virgin Mary and crucified in the days of Pontius Pilate.
And was buried and rose the third day according to the Scriptures.
And ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of God.
And He shall come again to judge the living and the dead.
And in the Holy Spirit.[22]

Samuel Noble's translation of Al-Majdalus (Creed of 381)[edit]

We believe in one God, Father almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, what is seen and what is not seen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages
Light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not created, equal to the Father in essence
who for the sake of us men and for the sake of our salvation came down from heaven
and became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.
He suffered and was buried
and rose on the third day.
He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father in the heights
and He will also come in glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom has no passing away or end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds, whom we worship and glorify with the Father and the Son, who speaks in the prophets.
We confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We hope for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come, amen[23]

Versions used in prayer books but not in liturgy proper[edit]

A Catholic prayer book of 1850[edit]

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, born of the Father before all ages. God of God; Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten not made; consubstantial 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 Ghost of the Virgin Mary: and was made man. He was crucified also for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. The third day he rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father: and he shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead: of whose kingdom there shall be no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and life-giver, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son: who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified; who spake by the prophets. And one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess 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.[24]

Note the linking of "under Pontius Pilate" with "suffered", not with "was crucified".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lutheran Theological Review, Volume XV andVolume XIV,Cascione, Jesus Had To Be A True Human Male and True God, V. Mankowski, Silk Purses and Sows' Ears, Is" for us and our salvation" in the Ruthenian creed heretical?,Frank Mobbs, Sexist language,, J. Schuler, Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi: the Outrage of Inclusive Language
  2. ^ "What We Believe". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Order of Mass". Liturgy Office England & Wales. Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Today's Catholic News discussing the changes
  5. ^ "Catholic Church, Byzantine-Ruthenian Rite: The Creed". Patronagechurch.com. 2006-05-27. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  6. ^ "Malankara Orthodox Church - Nicene Creed". Malankaraorthodoxchurch.in. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  7. ^ The Creed: The Symbol of Faith
  8. ^ "Liturgical Texts". Goarch.org. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  9. ^ "The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed | Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese". Antiochian.org. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  10. ^ Saint John Chrysostom (1999), The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Jordanville, New York, USA: Holy Trinity Monastery, pp. 81–82, ISBN 9780884651277 
  11. ^ "1979 Book of Common Prayer, Episcopal Church". Anglicansonline.org. 2011-12-30. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  12. ^ "Common Worship, Church of England". Cofe.anglican.org. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  13. ^ Anglican Church of Canada (1985). Book of Alternative Services. Toronto: Anglican Book Centre. p. 176. ISBN 0-919891-27-6. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  14. ^ "Book of Common Prayer - 1662 (Church of England)". Vulcanhammer.org. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  15. ^ The Commission on Worship of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod,Lutheran Service Book, (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006), 158.
  16. ^ Trinity Hymnal, (Atlanta: Great Commission Publications, 1990), 846.
  17. ^ Book of Confessions, (Louisville: Office of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 2004), 1.1-3
  18. ^ a b Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes. Volume I. The History of Creeds.
  19. ^ J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (reprint: Continuum International Publishing Group 2006 ISBN 978-0-82649216-6), pp. 215-216
  20. ^ J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (reprint: Continuum International Publishing Group 2006 ISBN 978-0-82649216-6), pp. 297-298
  21. ^ John Haddon Leith, Creeds of the Churches (Westminster John Knox Press 1982 ISBN 978-0-80420526-9), pp. 30-31, 33
  22. ^ Alphonse Mingana's translation of Theodore of Mopsuestia's commentary on the 325 Nicene Creed
  23. ^ Samuel Noble's translation of the commentary by Al-Majdalus on the 381 Nicene Creed
  24. ^ The Golden Manual: A Guide to Catholic Devotion (1850), pp. 216-218