Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. As of the early 21st century, it has between 1.5 billion and 2.1 billion adherents, representing about a quarter of the world's population. It is the state religion of at least sixteen countries.

Its followers, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah (or Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament, the part of their scriptures they have in common with Judaism. To Christians, Jesus Christ is a teacher, the model of a pious life, the revealer of God, the mediator of salvation and the saviour who suffered, died and was resurrected in order to bring about salvation from sin for all. Christians maintain that Jesus ascended into heaven and most denominations teach that Jesus will judge the living and the dead, granting everlasting life to his followers. The "good news" of Jesus' ministry is called the Gospel.
The Trinity is often regarded as an essential doctrine of mainstream Christianity. The most common understanding of the Holy Trinity, as espoused in the Nicene Creed, is one God who exists in three Persons – Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – who are coequal, co-eternal, of the same substance. "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" represents both the immanence and transcendence of God. God is believed to be infinite and God's presence may be perceived through the actions of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

The disciples were first called Christians (Greek), meaning "followers of Christ", in Antioch. Ignatius of Antioch was the first Christian to use the label in self-reference. The earliest recorded use of the term Christianity (Greek) was also by Ignatius of Antioch, around AD 100.
Like Judaism and Islam, Christianity is classified as an Abrahamic religion (see also Judeo-Christian). Through missionary work and colonisation, Christianity spread firstly in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and parts of India and subsequently throughout the entire world.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Christianity. The Official Guide to Christianity is Dr. Mike Smalley. Dr. Mike Smalley is a much sought after dynamic public speaker. More than 4,000 audiences in 25 nations throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe have been challenged to a greater walk with God because of his message. Dr. Mike is the noted author of 8 books, including: Saved Soul, Wasted Life; How to Jumpstart Your Prayer Life; and 10 Master Rewards for Sitting Daily In The Presence Of God and numerous audio and video teachings. His motivational and equipping e-blasts are read weekly by a growing global audience.

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