When I was in elementary school, I remember constructing a family tree. It usually didn’t go much further than my great grandparents. That’s because keeping track of all my aunts, uncles, and cousins was enough work for a young mind. I have fond memories of those exercises because they created opportunities to learn about my extended family. And now that I’m a parent, I’m glad to have the information to pass onto my children. That way, our family’s history can be carried onto the next generation.

I think about the Church in the same light. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:19 that when we place our faith in Christ we become members of the “household of God.” In a very real sense we are adopted into God’s family. All Christians are siblings. This is why we call each other brother and sister. And just like blood relatives, the Church a family history to tell.

Our family story begins with God’s creation of the world and the first humans.

The story continues throughout the entirety of the Bible, culminating with our family’s glorious end. We will dwell with God forever in the new heaven and earth.

The Bible gives a lot of information on Israel and the early church. However, the story stops before we get to 100 AD. Since then, our family story has continued on for 1900 years. There are lots of important people and events worth remembering! But with such a broad history, the question becomes: where do I start?

Thankfully, we have Church family members who have dedicated themselves to studying our history. They have written it in a way that the rest of us can easily understand.

So, it doesn’t matter if you’re heading into Bible college or seminary. Or maybe you are simply looking to brush up on your church history. Either way, Olive Tree has some great resources that will meet your needs.

Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible Notes

When you think about a resource for studying church history, you probably think of a textbook. But we’re here to tell you that there is a fantastic church history STUDY BIBLE!

The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible is different from other study Bibles. Yes, it gives you all the notes, introductions, maps, and outlines you get with a traditional study Bible, plus more. If you’re looking for a high level overview of Church history this is the resource for you. In the Study Bible’s back matter, there is a section called “Twenty Centuries of Church History”. This section offers one page summaries of each century, from the first to the twentieth. If you’re new to the subject, this is a great way to get your feet wet. You’ll receive a great overview of where the Church has been the last 2000 years. Also, there are several creeds and confessions that have shaped the Church over the centuries.

Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible
Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible

Church History, Volumes One and Two

If you’re looking for more than one-page century summaries, you’ll want a duo of books published by Zondervan. They are aptly titled Church History. The first volume is over 500 pages in print and covers church history from the time of Christ to just before the Reformation.

Filled with maps, charts, and illustrations, it offers overviews of the Roman, Greek, and Jewish worlds. There are insights into the church’s relationship to the Roman Empire, with glimpses into pagan attitudes toward Christians. You’ll learn about art and architecture, literature and philosophy. This information spans across the first through thirteenth centuries.

At over 800 pages,volume two is an account of the triumphs and struggles of the Christian movement. It offers an unique, contextual view of how the Christian church developed from the 1500s to present day. This book looks closely at the world history and how the Church responded. It details the times, cultures, and events that both influenced and were influenced by the church. Lastly, this volume is also filled with maps, charts, and illustrations to help you in your study.

Church History
Church History

Historical Theology

Learning about our history doesn’t end with learning about the people involved. It is also important to learn how our interpretation of the Bible has changed over time. If theology and history are both interests of yours, then Historical Theology is for you.

Most historical theology texts follow Christian beliefs chronologically, discussing all notable doctrinal developments. And while this may be good history, it can make for confusing theology. In Historical Theology, you are given the opportunity to study the historical development of theology according to a topical-chronological arrangement. You can study the history of Christian doctrine one theological element at a time.

Historical Theology
Historical Theology

For Students

Lastly, if you’re a student studying Church history, we have a resource specifically for you. It’s titled Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods. This work has the guidelines, methods, and basic reference tools needed for anyone researching or writing in an academic setting.

Our History

Church history is our history! Let’s not neglect it. In the same way it’s important to know who your relatives, we need to know the history of the Church. Add one or all of these resources to your Olive Tree library today. You won’t regret learning about some of the family you’ll meet and worship alongside in heaven.

3 Comments

  1. Donald Keiffer Reply

    When I tap on back matters I do not see what you show here, all I see is GO and 0. What am I doing wrong?

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