Five Books to Explore the World of the Early Church

I’ve given a few recommendations of ways to explore Early Church history over the last few months. I’ve reviewed a few early Christian texts, and have suggested ten works that you could use to explore some of the figures from this first period of Christian history.

Here I want to recommend five books that will help you explore the Early Church more broadly. This list is comprised of a mix of academic and popular books, but each one is readable and enjoyable!

Kenneth Stewart, In Search of Ancient Roots

American academic Kenneth Stewart voices concerns that modern evangelicals see little historical grounding for the reformed expression of faith. In In Search of Ancient Roots, Stewart seeks to correct that belief by going right back to the formative period of the Christian faith. More here.

Larry Hurtado, Destroyer of the Gods

The late scholar Larry Hurtado explores how Christianity thrived in the first century or so, despite fierce opposition across the Roman world. This book is perhaps the earliest in focus of the five in this list, and explores how it is that worship of Jesus Christ began to take off in the ancient world. More here.

Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church

In his classic book on evangelism, Michael Green looks at the ways in which Christians from the New Testament to the third century worked to share the Gospel in the Roman world around them. Plenty of material, so it can be tough going, but well written and a rewarding read! More here.

Michael Kruger, Christianity at the Crossroads

Kruger explores the second century AD, and offers an introduction to this fascinating and formative period of Christian history. Though it is an introductory work it is nonetheless scholarly in approach, and this can make it tough going at times. The reader who persists, however, will find an enjoyable and wide-ranging look into the social, cultural and spiritual experience of the second century church. More here.

Jonathan Pennington, Jesus the Great Philosopher

Something a bit different to finish off. New Testament professor Jonathan Pennington argues here that we are losing our perspective on Christianity as a means for living ‘the good life’. That is to say, Christ and His Gospel speaks into every part of our lives. The earliest Christians understood this, and we should too. Pennington makes a compelling case to realign our lives to the wisdom of Christ embraced by the very earliest Christians. More here.

I have plenty of other recommendations, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to find out more, and enjoy digging into the world of the Early Church.

And if you still need more convincing, why not start with:

Ten Reasons to Read About Church History

Why Bother With The Early Church?


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