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10 Life-giving Benefits of Studying Christian History

10 Life-giving Benefits of Studying Christian History studying Christian history old church
Christian History shows how Jesus rules in the affairs of men. We see His love and faithfulness to faithful Christians for 2000 years!

So far we have covered 4 of the 7 Ways How to Know Jesus Better; those were praying, reading the Bible, hearing the Word, and finding and becoming a community of Believers.

Today, we go on to number five, Studying CHRISTIAN HISTORY!

Christian History is More Than Biblical History

The Bible is our primary source of Christian History. There we meet and get to know Jesus in a personal and individual way. There too, we see the continuing power and faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ to His people.

But Jesus’ life and work continue powerfully after the Biblical account closes. If you’re interested in learning about all six stages of Jesus’ life, both before and after His earthly ministry, I’d encourage you to read the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

That said, we Believers are not alone. Jesus has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the world. He has kept that promise for 2,000 years to countless men and women who gave their lives for Him.

In the USA, in 2020, it seems there are few such people, and those who seek and follow sometimes feel alone, but it isn’t so! There have been faithful historians from Jesus’ days to the present, from Eusebius to Ken Kalis.

I want to share some benefits of spending time looking at the accounts of these historical men and women, and see how we can learn from them to know Jesus better.

10 Benefits of Studying Christian History

1. Christian History records the Spread of the Gospel

When we study Christian History, we see how the Word of God was preached by the apostles and how the dominion of Satan was overcome beginning with the Revival at Ephesus (Acts 19). Historian Luke shows us here that when idolatry was uprooted, the Gospel was planted and the church grew even during his own lifetime. He gives this remarkable testimony that after two years of Paul's ministry,

all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. -Act 19:10

The early Church Fathers, disciples of the apostles, record this work in the first and second centuries. Fearless missionaries preached the Gospel from Asia Minor to Greece and Rome, and from there to Europe and North Africa. In the course of 1,500 years, idolatry was displaced, and the Lord Jesus Christ triumphed.

Then from Europe to North and South America, Asia, and Africa, the faithful men and women missionaries planted the gospel in all the world. If you are interested in learning more about these men and women, I give an account of 200 of them in my book, SPIRITUAL LIVES.

2. Be Encouraged by the Growth of the Church

Only the power of the Holy Ghost could take the group of 120 men and women that Jesus put together into a worldwide church of over 2.4 billion. When we study Christian history we find that Eusebius began recording this development in the 3rd century, and in our own time, Paul Johnson’s in-depth History of Christianity explains more fully its growth that seems never-ending. These two historians focus on the institutional church but E.H. Broadbent’s

THE PILGRIM CHURCH records how believers met in independent local congregations from apostolic days to the present, feeding on the Word of God and trusting the Lord Jesus to take care of them. (My favorite book on church history!)

3. Christian History demonstrates the Fulfillment of Prophecy

In the Bible itself, we see prophecies and their fulfillments, from the Flood to the rise and fall of great empires and most importantly of all the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. But some prophecies’ fulfillment did not occur before the Bible was closed.

The Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD comes first to mind. Others, like, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Rise of Anti-Christ, World Wars, and the Mark of the Beast have been or are being fulfilled over the centuries since. Other prophecies of Revelation, the 7 seals, the plagues, the millennium, Armageddon, the 2nd coming of Jesus are still to come.

The only way we can have a good understanding of these things is to study Christian history written by believers.

4. Find Protection from Error

Unbelievers have used their interpretations of prophecies and other human-centered thought systems to create false religions and what St. Paul calls “other gospels.” We need to study Christian history to help us identify the counterfeit.

  • The first of these “false gospels” was Arianism, which arose in the 3rd century and taught that the Lord Jesus Christ was a created being and not co-eternal with God the Father.

  • The Papal system emerged in the 6th-century teaching that the Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of Christ and His unique and all-powerful representative on earth.

  • Universalism took root in America in the 19th century, denying the existence of hell and teaching that everyone will be saved.

  • Later still, preaching Jesus as Redeemer and Savior from our sins was replaced by the “Social Gospel,” putting social action and humanitarianism in the place of Jesus’ work of atonement.

All these errors challenge the truth of the Bible and are responsible for turning many from the narrow way to which Jesus called us.

5. See His Direction and Presence within Historical Events

From Exodus to the Babylonian Captivity, the Old Testament recounts the Lord’s plan behind remarkable historical events. Christians have seen the Lord’s hand at work in many events of history. As we study Christian History we will see that

  • the Conversion of Constantine (312) was marked by a remarkable vision;

  • the victory of Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours (732) saved Europe from Mohammedanism;

  • the Protestant Reformation (1517 – 1648) shed the light of God’s Word into the darkness of the Middle Ages.

  • The discovery of the Americas (1492) opened new continents and millions of people to the Gospel.

  • The defeat of the Spanish armada (1588) kept alive Protestantism in England, and

  • the Great Awakenings in America (18th to early 19th centuries) brought millions to Jesus.

  • In the 20th century, another outpouring of the Holy Ghost in 1900 sparked the Pentecostal movement where untold millions were saved, baptized, and healed.

The Lord Jesus is still on His throne and governing His people.

6. Understand the Tactics of His and Our Enemy

Already in the Bible, we see false religion attacking Jesus and His Gospel. The study of Christian history teaches us that the animosity and persecution by the Jewish religious leaders intensified and continued.

Soon after, His enemies came from within the church, first in Arianism and later through the Papal system. In the 7th century, a new attack came from Mohammedanism, both spiritually and militarily.

With the Enlightenment (1715 – 1789), first unbelief and then Atheism tried to destroy the Bible and God’s people.

Later in the 19th century Mormonism sprang up from demonic visions and created another gospel that continues to hold millions in captivity. 20th-century communism, fascism and Nazism killed millions and sought to replace Christianity with Atheism.

Human secularism remains today a hungry devourer of millions of unborn children as it champions abortion, and sodomy, and seeks to destroy the family and the church.

7. Learn from His Prophets and Champions

SPIRITUAL LIVES presents 200 short biographies that will encourage you to study Christian history more and be inspired by the lives of those who gave their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and championed His cause.

Through their lives, the Gospel has been preached to every nation around the world, often against fierce opposition. I’d encourage you to GET A COPY ON AMAZON, and pick one of two of the heroes of the faith to study their in-depth biography.

8. See How We Can Be Faithful

The Word of God is forever established in heaven, the Psalmist tells us. But over time, many changes have been introduced and today we find ongoing tension between tradition and innovation. This has been true through the ages.

When we study Christian history, we see positive and negative influences that can energize or enervate our faith. As we know more about Jesus, we will be able to evaluate what is of lasting value and what is a passing fad.

We will learn to spot and resist false teaching and gain confidence in holding to our faith as it has been delivered to us. We will also learn how the Lord has called and used people from every station of life, high and low, and from many fields from literary to military, art/music to business, and laborer to the king.

He has blessed many talents, from the simplest of taking care of the needy to the complexity of composing fugues and writing masterpieces. How can you and I be faithful in our own lives and circles?

9. It Strengthens Our Testimony

The Bible helps us follow St. Peter’s instructions to

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15)

But the study of Christian history helps us prepare for many of the questions we will receive about our faith. The Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed are two early statements of the key elements of our faith. Later, the Augsburg Confession of Martin Luther, the 39 Articles of the Church of England, and the Westminster Confession (1647) of Faith amplify these early essentials and ground us firmly in the Word of God.

10. Christian History Helps Us Appreciate the Sovereignty of God

The overall value of studying Christian history is the appreciation it gives of the Sovereignty of God. What a contrast to secular history, based on the lie that there is no God and that we are just animals here by chance and on our way out.

What a hope we gain from our study, amplifying the Blessed Hope St; Paul encourages in Titus 2:13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”.

The Greatest Benefit of Studying Christian History

Studying Christian History helps us see the Lord Jesus Christ in a greater way than we can see in our everyday life. His power and goodness is endless.

As we study Christian History we see how He rules in the affairs of men and cares for His people. We see real life examples of His love and deliverance and His faithfulness in times of trial. As I study more of the events of history and the lives of faithful Christians, I am humbled and encouraged as I see how all of this leads to His glory.

We serve a mighty God! Studying Christian history leads us to what Hebrews calls, “that great cloud of witnesses” and helps us see more and more of the glory of the Lord Jesus as it unfolds day after day, year after year, and century after century.

A Challenge to You

Let this article be the start of a never-ending journey to know Jesus more and more as we study Christian history. Take one or two of the suggestions made above. Read a biography of a hero of the faith. Learn one of the creeds. Begin studying and sharing your experience with others in our comments section, and I believe you will be blessed in a special way.

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