Front Page
Series Contents
Series Theme: Apologetics
Abbreviated Contents:



































1. Key Players

2. What was Happening

3, Main problems




























1. Key Players

2. What was Happening

3, Main problems







































































































































Title:   10. Questions about the Early Church

                            (Why it is so important)


A series that helps consider the foundations for faith

Contents for Overview:


Introductory Comments

•  it is important to know about the realy Church 

1. Who were some of the Key Players of the First Century?

•  Rulers and history

2. What was Happening in the First Century?

•  Key events.

3. What were the Main Problems facing the Early Church ?

•  Setting the scene for the following pages


Introductory Comments


Few Christians, it seems, have much knowledge about the early church. This means that when others attack their faith and assert that there is little or no foundation for the Christian faith, those Christians have no answer.


On this and the following pages, we will be looking at various facets of the early church following Jesus Christ, and we'll see why the things that happened then are important for us to understand, and how they can strengthen our faith today.


On this page we'll simply introduce the first century of the Christian Church to see who continued after Jesus' ascension and the passing of the Twelve. This page thus sets the scene for the next three pages

We will look in detail the the key important ‘Early Church Fathers' on a later page.


The following are particular elements of the early centuries of church history that are helpful to understand which we'll be looking at on this and following pages:


a) Who were involved in those early centuries   

•   Jesus, Paul and the other apostles in the first half of the first century
•   The leaders who followed on in the second half of that first century
•    “Early Church Fathers” who lived and led in the following centuries


b) The Events & Trends of those times


The centuries following Jesus were characterised by persecutions, oppositions and heresies that we will considered on the following three pages.




1. Who were some of the key figures of the First Century?




Let's try and outline the first hundred years in table form:




New Testament








27BC-14 AD

Herod the Great

37-4 BC




14-37 AD

Herod Antipas

4 BC-39 AD


Possibly 3 BC to 30? AD


37-41 AD

Herod Agrippa

37-44 AD

Paul converted

34 or 35 AD


41-54 AD

Herod Agrippa II

44-100 AD

Jerusalem council

48 AD


54-68 AD

Fire of Rome

64 AD


69-79 AD

Fall of Jerusalem

70 AD


79-81 AD




81-96 AD


81-86 AD


96-98 AD




98-117 AD






NB. We will consider the Roman emperors more fully on the following page when we consider persecutions.


To see fuller details of those who were martyred go to Christian Classic Ethereal Library - and look under author for “Foxe” for Foxe's Book of Martyrs . Alternatively try Christian Martyrs by Robert Backhouse.


Most Christians are familiar with the first half of the first century – the life of Jesus, Paul etc. but starting to put dates to them helps build the picture, so let's now add more detail.




2. What was Happening in the First Century?




The following gives an indication of some of the key important things that happened in that first century, largely as seen in the New Testament.




N.T. references

About AD 30/33

Jesus crucified and rose from the dead

All 4 Gospels

AD 34/35

1st Jerusalem persecution

Acts 8:1

AD 34/35

Paul's Conversion

Acts 9


Cornelius converted

Acts 10


Church started in Antioch

Acts 11

AD 44

James martyred, Herod Agrippa I dies

Acts 12

AD 46-47

Paul's first missionary journey

Acts 13,14

AD 49

The Council at Jerusalem

Acts 15

AD 49

Paul's second missionary journey begins

Acts 15

AD 52

Paul's third missionary journey begins

Acts 18

AD 57-59

Paul's Caesarean imprisonment

Acts 23,24

AD 60-62

Paul's imprisonment in Rome

Acts 64

AD 64

Probable martyrdoms of Peter & Paul in Rome


AD 70

Fall of Jerusalem


AD 81-96

Persecutions under Domitian


AD c.100

Death of John







3. What were the Main Problems facing the Early Church ?




The centuries following Jesus were characterised by persecutions, competition and heresies


Without doubt these were centuries of all-out spiritual warfare with the enemy seeking to inhibit church growth, yet the opposite happened:


Enemy action




To frighten Christians and those who might be turning to the faith.

The grace of God in the martyrs showed the reality of the faith and many were converted.


Competing Beliefs

To steal away converts or prevent people becoming Christian believers


In fact were revealed as inadequate in the face of Christianity



To distort, confuse and water down the faith.

The struggles against untruth meant the New Testament was written and creeds formulated to establish accepted doctrine.




In the following three pages we will consider each of these forms of the enemy's activity against the Church of the early centuries, and then on the fourth page look in some detail at the key Christians in the first three centuries who helped build the church.



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