Study Christology

Study Christology

What Is Christology? Definition and Importance

Christology, derived from “Christ,” referring to Jesus, and “-ology,” meaning “the study of,” is the study of Christ, both Jesus as a person and the works of Christ. Christology is far-reaching. As one might expect, it covers Jesus’ earthly birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. However, it also pertains to His eternal existence prior to His earthly life, His humanity and deity, Old Testament Christological prophecies, and His future return and reign

“Would you like to do a study on Christology?”

Such a question might seem intimidating. However, it really just means, “Do you want to learn more about Jesus?”

Christology is simply the study of Jesus Christ, His life, ministry, and relation to the Holy Trinity and mankind. Christology is a great spiritual benefit for faithful Christians to know how and why Christ saves mankind.

Definition of Christology

The word “Christology” comes from two Greek roots. The first, “Christ,” is derived from the Hebrew word “Messiah,” meaning “anointed one,” the promised deliverer of Israel. The second, “-ology,” comes from the Greek “logia” and is now used in English to mean “the study of.” Thus, Christology is the study of the anointed deliver, the Christ.

In Christianity, Christ is equated with the person of Jesus. Christology is, therefore, the study of Jesus, the Son of God.

Christology is one of three studies of the persons of the Trinity, the other two being Paterology, the study of God the Father, and Pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit.

History of Christology

People began asking questions about Jesus and who He is immediately after His death and resurrection. In the New Testament books of Acts and the Epistles, apostles like Peter and Paul began to lay out Christology, explaining who Jesus is, what He did, and what it means.

Of course, early believers and inquisitors had plenty of questions and theories, ranging from the Gnostics, who rejected Jesus’ humanity as incompatible with their ideas that the material world was inherently evil, to the ideas of Arius, who portrayed Jesus’ divinity as lesser than that of the Father, making Him more human.

ArianismGnosticismDocetism — the church needed to figure out what it believed about Christ. At the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, the leaders of the church put together the Nicene Creed. The creed was tweaked at further councils, and the section on Jesus now reads as follows:

“We believe… in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.”

This Nicene Creed is an excellent starting point for Christology and is accepted as authoritative by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and major Protestant churches. 

Branches of Christology

Christology is far-reaching. As one might expect, it covers Jesus’ earthly birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. However, it also pertains to His eternal existence prior to His earthly life, His humanity and deity, Old Testament Christological prophecies, and His future return and reign.

What Christology Means for Christians

Jesus is central to Christianity. To understand our faith, we need to understand the Person on whom we base our faith. There are plenty of views on Jesus out there. Some hold that He was just a good teacher. Others believe He was just one of many prophets. However, Jesus says of Himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Our salvation directly depends on what we believe about Christ. Will we recognize Him as Lord and Savior?

However, Christology goes beyond that. Christology is also a way to get to know Jesus, to learn more about Him. Relationships grow stronger as two people learn more about each other. In human relationships, we value people who listen to us and care about what we do, think, and say. Jesus already knows everything about each of us. But do we know about Him?

Who Is Jesus Christ?

Background: Jesus has been acclaimed as the greatest religious leader who ever lived, as being the most influential person to have lived on our planet, and as being unique to the degree that no one can be compared to Him.

But considering Jesus Christ merely on the basis of an exemplary life and His superior moral teaching will not remove the stumbling blocks to Christianity raised by an unbelieving world. The real test of what one thinks of Him must revolve around who He claimed to be and what He accomplished during His brief mission to our planet. Our conclusion must be that there is no Christianity without Christ; all centers in Him.

The predominant theme of the Scriptures is the Person and the work of Jesus Christ. He is God. He became a human being, died by crucifixion, and was buried. He rose again from the dead. He is the only, all-sufficient Savior of the world. He will come again to this earth. Removing this from the Scriptures robs them of all coherent meaning and continuity.

Jesus Christ is God

Deity is the only explanation for all that He was and all that He did.

(1) He was pre-existent with the Father.

“The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:2, 3, KJV). (Also see John 17:5 and Colossians 1:17.)

(2) He is the Son of God.

  • His enemies admitted: “He…said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18, KJV).
  • Peter confessed: “And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:69, KJV).
  • Jesus affirmed: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30, NIV).

(3) He was sinless, as only God can be.

  • Jesus challenged His enemies: “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (John 8:46, KJV).
  • Peter testified: “…Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:21, 22, KJV).
  • Paul stated: “For he…made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV).

(4) He forgives sin, as only God can.

  • The Scribes said: “Who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:7, KJV).
  • Jesus said: “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins…” (Matthew 9:6, KJV). (Also see John 8:11.)
  • Peter wrote: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24, KJV).

(5) He performed miraculous works.

  • He healed the sick: Matthew 8:9-13; Luke 4:31-44; 5:12-15; John 4:43 to 5:16; and other references.
  • He fed the hungry: John 6; Mark 8, etc.
  • He raised the dead: Luke 7:11-18; John 11:1-46.

Jesus Christ Became Man

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, KJV). (See also Philippians 2:7, 8.)

(1) His miraculous birth was prophesied 800 years before His coming: “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14, KJV).

(2) The prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:30, 31, KJV).

(3) Jesus demonstrated human characteristics: He became tired (John 4:6). He thirsted (John 19:28), He ate food (Luke 24:40-43), He showed feelings (Mark 6:34), He wept (John 11:35), He knew temptation (Hebrews 4:15), and He died (John 19:30).

Jesus Christ Accomplished the Works of His Father

(1) He died on the Cross. This is the fundamental theme of the Gospel.

  • The fact of His death—One-fourth of the Gospels are dedicated to His Passion and Resurrection. (a) For this purpose He came into the world (John 12:27). (b) His death was prophesied hundreds of years before He came (Isaiah 53:3-8).
  • The meaning of His death. (a) It was a ransom for sin (Matthew 20:28; Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 1:18). (b) It was to pay the penalty for sin (Romans 3:24; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). Man is the object of God’s wrath because of rebellion and sin, but God took the initiative in satisfying His wrath by sending His own Son to Calvary. (c) It is a reconciliation. The enmity between us and God has ended (Romans 5:10), and we are restored to God (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19). (d) It is a substitution: He died in our place (1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21). (e) In summary, the matter of sin has been completely dealt with (1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 10:12).

(2) He was resurrected from the dead: This is unique and fundamental to Christianity.

  • The reality of the Resurrection (John 20:1-10; 1 Corinthians 15:4).
  • The credibility of the Resurrection: (a) Jesus predicted it: Matthew 13:39-41; Luke 24:1-7. (b) The tomb was empty: John 20:11-13. (c) Many witnesses saw Him alive: the women (Luke 23:55, 56); Mary Magdalene (John 20:1, 2, 11-18); Peter and the other disciples (John 20:3-9, 19, 20, 24-31; 21:1-14).

The Results of His Work

(1) He ascended to His Father (Luke 24:49-53; Acts 1:6-11).

(2) He is our eternal mediator (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6; 1 John 2:1).

(3) He is our Savior: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, KJV). “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31, KJV).

  • He is the only Savior. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV).
  • He is a complete Savior. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25, KJV).
  • He is a personal Savior. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9, 10, KJV).

The Consummation of His Work

(1) He shall return again to this earth (Acts 1:11; Hebrews 10:37; John 14:3).

(2) Believers in Christ shall be bodily resurrected to begin a new, undying life (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58).

(3) He will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords over His new creation (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 22:3-5).


The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook (Minneapolis: World Wide Publications, 1984), pp. 152-154

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