2.1 Biblical creeds

The old covenant already had its own confessional statements. Professing Yahweh as the God of Israel was linked to His historical act of salvation for His people, that is their deliverance from slavery in Egypt (Deuteronomy 26: 5-9). This profession of the One God necessitates the rejection of all other gods (Joshua 24: 23).


The focus of synagogue divine service is the creed "Hear, O Israel" (Shema Yisrael) which states, among other things: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! ... And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house" (Deuteronomy 6: 4-7).


The creeds of the New Testament express God's act of salvation in the sending of Jesus Christ. Already early on, there were statements in which Christians expressed their faith at baptism or in divine service.


An example of this is the statement "Jesus is the Lord!" (Romans 10: 9). An important statement expressed in the creeds of the early church is the testimony that the Lord is resurrected: "The Lord is risen indeed" (Luke 24: 34; cf. 1 Corinthians 15: 3-5). Likewise the statement "Maranatha"–which can be translated as "O Lord, come" (1 Corinthians 16: 22) or "Our Lord is coming"–can be understood as a creed. It first came into use in the Aramaic-speaking congregations of the early church.


Further professions of Jesus Christ, His essence, and His work can be found in the early church hymns, for example in 1 Timothy 3: 16: "God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory" (Philippians 2: 6-11, Colossians 1: 15-20).