Summaries of Christianity

Below are listed 120+ summaries of various Christian events, situations, people, and other items from Church History that you might not have thought to ask about.  To view the page, click on the title.
Feel free to use these in any non-monetary way.  As a courtesy, I do request that you contact me if you copy or print these articles; this is only for purposes of keeping track of their use.  Contact Mark at drnickens@triad.rr.com.
Interested in learning how church history developed?  Click here to go to studychurchhistory.com.
To go to Christian Timelines home page, click here.     

Just for Fun:  

Try these double extreme trivia Bible tests (some of the questions and answers are jokes):

  1. Test One:  test click here & answers click here.

  2. Test Two:  test click here & answers click here.

  3. Test Three:  test click here & answers click here.

Odds and Ends:

  1. Was Fish Jesus' Favorite food?:  So why is a fish used as a symbol of Christianity?  Find out here.
  2. Dating of Easter Why does Easter keep changing dates?
  3. Chapters and Verses:  When were the chapters and verses added to the New Testament?
  4. Communion:  Discover the different methods Christians use when partaking of Communion.
  5. Why are there so many denominations?:  This one word might explain why.
  6. Eight Words:  Christians use words which they sometimes have trouble defining.  Learn the definitions of six of these words.
  7. Why Doesn't the Pope Live in Jerusalem?:  Find out here.
  8. Deuterocanonicals:  Why Catholics and Orthodox have more books in their OT than Protestants:  Find out here.
  9. Easter Sunrise Service:  So, who did originate the idea of the Easter Sunrise Service?
  10. Origins of the Nativity Scene:  Learn when this Christmas standard first appeared.
  11. Christian Spiritual Classics:  A list of Christian Spiritual Classics from throughout the history of Christianity.
  12. A History of Jerusalem:  Read a short history of this most extraordinary city.
  13. Trinity:  This word is not in the NT, but the idea is.  Find out how the word developed.
  14. Who Were the Samaritans?:  All Christians have heard the story of the Good Samaritan, but why did the Jews hate them so much?  Find out here.
  15. The Old Testament Story:  Many Christians do not understand the total story of the OT.  Read this and you will.
  16. Outline of the Old Testament:  The OT is not one long story but instead is different types of literature linked together to tell one long story.
  17. Outline of the New Testament:  Learn more about the divisions and background of the NT.
  18. An Important Tunnel:  This tunnel is mentioned in the OT and is still there today.  Find out what it is and how it was discovered.
  19. Why Is LORD Capitalized in the OT?  Have you even wondered about this?  Find out the reason.
  20. Where did the word "Passover" come from?  William Tyndale coined the word in the early 1500s.  Find out why here.
  21. Worship on Sunday or Saturday?:  Find out why some most Christians worship on Sunday, and why some worship on Saturday.
  22. Slavery in NT:  How can Christians say they believe in the Bible and yet do not have slaves, spoken of and even promoted in the NT?  Find out here.
  23. Concordance:  One of the more useful tools is studying the Bible is a concordance.  Discover how the idea of a concordance developed.
  24. The First Complete NT:  Sinaiticus is the first complete copy of the NT which we have.  You will not believe where it was discovered (maybe you could guess.)
  25. Stations of the Cross:  Sacred Space:  This summary describes one method of exhibiting sacred space within a church.
  26. Armorbearers This lay office is found in only some churches; most people are unaware of its existence.  Learn more about it.
  27. Funny Stories:  Two funny stories about baptism that I always tell my classes.
  28. Leap Year:  So, you think you know the leap year rule?  Go here and find out.
  29. The Earliest Scripture:  The Old Testament has been around a long time.  But what is the earliest piece of the Old Testament which exists?  Find out here.
  30. "Everyone has a God-shaped hole":  Trace the history of this idea.
  31. Church Leadership Models:  Learn about the different ways to run a church.
  32. Why are the Letters A.D. Used?:  Find out the source of the letters A.D., used when counting years.
  33. Ash Wednesday:  Learn about the meaning and origin of Ash Wednesday.
  34. Lent:  Why is Lent 46 days long and why is it called "Lent"?
  35. Canterbury:  The central city of the Church of England/Episcopalians is not in London.  Found out why it is in Canterbury.

Early Church Period:

  1. The Real Nativity Story:  Many Christians base their understanding of the Jesus' birth on songs and the Nativity.  This summary explains in detail based on the Bible.
  2. Herod So why was Herod so mean that he would kill babies?  Find out.
  3. Why Pilate?:  Why was Pilate in charge instead of one of Herod's sons?  Learn why here.
  4. Why Did the Magi Care?:  Find out one theory as to why the Magi would go to all the trouble to find the new King.
  5. Jesus' first 41 days:  Find out the details.
  6. Life of Jesus:  Find out all that the Four Gospels tell us about Jesus.
  7. Temple and Synagogues:  Jesus went to the Temple and attended synagogues.  But why did the Jews have two places where they could worship God?  Find out here.
  8. Mark's House:  Site of Last Supper?:  Go here to read a theory--with verses as proof--which states that Jesus ate the Last Supper at Mark's house.
  9. Why did Judas do it?:  So why did Judas betray Jesus.  This is one theory.
  10. James:  Half- or Step-Brother of Jesus?:  Discover the two different perspectives on James' relationship to Jesus which are held by two different (large) groups within Christianity.
  11. The First Year of Christianity:  Christianity grew to include 10,000 believers in its first year.  Find out how we know this here.
  12. Extra-Biblical References to Jesus:  Three references to Jesus exist outside the Bible.  Read them here.
  13. Mary and Panthera:  After Jesus and Mary were gone, some spread the rumor that Mary had slept with Panthera and Jesus was the result.  But who was Panthera?
  14. Priscilla and AquillaMore details are uncovered about two of Paul's co-workers.
  15. Erastus:  Physical evidence of one of Paul's co-workers was recently discovered.
  16. What happened to the Apostles?:  Find out what we know about the Apostles' travels once on their own.
  17. Thomas, The Apostle Who Should Have Been Voted "Most Likely to Travel the Furtherest":  Believe or not, Thomas probably traveled further than any other Apostle. 
  18. A Physical Description of Paul:  Yep, you read it right.
  19. Peter and Paul:  Find out how Peter and Paul (probably) died.
  20. Peter's House:  After Peter died, what do you think the early Christians did with his house? 
  21. Docetism:  The belief of those who did not accept the incarnation, and spoken of in II John 7. 
  22. Another Letter to the CorinthiansA letter exists which was written to the Christians in Corinth about forty years after I and II Corinthians was written (and not by Paul).
  23. One of the Earliest Heresies, Docetism (a form of Gnosticism):  One of the earliest problems people had with Christianity was the question of what Jesus was made of.
  24. P52:  The Earliest Piece of the New Testament:  Read about the earliest scrap of the New Testament which has been discovered.  And find out which verses it is also.
  25. Apostolic Fathers:  After the Apostles died, the next generation of Christians also produced some authors.  Read about the 8 known works here.
  26. An Early Christian Essay: Chapters from this early book (around AD 125) were most likely read as sermons.  Hear what Christians would have heard at church less than 100 years after Jesus.
  27. The Early Popes:  This summary traces the lineage of the first seven popes.
  28. Unread for 1000 Years:  Irenaeus, an early Christian leader, wrote a treatise on basic Christian beliefs in the late Second Century.  It was lost and only rediscovered in 1904.
  29. A Living Link to the Apostles:  Learn about one of the Apostle John's followers, and early church leader not mentioned in the NT.
  30. Another Letter to the Philippians:  A letter exists which was written to the Christians in Philippi about 100 years after Philippians was written.
  31. A Defense of Christianity:  Theophilus wrote "Against Autolycus," which was an early defense of Christianity.  Read selected quotes here.
  32. Gospel of Judas:  Understand this "Gospel" more fully, including why it should not have be in the New Testament.
  33. Early Heresies:  Many people could not accept the truth of Christ.  Learn about different (and false) versions of Christ which circulated in this time period.
  34. Marcion:  I will define the NT if you don't:  Oddly enough, it took a false teacher to prompt the young Christianity to establish its Scripture, the New Testament.  Who was he?
  35. An Early Worship Service Guide:  Tertullian, an early church leader, wrote some instructions on how to conduct a worship service around the year 197.
  36. Perpetua:  A story of a young Christian girl who was martyred by the Romans.  Find out what the Romans did once they discovered she was pregnant.
  37. The First House Church:  The first Christians gathered and worshipped in house churches.  Find out the date of the first house church which has been discovered. 
  38. 40 Martyrs:  During the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire, 40 Christians were placed on a frozen lake.  But something wonderful did happen.
  39. Edict of Milan:  With one signing of a document, the persecutions of Christians ended.  Find out how.
  40. The First Council (of Nicea):  So, what was so important about the first Council of Christians in 325?
  41. The Nicene Creed:  Read the first official creed of Christianity.
  42. A tricky question:  The early church leaders had to deal with the question of what to do with priests who bowed to the Roman persecutions.
  43. Canonization:  The church took 300 years to decide which books should be included in the NT.  See how the process developed over time as the church weeded out the Apocrypha.
  44. Apophthegmata Patrum (click a number at end of this description)During the 300s and 400s, a large number of Christians moved to the Egyptian desert.  They left behind a rich source of their wise sayings.  I have included three summaries:  click one two three.
  45. Pachomius Pachomius began the practice of monks of living in communities.  He ran into trouble because he was so strict; how did he solve the problem?
  46. So You Think You Are Dedicated, the Stylites:  These early Christians came up with a unique way to serve God.  Read and see if you would have joined them.
  47. John Chrysostom:  The Golden-Mouth:  Learn how he developed this nickname.
  48. Standing Up to an Emperor:  In the late 300s, a bishop stood up to an emperor and denied him Communion; find out why and what happened.

Medieval Period:

  1. St. Patrick:  So, everyone knows about St. Patrick's Day, but really, who was St. Patrick? 
  2. Benedict of Nursia: In the 500s, Benedict wrote a guidebook for monks, part of which is quoted here and is applicable to a Christian life today.
  3. Gregory the Great:  Learn why Pope Gregory I was considered to be "the Great."
  4. Charlemagne:  The emperor Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day, 800, but he may not have been happy about it.
  5. A Medieval Response to Mediocrity:  In the 900s, a small monastery in France led a revitalization of spiritual awareness in the Catholic Church.
  6. St. Bernard:  Learn about the dog breed and the man behind it; and he never saw a St. Bernard dog.
  7. 1054: Catholic and OrthodoxIn the year 1054, Christianity split for the first time into the Catholic and Orthodox branches.  Find out how it occurred.
  8. Crusades:  Learn about this series of conflicts which continues to haunt Christianity.
  9. Francis in the Crusades:  Francis of Assisi proved fearless in the Crusades.  Learn how here. 
  10. The Little Flowers of St. Francis:  Read how St. Francis found and defined joy.
  11. Proving God Philosophically:  Anselm gave it his best shot.  See what you think.
  12. Hildegard of Bingen:  Hildegard wrote a Christian classic entitled "Divine Works."  This summary provides some quotes.
  13. Bernard of ClairvauxBernard wrote a Christian classic entitled "On Loving God."  This summary provides a quote.
  14. Mechthild of Magdeburg:  Mechthild wrote a Christian classic entitled "On the Flowing Light of the Godhead."  This summary provides some quotes.
  15. The Cloud of Unknowing:  This Christian Spiritual Classic is anonymous and was written probably in the 1300s.  This summary provides some quotes.
  16. 2 then 3 Popes In the 1300s and early 1400s, the Catholic Church experienced two then three Popes before returning back to one Pope.
  17. Love of the Holy:  The English translation of the Orthodox spiritual classic called "Philokalia."  This summary contains some quotes.

Reformation Period and Beyond in Europe:

  1. Reformation:  Maybe you are confused about this whole Reformation idea.  This summary might clear things up.
  2. A Pre-Protestant Group:  This group of Protestants actually predates the Reformation and are not technically Protestants.  Learn how and when they started.
  3. The Handbook of Erasmus:  Erasmus, "who laid the egg which Luther hatched" wrote a spiritual classic.  Read an excerpt here.
  4. Martin Luther and Halloween:  October 31 is recognized as Halloween.  It is also when Luther (unintentionally ) initiated a movement that changed Christianity.
  5. Luther's Hymn:  In 1527, a plague came to Wittenberg.  Luther and his wife stayed to help those stricken.  In the midst of the horror, he wrote this hymn.
  6. Colloquy of Marburg:  In 1529, the followers of Luther and Zwingli attempted to bring them together.  The two men agreed on all but one issue.  Find out what that was.
  7. Luther's Last Words:  After he died, a piece of paper was found in Luther's pockets with words which reflected his life's focus.  Find out what they were.
  8. Table Talk:  In his last days, Luther's words, even his idle comments, were written down by his fervent followers.  Read some of them here.
  9. Henry VIII and Episcopalians:  Discover how Henry began the Church of England and the origin of the title "Defender of the Faith" that the monarch of England still holds.
  10. The First Pre-Baptists:  Find out about the origins of the people known as Anabaptists, and the unique form of execution used on them.
  11. Loyola's Spiritual Exercises:  This Christian Spiritual Classic was written by Ignatius Loyola and constructed a plan for a greater spiritual awareness of God.
  12. A mistake in the Bible, or Bob was tired:  Robert Stephanus, the guy who divided the NT into verses, made a mistake when he got to II John & III John.  See where here.
  13. Calvinism:  This summary helps to explain the meaning behind Calvinism.
  14. Some Comments by Calvin:  His "The Institutes" is mainly theological, but I like this quote so much that I have memorized part of the first chapter.
  15. Francis Xavier:  This man traveled as a missionary more than any other during the 1500s.
  16. Origin of the KJV:  Understand the story behind the Version:  How and why did the King James Version come into being?
  17. One of the Translators:  Learn the fascinating story of one of the King James Version translators.
  18. Francis de Sales:  He wrote a spiritual classic called "Introduction to the Devout Life."  This summary provides some quotes.
  19. Brother LawrenceHe wrote a spiritual classic called "The Practice of the Presence of God."  This summary provides some quotes.
  20. The First Home Bible Studies: 1675 Style:  Philip Jacob Spener actually set the standard for Home Bible Studies in his 1675 book "Pious Desires."  This summary contains his high points.
  21. What is "Methodist" about Methodists?:  Why are Methodists called Methodists?  Find out the origin of the name here.

American Church History:

  1. Columbus:  Columbus wanted to discover a new passage to India, plus to spread the message of Jesus.  Read it in his own words.
  2. Brazil:  In South America, most of the countries speak Spanish except for Brazil, which speaks Portuguese.  Discover the Church History connection.
  3. American Land and DenominationsWhy are there so many denominations?  This helps to explain.
  4. Guadalupe:  This image is beloved by multitudes of Mexicans, and you may have seen it.  See a picture and learn the history behind the image.
  5. Pilgrims and Puritans:  So what is the difference between the two? 
  6. The Half-Way Covenant:  Discover how the colonial churches attempted to reach the non-churched colonists.
  7. The First American Christian Martyr:  You would never guess where it took place.
  8. Jonathon Edwards:  Edwards helped begin and define the movement known as Evangelicalism. 
  9. Most Famous Sermon in America:  Jonathan Edwards preached the epitome of an evangelical sermon in "Sinners in the hands of an angry God."  Learn about it and read an except here.
  10. Whitefield: The First American Celebrity:  The great revivalist George Whitefield is considered the first American Celebrity plus he played a small role in the American Revolution.  Find out how.
  11. How Sunday Schools Started:  Learn how Sunday schools started and their original intent.
  12. Calvin and Democracy:  See how Calvin played a vital role in the development of democracy.
  13. King James Version in America:  Learn why the KJV was so important in America for 100 years.
  14. Church and State:  Discover the origin of the phrase "wall of separation between church and state."
  15. College Origins:  The ten oldest colleges in America all have Christian origins.  Learn about them here.
  16. Amish From where did the Amish come and why are they so different?  Learn here.
  17. George Liele:  As an African-American preacher in the 1700s, Liele accomplished seven firsts.
  18. Charles Wesley and 1793:  Charles, the brother of Methodism founder John Wesley, was convinced that he knew the year Jesus would return.  Read about it in his letter.
  19. Birth of AMEThe late 1700s and early 1800s witnessed the birth of the largest African-American denomination.
  20. Charles Finney:  Some of the practices of churches today can be traced to Finney and what were called his New Measures.
  21. Behind the Name:  Episcopalians:  From where did the name "Episcopalians" come?
  22. The Father of Modern Missions:  Read about the man who initiated modern Protestant Mission work and to where he went.
  23. William Miller:  Jesus will come back in 1844:  Learn about the large crowds that followed Miller, and the Christian denomination which resulted.
  24. Utopian Groups:  Discover the numerous utopian groups which formed in the 1800s and the only two which still remain (one numbers around 5 and the other numbers around 16,000,000).
  25. Denominations Splitting:  In the mid-1800s, Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians all split.  Learn why.
  26. How to Pray without Ceasing:  This Russian Orthodox Spiritual Classic, "The Way of the Pilgrim," tells one method of praying without ceasing.  See if you want to try it.
  27. The Shortest Christian Classic:  This Christian Spiritual Classic is actually a poem.  This summary provides some lines.
  28. Happy 100th Birthday to Pentecostals:  In 2006, Pentecostals and Charismatics celebrated their 100th birthday; find out how it all began.
  29. Jesus for Workers:  The Methodists decided to call attention to the plight of workers in 1908 by adopting this Social Creed.
  30. Fundamentalism:  Discover from where the word "fundamentalism" came.
  31. Jesus and Planes:  What connection does Jesus have with planes?
  32. Thomas Merton:  Merton wrote a Christian spiritual classic entitled "The Seven Storey Mountain."  This summary provides some quotes.
  33. Billy Graham and 1949:  So how did Billy Graham go from a regionally-known to a nationally-known revivalist? 
  34. I know what you are thinking:  One book helped me understand why different Christian groups do what they do.  I have summarized the main points here.
  35. Watchman Nee:  Nee wrote a Christian Spiritual Classic called "The Normal Christian Life" while in prison.  This summary provides some quotes.
  36. A W Tozer:  He wrote a Christian Spiritual Classic called "The Pursuit of God."  This summary provides some quotes.
  37. Behind the Name:  United Methodist:  From where did the name "United Methodist" come?
  38. Mother Teresa:  She needs no introduction.  This summary includes some quotes.
  39. The Salvation Army:  Find out more about this group which rings the bells at Christmas.
  40. Your God is Too Small:  A very recent Christian classic which describes different incorrect understandings of God which hamper both Christians and non-Christians.
  41. Origin of Contemporary Christian Music:  Find out how CCM got its start.  It wasn't that long ago and it wasn't far, far away.
  42. Christians Reunite after 118 Years:  Learn about the denominations which reunited after 118 years.
  43. So Many Names of Churches:  If you think about it, deciding on the name for a church can be daunting.  See a multitude of names of churches which actually exist here.
  44. Megachurches:  Learn about the top 10 largest megachurches in America.
  45. Presidential Faiths:  Discover the faiths of the United States Presidents.