When was the first creed written?

Answered by Michael Wilson

The first creed in Christianity, “Jesus is Lord,” is believed to have originated in the writings of Paul the Apostle. Paul was a significant figure in the early Christian church and played a crucial role in spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ. He wrote several letters, or epistles, to various Christian communities, addressing theological issues and providing guidance.

One of the earliest references to the creed “Jesus is Lord” can be found in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, which is believed to have been written around AD 55. In this letter, Paul states, “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). This statement suggests that the creed was already in use among early Christians and held a central importance in their faith.

The creed “Jesus is Lord” conveys a fundamental belief in the divinity and lordship of Jesus Christ. It affirms that Jesus holds a position of supreme authority and power. This creed served as a concise expression of faith and a rallying cry for early Christians, distinguishing them from other religious groups and affirming their allegiance to Christ.

However, it is important to note that the creed “Jesus is Lord” is not as comprehensive or detailed as later creeds that emerged in the history of Christianity. Over time, as theological debates arose and the church grappled with defining its beliefs, more elaborate creeds were developed to articulate the core doctrines of the Christian faith.

One of the most widely known and used creeds in Christianity is the Nicene Creed, which was formulated in AD 325 at the First Council of Nicaea. This council was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine in an attempt to resolve theological disputes, particularly the Arian controversy.

The Nicene Creed was a response to the teachings of Arius, a priest from Alexandria who denied the full divinity of Jesus Christ. The creed, which underwent revisions in subsequent councils, affirms the belief in the Trinity, stating that God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit are all equally and eternally God.

The Nicene Creed played a significant role in solidifying the doctrine of the Trinity and became a unifying statement of faith for the Christian church. It was adopted by the Council of Constantinople in AD 381 and has since been recited in Christian worship services across different denominations.

While the earliest known creed in Christianity, “Jesus is Lord,” can be traced back to the writings of Paul the Apostle in the first century, the most widely used and recognized creed is the Nicene Creed, which was formulated in AD 325 at the First Council of Nicaea. These creeds served as statements of faith and played a crucial role in defining the beliefs of the early Christian church.