Are Christians Required to Believe in the Bible?

Are Christians Required to Believe in the Bible? December 9, 2023

pixabay image by G.C.

Are Christians required to believe in the “Truth” of the Bible?

In the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed, do Christians profess a belief in the inerrancy of the Holy Bible?

Let us take a look and see.

What does the Apostles’ Creed actually say?

The Apostles’ Creed most likely originated in the fifth century CE as a version of the earlier Roman Creed. It is shorter than the Nicene Creed adopted in 381 and is, like the Nicene Creed, Trinitarian in nature.

Here is the text of the creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.


The beliefs to which the creed refers have to do with God, YHWH, his son, Yeshua, and the Church.  It asserts a belief in God, that Yeshua (Jesus) is his son, that his mother was a virgin named Mary and that she was miraculously made pregnant by the Holy Spirit, the third of the three-part Trinitarian Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)

The Creed further states a belief in the death, descent, and ascent to Heaven of Yeshua, the Son.  It asserts a belief that Yeshua is alive in Heaven and that he will be the final judge of man.

The creed also states a belief in the Holy Spirit, the Holy catholic (universal) church, the “communion of saints,” YHWH’s forgiveness of sins, the rebirth of the body after death and everlasting life.

Does the Apostles’ Creed  require a belief in the Bible?

Nowhere in the text of the creed is there any statement of belief in the Bible, or in fact, any mention of the Bible or of scripture or the written word in general.

This concept, that Christian creeds require a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, like so many other concepts in modern interpretations of the creed were added by priests and theologians in later times in order to make specific points of theology and dogma.

How does the Nicene Creed compare with the Apostles’ Creed?

The Nicene Creed, also called the Creed of Constantinople, “is the defining statement of belief of Nicene or mainstream Christianity.”  The creed is seen as a profession of faith in many Christian churches, both in the Catholic and Protestant traditions.

Christians in many churches repeat the creed as a part of weekly worship.

The text of the Nicene Creed:

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.

As we can see, it is considerably longer than the Apostles’ Creed, contains more detailed information, but professes almost exactly the same beliefs.

Praying hands on Bible
Pixabay Image by reenablack

What does the Nicene Creed actually say?

The creed asserts a belief in one God and that he is the creator of everything.  It requires a belief in Jesus Christ, the “Only Begotten Son of God,” who “for us and our salvation, came down from heaven” (where he, by the reckoning of some theologians, was always in existence, even from creation) and was born into the world by a virgin mother and “became man.”

It asserts a belief in the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion and the “Resurrection on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”

The creed declares that Jesus Christ is alive in heaven, seated by the Father, and will become the judge for mankind eternally.

It proclaims a belief in the Holy Spirit (the third person of the Trinity), that the Holy Spirit is a part of the Godhead and that the Holy Spirit speaks through the prophets.  The creed further states a belief in the “holy catholic and apostolic Church,” baptism “for the forgiveness of sins” and the prospect of eternal life.

Does the Nicene Creed require a belief in the Bible?

Like the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, nowhere in its text, asserts or requires a belief in the Bible or any other scripture.  In fact, the only mention of scripture is in the stated belief that Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection is foretold in scripture: “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.”  It does not state here or in any other place that Christians are required to believe in the Bible or to believe in any scripture.  There is no such requirement in the creed and any such claims by preachers or theologians are simply false.  The scripture mentioned is from the Hebrew Bible and is not in the Gospels or in the Epistles.

What can we conclude?

Man peering through magnifying glass.
Pixabay image byTumisu

The Nicene Creed was written in the Fourth Century CE and the Apostles’ Creed in the Fifth Century.

Neither the Apostles’ Creed nor the Nicene Creed asserts or requires  belief in any specific scripture including the Bible.  It is curious that Church fathers have, for centuries, allowed, or more likely, caused their followers to believe that Christians are required to believe in the Bible as an unquestioned source of rules for our conduct.

I suspect that it would surprise some of them to learn that these creeds require NO SUCH BELIEF.


About William T. Orr, Jr.
William T. Orr, Jr. is a retired educator, most recently the principal of a high school named in the Top 10 in the nation by Newsweek magazine. Orr has a B.A. in English Language and Literature, a M.Ed. in Education Administration and Supervision, and an Ed.D. in Education leadership. He’s also completed Postdoctoral study at Yale Divinity School and Dallas Theological Seminary. You can read more about the author here.
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