There are many great teachings in the Bible, but here are 10 of the most important, or fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith. Within each of these broad categories there are many other doctrines that could fill whole books and bookshelves. This is just a quick overview of what Christians believe.
Theology is the study of God. This includes who He is in person and personality. This is an absolutely fundamental belief of Christianity.
In the pages of the Bible it is taken for granted by the writers that God does exist. The Bible opens with the words that God created the Heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He is the creator, or source, of all life (John 5:26). Nature teaches us that there is a Creator and we have within us a basic understanding of a higher power (Romans 1:18-21, 28, 32).
God is a Spirit (John 4:21-24). He does not want to be worshiped through graven images or idols because He does not have a form as we know it (Exodus 20:4, 5). Though a spirit, He has personality as denoted by the names He has been given or claims of Himself (Genesis 22:13, 14; Exodus 3:14; 15:26; 17:8-15; Judges 6:24; Psalm 23:1). Though existing in three persons (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) He is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6-8; 45:5; 1 Corinthians 8:4).
God knows all (Job 11:7, 8; Psalm 139; 1 John 3:20). He is all powerful (Genesis 18:4; Job 42:2). He is present everywhere at the same time (Psalm 139; Jeremiah 23:23, 24). God is eternal and unchangeable (Psalm 102:24-27; Habakkuk 1:12; Revelation 1:18). He is holy (Isaiah 57:15; 1 Peter 1:15, 16). He is righteous and just, yet merciful and gracious (Psalm 103:8; 116:5; 147:17; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4, 8; 1 John 1:9). And God is love (John 3:16; 1 John 3:16; 4:8-16).
Christology is the study of Christ. Christianity would not be what it is if there was not a risen Savior, who was the promised redeemer (Genesis 3:15).
Though Jesus was the Son of God (Matthew 8:29; John 1:18; 3:16; Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:8), He was also born to human parents (Matthew 1:18; John 1:14; Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4). Jesus had a physical body that grew and had normal physical needs (Matthew 4:2; Luke 2:40-50; 24:39; John 4:6; Hebrews 2:14).
Jesus died on a cross as the substitute for the sins of mankind (1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Revelation 5:8-12). He rose bodily the third day after His death (Matthew 17:23; 28:5, 6; John 2:20-22). He ascended to Heaven to God (Acts 1:3-11; Ephesians 1:20, 21; Hebrews 1:3).
Pneumatology is the study, or doctrine, of the Holy Spirit. Though a Spirit, He too has personality like God the Father (John 14:16; 16:7, 8, 13-15). He is referred to in many of the same passages as the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). The Holy Spirit is who indwells believers (1 Corinthians 6:9) and convicts them of sin (John 16:8-11). By the Spirit we are born again (John 3:3-5), renewed (Titus 3:5) and sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13, 14; 4:30).
When studying the Bible (Bibliology) Christians believe it is inspired by God. That means it is breathed out from Him (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). We learn about God and understand God through the Scriptures (Matthew 16:17; 1 Corinthians 2:14).
Anthropology (the study of man) in a Christian perspective deals with the nature and origin of man. Where man came from and why.
First of all, Christians believe that man is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26; 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7; Colossians 3:10; James 3:9). Though created by God (Genesis 1, 2) man did not always obey God (Genesis 3). We call this the fall of man. Because of man’s fall, sin was introduced into the world and the result is a finite physical life (Romans 5:12).
The study of salvation is called Soteriology. This is an area of Christian teaching that has many different aspects. These include the purpose of salvation, the method of salvation and the means of salvation just to name a few.
The purpose of salvation can be summed up with the words regeneration, justification, sanctification and glorification. Regeneration is to be made new in Christ (John 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 3:5). Justification is where we are made right and just before God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 25:1; Romans 4:2-8; 8:1). We are sanctified (made holy or set apart) through salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:10, 14). Ultimately we will be glorified in Heaven as a result of our salvation (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 John 3:2).
God has established a few institutions in this world. One of them is the church. The study of the doctrine of the church is called Ecclesiology. This word comes from the Greek word that means “to call out from.” It could be said that the church is a congregation of believers called out from the world.
Jesus’ death was for the establishment of the church (Ephesians 5:25). The first church was in Jerusalem. Other congregations were established in various places. This started in Judea and Samaria (Acts 1, 2). Throughout the book of Acts there is a spreading of the Gospel and a constant establishment of churches. On a broad scale the church is the body of Christ made up of Christians (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:2, 13). There is also the idea of a local church assembly where believers meet on a regular basis (Philippians 4:15; Colossians 4:16).
The purpose of the church is to worship God and bring glory to Him on the earth (Ephesians 1:4-6). It is to evangelize the world (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 2; Ephesians 3;8) and help people to grow into mature Christians (Ephesians 4:11-15). Shunning the attendance of church leads to false doctrine (Hebrews 10:25-28).
Angels are beings created by God (Colossians 1:16) and are not the spirits of dead saints or simply glorified believers (Hebrews 12:22, 23). They are ministers of God (Psalm 104:4; Hebrews 1:14). Angels have great might and power (Psalm 103:20; 2 Peter 2:11). Their is a hierarchy of angels (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Peter 3:22; Jude 9). There are some angels who have abandoned God (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).
Satan is one of these fallen angels and is at war with God and His angelic host (Daniel 10: 12, 13; Jude 8, 9). He is called the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), the wicked one (Matthew 13:19), the tempter (Matthew 4:3). He is an adversary to the Christian (1 Peter 5:8). His final judgment is to be cast into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
Escatology is the study of the last things. While there is some controversy among Christians over the exact order of events, the general idea of things to come is that Christ will return to rapture the church and resurrect the dead believers (1 Corinthians 15; 1 and 2 Thessalonians; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:12). There will be judgment for the unsaved (Psalm 96:13; Acts 17:31; Hebrews 9:27). While the saved will be judged (1 Corinthians 3:8-16; 2 Corinthians 5:10), there will also be a time of reward for them (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Though this is not a strictly Christian belief, prayer is vital to a Christian. So important that the Bible says that neglecting prayer grieves the Lord (1 Samuel 12:23; Isaiah 43:21, 22; 64:6,7). Prayer is the way God has ordained for us to communicate with Him (Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:13). It is so important the founders of the church sought help in the ministry so that they could dedicate their time to prayer (Acts 6:4).
Throughout the Bible prayer can be seen to take many forms. Moses talked with God in prayer more like a dialogue between two friends. In Joshua and Judges the Israelites often cried out to God. Samuel, and many other prophets prayed more in a manner of intercession (on behalf of others). David considered himself able to go to God in prayer on his own behalf instead of needing someone to pray for him. The book of Psalms is full of a crying out to God on a continual and consistent basis.
We can pray to God (Acts 12:5), to Christ (Acts 7:59) and to the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:15, 16). The normal pattern in prayer is that we pray to God through the Holy Spirit with the authority of Christ (John 14:14; Jude 20). There is no required position in prayer prescribed in the Bible. We can pray standing up (John 17:1), kneeling (Luke 22:41), prostrate (Matthew 26:39) or in bed (Psalm 63:6).
Basic Beliefs of a Christian
As I said at the outset, these are just some of the basic beliefs of a Christian. It is wonderful to know that God communicates to us through His Word so that we can know about Him and His plan. I want to encourage you to take the basic Bible teachings here and study more about God and His Word on your own. Feel free to share with us what you learn in the comments below.
Take a look at some more helpful articles:
The Holy Bible, King James Version