Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies

Materials available for professors by request only


13. The World and Identity of the Earliest Church

Discussion Questions

  1. What aspect of Roman life most helped foster the growth of Christianity?
  2. How do you find Hellenization being an asset for early Christian missionary efforts?
  3. How do you think the belief in the occult affected the acceptance of Christianity?
  4. How does Christianity differ from Stoicism, Cynicism, and Skepticism?
  5. What was the major distinction about God in Christianity and in Judaism?
  6. What would have changed for Christians if Jesus had not been unique?

Assignment Ideas / Class Activities

  1. Provide the students with a map of Asia minor and have them highlight the key cities.
  2. Have students begin charting the Roman emperors and placing the NT letters and books under the ruling emperor at the time of composition.
  3. Prepare a dramatization of Roman government during the New Testament period. Emphasize elements of that rule that were positive for the growth of Christianity and those that were negative.
  4. Study the other religions and philosophies prevalent during the New Testament period. Using a round table discussion format, present this to the class. Show the references in the New Testament to these religions and philosophies.
  5. Prepare a report to be presented to the class on Pentecost, demonstrating its significance to the church.