A black and white photo capturing a Bible resting on a weathered cross, symbolizing the sacred text and the crucifixion as the foundational pillars of Christianity.

What Is The Foundation Of Christianity?

Christianity is the world’s largest religion, with over 2 billion followers worldwide. At its core, Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe to be the Son of God.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The foundation of Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ is the Messiah who was crucified and rose from the dead for the salvation of humanity.

In this comprehensive article, we will examine the origins, beliefs, and key figures that form the basis of the Christian faith. We will look at the life and ministry of Jesus, his death and resurrection, and how his earliest followers spread his teachings in the decades after his death.

We will also explore core Christian doctrines like the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, salvation, and the afterlife. By the end, you will have a thorough understanding of the central teachings and major events that serve as the foundation of Christianity.

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ

Jesus’s Birth and Early Life

Jesus was born around 4 BC in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph. According to the Gospels, his birth was miraculous as Mary conceived Jesus while still a virgin. Joseph and Mary had travelled to Bethlehem to partake in a census when she gave birth to Jesus in a manger.

Jesus’ early life remains somewhat mysterious, although the Gospel of Luke recounts that he grew up in Nazareth and impressed scholars in the Temple in Jerusalem at age 12 with his wisdom and knowledge of scripture.

Sources like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas depict young Jesus performing miracles like bringing clay birds to life.

Jesus’s Public Ministry

Around age 30, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and began his public ministry of teaching and performing miracles. Jesus called 12 disciples to follow him, like Peter, James, John and Judas. He became popular for his radical teachings that emphasized love, forgiveness, and humility.

Large crowds came to hear Jesus give sermons like the Sermon on the Mount, which introduced ideas like “blessed are the meek” and “love your enemies.” Jesus often taught in parables, using stories with metaphors about sowers, mustard seeds, good Samaritans, and prodigal sons to convey moral lessons.

Jesus’s Teachings and Miracles

Jesus traveled through Judea and Galilee, teaching in synagogues and forgiving sins. He performed miracles like healing the sick, walking on water, and feeding 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. These miracles displayed his divine nature and compassion.

Some of Jesus’s most famous teachings include loving your neighbor as yourself, caring for the poor and marginalized, being born again, and that he offers the way to salvation. Jesus emphasized faith and reliance on God rather than material wealth or earthly pleasures.

Jesus’s Death by Crucifixion

Jesus’s growing popularity and denouncements of corruption angered the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem. Betrayed by Judas, Jesus was arrested and put on trial for claiming to be the Son of God. Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion at the request of the crowds.

Jesus was mocked and beaten before being nailed to a cross on Calvary Hill outside Jerusalem. Despite the agonizing pain, Jesus forgave his persecutors and promised eternal life to a criminal crucified alongside him. His last words were “It is finished!” before dying on the cross.

The Resurrection

On the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus’s tomb was found empty and he began appearing to his disciples restored to life. His resurrection is first recounted in John 20, appearing to Mary Magdalene and showing Thomas his wounds.

The resurrected Jesus had a transformed body and could pass through closed doors, but could also eat food. He continued teaching his disciples for 40 days until ascending to heaven. The resurrection proved Jesus’s power over death and his divine claims.

Christians believe it paved the way for the salvation of humanity.

The Early Christian Church

Pentecost and the Holy Spirit

The early Christian church traces its origins to the Day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2. On this day, the Holy Spirit descended on the followers of Jesus Christ, empowering them to preach the gospel.

The coming of the Holy Spirit established the church and ushered in a new era of ministry, evangelism, and spiritual gifts.

The Apostles and Their Ministry

After Jesus ascended to heaven, the twelve apostles carried on His mission by preaching, teaching, healing, and caring for the early church. Apostles like Peter, John, and Paul traveled extensively to spread the message of Jesus Christ and establish new churches.

The book of Acts records how the early apostles faced persecution but continued to advance the gospel.

Persecution and Growth of the Early Church

From its beginning, the church faced intense persecution from both Jewish and Roman authorities. But rather than halting the Jesus movement, this persecution seemed to fan the flames. Christians embraced martyrdom, following Jesus’ example of sacrificial love.

By the early 300s AD, over 6 million people called themselves Christians, according to some estimates.1 The blood of the martyrs proved to be the seed of the church.

Paul’s Missionary Journeys

The apostle Paul stands out for his tireless work in taking the gospel to new places. He embarked on three extensive missionary journeys to modern-day Turkey, Greece, and farther, establishing churches and training local leaders.

Paul’s letters to these churches encouraged them, corrected them, and became part of inspired Scripture. Thanks to Paul’s ambition to preach “in the regions beyond,” Christianity quickly spread outside Palestine.2

Early Christian Writings and Scripture

In addition to the eyewitness accounts in the Gospels, the New Testament contains early letters from church leaders that instructed fledgling congregations. By the late first century AD, some letters were being circulated and read alongside the Hebrew Scriptures in church services.

Eventually, 27 books were recognized as divinely inspired and authoritative for faith and practice. This New Testament, along with the Hebrew Bible, became the Scriptural foundation for Christianity.

Core Christian Beliefs and Doctrines

About God – The Trinity

Christians believe in one God who exists in three equal, eternal persons – God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is called the Trinity. God is three in one – three distinct personalities and identities within one divine essence and being.

The Bible refers to all three persons of the Trinity as fully God, coequal and coeternal, yet as three distinct persons in relationship with each other.

Jesus Christ – His Nature and Identity

Jesus Christ is believed to be the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. He is fully God and fully human. Christians believe Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

His dual nature of full divinity while being fully human is considered a core mystery of the faith. The New Testament presents Jesus as Messiah, Christ, Lord and Savior of the world who brings salvation to mankind.

Salvation through Christ

A fundamental doctrine is that humanity needs salvation from sin, and Jesus Christ achieved that salvation through his death on the cross as an atoning sacrifice. His resurrection demonstrated his power over death.

Those who put faith in Christ can receive forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. This salvation is not earned but given by the underserved grace of God. Accepting Christ through faith and repentance leads to eternal life in God’s presence.

The Afterlife – Heaven and Hell

Based on biblical descriptions, Heaven is believed to be an eternal state of blessedness in God’s presence for those saved through Christ, while Hell signifies eternal separation from God and punishment for the unrepentant.

Catholic and Orthodox Christians also believe in an intermediate state called Purgatory where some undergo a final cleansing of sin before entering Heaven. Christians look forward to resurrection of the dead on Christ’s return and an eternal destiny determined by the state of one’s relationship with Jesus Christ.


In summary, the foundation of the Christian faith rests on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His disciples and early followers spread his gospel message across the Roman Empire through missionary work and their writings.

Core doctrines were established related to God, Jesus, salvation, and the afterlife. Today, Christianity remains centered on the redemptive work of Christ and the promise of eternal life through faith in him.

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