Sunday Morning Bible Study

The Early Church To
Early Reformation

John Rakestraw
Elder @ Northwest Church in Westminister, CO

Intro – The Early Church through Reformation

I. The Ancient Church (100 – 313 A.D.)
Lesson 1. Historical Backgrounds and the World of the Early Church


Lesson 2. The Church in Jerusalem and the Mission to the Gentiles


Lesson 3. 1st & 2nd Century Conflicts with the State


Lesson 4. Early Apologists


Lesson 5. Defining the Faith


Lesson 6. Christian Life


II. The Imperial Church (313 to 476 A.D.)

Lesson 7. The End of Persecution and Beginnings of the Imperial Church


Lesson 8. The New Order


Lesson 9. Reactions to the New Order


Lesson 10. The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea


III. Medieval Christianity (476 to 1521 A.D.)

Lesson 11. The Western church, the Eastern church, and the Arabs


Lesson 12. The Late Middle Age & The Great Western Schism


Lesson 13. The Quest for Reformation & the Renaissance


Reference Materials

• The Story of Christianity – The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation, Revised Edition; Justo L. Gonzalez
• Church History – From Christ to the Pre-Reformation, 2nd Edition; Everett Ferguson
• Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 3rd Edition; E.verett Ferguson
• Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire; Peter H. Wilson

Course Rationale

• Without understanding our past, we are unable to understand ourselves, for in a sense the past still lives in us and influences who we are and how we understand the Christian message.
• The notion that we consistently read the New Testament exactly as the early Christians did, without any weight of tradition coloring our interpretation is an illusion. It is also a dangerous illusion, for it tends to dogmatize our interpretation, confusing it with the Word of God.
• Not only is our view of the present colored by our history, but our view of history is also colored by the present and by the future we envision.
• History is not the pure past; history is a past interpreted from the present of the historian.
• Every renewal of the church, every great age in its history, has been grounded on a renewed reading of history.
Historical Context:
• 333 B.C. – Alexander the Great & the Macedonian armies
• 323 B.C. – Ptolemaic rule
• 200 B.C. – Seleucid rule
• 164 B.C. – Hasmonean rule
• 63 B.C. – Roman rule
• 40 B.C. to 3 A.D. – Herod the Great
• 70 A.D – Destruction of Jerusalem
• 135 A.D. – Hadrian removes Jews from Judea

Galatians 4: 4 __“But when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law”