Reading Church History

One of the women in my small group texted the other day, “I’m interested in studying about church history. Where should I start?”

Great question. I’m glad you asked! Reading good books influences the way you think about the world around you, and reading about church history protects you from a great deal of “chronological snobbery,” as CS Lewis called it. This is our family history.

In the Year of Our Lord: Reflections on 20 Centuries of Church History by Sinclair Ferguson. If you are just starting out, this is the most concise place to begin. Dr. Ferguson walks century by century through church history. As you read, think, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruther Tucker. I have long used this book in my missions history classes. It is a telling of church history through brief biographies of missionaries. Though centered on Western Christians and a bit hagiographic, Tucker’s book is a great introduction.

Forerunners of the Faith: 13 Lessons to Understand and Appreciate the Basics of Church History by Nathan Busenitz. This text is set up with discussions questions and workbook pages to be used together with the teacher’s guide. Looking for Sunday School material? This would be a great resource.

Pages from Church History by Steven J. Nichols. Steve introduces you to the original documents that arose from the writings of the early church fathers and the councils throughout the centuries. You can find other books in his prolific catalogue, including a new biography on RC Sproul and two of my favorite kids books The Church History ABC’s and Reformation ABC’s. You can also listen to his weekly podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.

This is not a complete list, but it is a good place to get started. Happy reading!

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