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About Christianity and Jesus
Home > History and Time Line of the Life of Jesus > About Christianity and Jesus

Surprisingly, Jesus was not a Christian, and the word Christianity is not found in the Bible.

So what is Christianity?  Christianity is a religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  Christianity is the world's largest religion, with one estimate implying 2.1 billion adherents, or approximately 33% of the world's population. 

However, naming Jesus as the founder of Christianity is not completely consistent with the facts about Christianity, or the history of Christianity.  Jesus of Nazareth, his family and his initial followers were all Jewish. 

The term Christianity was not coined until 30 to 50 years after Jesus' life, and it was not until 261 A.D. that Emperor Gallienus' edict made Christianity a legal religion.  After Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, the birth of Jesus marked the beginning of our modern calendar (e.g. 2007 A.D. aims to mark 2,007 years since the birth of Jesus).

For an introduction to Christianity beliefs, some study a Christianity 101 course, or read one of the classic books explaining the essence of Christianity, such as Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis or Basic Christianity by John Stott.

However, a superior approach is to go back to the original source documents.  Biblical Christianity relies on both the Bible's Old and New Testament as primary source documents for the Christian religion.  Most adherents of the Christian faith believe Jesus to be the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. The New Testament includes the Jesus biography (Gospels), plus the history and correspondence of the early followers of Jesus. 

To learn from the origins of Christianity, Jesus' own life and teachings, use these guides into the original source documents:

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