Early Church History

Birth of the Church

~5 BC

Jesus of Nazareth Is Born

According to Matthew and Luke, Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea to Mary, a virgin, by a miracle of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Luke gives an account of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to tell her that she was chosen to bear the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38). According to Luke, an order of Caesar Augustus had forced Mary and Joseph to leave their homes in Nazareth and come to the home of Joseph's ancestors, the house of David, for the Census of Quirinius.

After Jesus' birth, the couple was forced to use a manger in place of a crib because of a shortage of accommodation (Luke 2:1-7). According to Luke, an angel announced Jesus' birth to shepherds who left their flocks to see the newborn child and who subsequently publicized what they had witnessed throughout the area... Matthew tells of the "Wise Men" or "Magi" who brought gifts to the infant Jesus after following a star which they believed was a sign that the King of the Jews had been born (Matthew 2:1-12).

Jesus' childhood home is identified as the town of Nazareth in Galilee. Except for a journey to Egypt by his family in his infancy to escape Herod's Massacre of the Innocents and a short trip to Tyre and Sidon (in what is now Lebanon), the Gospels place all other events in Jesus' life in ancient Israel. According to Matthew, the family remained in Egypt until Herod's death, whereupon they returned to Nazareth to avoid living under the authority of Herod's son and successor Archelaus (Matthew 2:19-23).

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The Resurrection of Jesus

The resurrection of Jesus is a core event on which much of Christian doctrine and theology depend. According to The New Testament, Jesus was crucified, died, buried within a tomb, and resurrected three days later (John 19:30–31, Mark 16:1, Mark 16:6). The New Testament also mentions several resurrection appearances of Jesus on different occasions to his twelve apostles and disciples, including "more than five hundred brethren at once" (1 Cor. 15:6), before Jesus' Ascension.

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Paul Begins Missionary Journeys

From Antioch Paul, Barnabas and John Mark begin their first journey (Acts 13:4-52, 14:1-25). They travel to Cypress (Cyprus) and Perga.... After Perga Paul and Barnabas journey to Antioch in Pisidia, then to the cities of Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. When they finished preaching the gospel in Derbe, they retrace their steps through Lystra, Iconium, Pisidia Antioch and Perga to strengthen and teach the brethren (Acts 14:21-25). From Attalia they sail back to Antioch (Acts 14:25-26).

This content is cited under the fair use doctrine (Copyright Act of 1976 as 17 U.S.C. § 107). It uses material from the BibleStudy.org article "Timeline of Paul's Life and Missionary Journeys".

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