A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Creeds

Live Well Diary Team

This post includes affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  See my full disclosure statement.

Christian creeds

If you’re feeling somewhat bewildered as a recent follower of Christianity or seeking a better understanding after years of church attendance, look no further than our helpful beginner’s guide on Christian creeds.

This informative guide delves into what these ancient statements assert.

This guide also gives readers a deeper comprehension of God’s role in humanity, Jesus Christ’s identity and purpose, and the different doctrines surrounding many Christian denominations.

What is a Creed?

A creed exemplifies a statement voicing one’s faith.

Within Christianity specifically, a creed summarises principles held dear by Christians. The creeds are brief and straightforwardly explained.

Such declarations essentially express how Christians understand God’s magnificence, Jesus’ life and teachings, and salvation’s meaning.

So why is it important to understand Christian creeds?

For one, creeds help to define what it means to be a Christian.

Additionally, creeds have a rich history in the Christian tradition, dating back to the church’s early years.

Understanding the historical significance of creeds can help us appreciate their importance in the modern church.

Christian creeds - in prayer

Christian Creeds

Numerous creeds exist within Christianity for believers to abide by. The most globally recognised creeds include the Nicene Creed, Apostles’ Creed and Athanasian Creed.
The Nicene Creed was formulated in the 4th century and is the most widely used creed in Christianity. The Catholic, Orthodox, and many Protestant churches use it. [1]

The Apostle’s Creed is an earlier creed dating back to the 2nd century. Many Protestant churches use it. [2]

The Athanasian Creed is less well-known but is still used by some churches.

The Historical Significance of Christian Creeds

Christian creeds are of historical significance within the church. From early Christianity times, there have been various disputes relating to God and his Son, Jesus Christ.

To bring about clarity and unity among Christian beliefs, creeds were formulated as solutions to such controversies.

The Arian doctrine (considered heresy) denied Jesus Christ’s absolute divinity. This led to the Nicene Creed formation – affirming that he was “begotten not made” instead whilst remaining “of one substance with the father.” This declaration helped clear up the confusion surrounding the Trinity concepts and confirmed Christ’s divine status. [3]

In contrast, the Apostle’s Creed was meant to summarise core faith tenets. It is written in an easy-to-remember format. These simple statements are used during the baptism rites [4] and regularly as prayer.

While less well-known, the Athanasian Creed is still significant in its affirmation of the Trinity and the full divinity and humanity of Jesus. [5]

Christian creeds - crucifix

Theological Implications

Christian creeds have significant theological implications. They summarise the core beliefs of the faith.

The Trinity: The doctrine of the Trinity is a core belief of Christianity. The Nicene Creed, in particular, affirms the belief in the Trinity – that there is one God in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. [6]

The Incarnation: The belief that Jesus is fully God and fully human is another core belief of Christianity. The Nicene Creed affirms that Jesus was “begotten, not made” and was “of one substance with the Father.” This statement affirms the full divinity and humanity of Jesus. [7]

Salvation: Christian creeds also have implications for the doctrine of salvation. [8] The Apostle’s Creed affirms the belief in the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body.

Eschatology: Finally, Christian creeds have implications for the doctrine of eschatology – the study of the end times. [9] The Apostle’s Creed affirms the belief in the “resurrection of the dead” and the “life everlasting.”

How Creeds Help Christians Stay Grounded in Their Faith

Christian creeds fulfil several crucial functions that allow believers to stay grounded and connected within their community.

The first function is to provide a reliable and robust foundation for Christian beliefs. The core beliefs are condensed into summaries of faith.

Secondly, creeds help Christians stay connected to the historical church. By affirming the same beliefs as Christians throughout history, modern-day Christians share a sense of connection to the faith’s roots and the larger community of believers.

Lastly, these creeds promote unity among all Christians because they state basic shared beliefs: we believe “in one God,” we believe “in Jesus Christ,” etc., reminding all believers that we are part of the same team regardless of Christian denominations.

In Summary

Creeds are super crucial in representing fundamental concepts within the Christian faith.

By internalising the statements, one can feel more connected with Christianity and better equipped to understand its messages in contemporary times.

Whether you’re a long-time or new follower, take some time to explore the creeds and see how they can deepen your understanding of the faith.


[1] The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (2018). Nicene Creed | History & Text. In: Encyclopædia Britannica. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Nicene-Creed.

[2] [4] Apostles’ Creed | Christianity. (2019). In: Encyclopædia Britannica. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Apostles-Creed.

[3] Sky HISTORY TV channel. (n.d.). The Council of Nicaea: Resolving the crisis in early Christianity. [online] Available at: https://www.history.co.uk/articles/the-council-of-nicaea-resolving-the-crisis-in-early-christianity.

[5] The Church of England. (n.d.). The Creed of S. Athanasius. [online] Available at: https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/book-common-prayer/creed-s-athanasius.

[6] www.newadvent.org. (n.d.). CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Blessed Trinity. [online] Available at: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm.

[7] www.newadvent.org. (n.d.). CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Incarnation. [online] Available at: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07706b.htm.

[8] www.newadvent.org. (n.d.). CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Salvation. [online] Available at: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13407a.htm.

[9] bible.org. (n.d.). 9. Eschatology: End Times | Bible.org. [online] Available at: https://bible.org/seriespage/9-eschatology-end-times.

Images Used

Photo by Brett Sayles: https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-cross-1343325/

Photo by Rene Asmussen: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-sitting-on-a-chair-holding-book-636010/

Photo by Markus Spiske: https://www.pexels.com/photo/clear-glass-candle-holder-on-brown-wooden-table-246125/



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *