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We have a tendency to think about the early church as a pure and uncorrupted time, before Christianity was changed by councils, schisms, and power. But the earliest Jesus-followers disagreed about as much as they agreed on, and their early attempts to understand Jesus’ life and death were creative, contentious, and often mutually exclusive. The early church’s history is more complicated than we often give it credit for, and the echoes of that complicated history can be found in the pages of the earliest New Testament books.

Using Paul’s letters and the canonical gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry, Rev. Dr. Eric C. Smith will help us think through the lives and faiths of the first followers of Jesus, who took the religion of an executed Jewish teacher and turned it into a major religion in the Roman Empire. This study will enrich the knowledge of clergy and laity alike, and it will help frame and inform your knowledge of the Bible, Christian theology, and history.