• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain the reasons for the spread of Christianity in the first three centuries.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain the reasons for the spread of Christianity in the first three centuries. (35) Christianity is the world's most popular religion, but how did it grow from one man and his group of twelve disciples turn into a religion which today has over two billion followers? There are many factors which contributed to the spread of Christianity, many of which were clearly prominent it's the first three centuries. These are a mix of numerical and geographical, social, political and religious factors and the impact of martyrdom, all of which will be discussed in this essay. Before we begin it must be mentioned that there is a lack of precise data on the numerical growth of the early Church. This, however, does not mean that we know nothing about it; from various pieces of writing we are able to piece together an idea of how quickly, and to what extent, early Christianity spread. First, he location of Palestine is a key factor in the spread of Christianity. Despite being small, about one hundred and fifty miles from north to south and seventy five miles from east to west, Palestine is extremely central. ...read more.

Middle

Not only did the actions of the Christians appeal to the people, but also the message they were teaching. The Christian message is one of equality; the thought of slaves and masters being greatly appealed to the lower classes. The upper classes were also persuaded by this message of equality. The Bible teaches that men and women are equal and says that a husband must treat his wife well. This appealed to the prominent women who then converted their husband. Again we turn to Chadwick who claims that it was through women that Christianity 'penetrated the upper classes of society.' Factors outside of the Christians hands also helped the spread of Christianity. During these times the Roman Empire was going through a period of peace, Pax Romana, which greatly helped the spread of Christianity. Being void of distractions such as war, the Romans could turn their attention to other matters. This allowed them to build roads so good many of them are still being used thousands of years later. These roads literally paved the way for the early evangelists and missionaries. Also, the Roman soldiers, with no wars to fight, were able to guard these roads, ensuring safe travel. ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite this early acceptance of Christianity by the Jews, they soon distanced themselves from the Christians, viewing them as something close to a blasphemous cult. Once the Jews had denounced Christianity, persecution and martyrdom became commonplace. The martyrdom of Christians, however, actually helped rather than hindered the spread of Christianity. After the martyrdom of Polycarp we are told that the crowd 'marvelled at the mighty difference between the unbelievers and the elect'. As crowds viewed the strength God provided Blandina during her martyrdom it was inevitable that they would marvel at the power of God and the strength of the martyrs' faith. This helped to both convert non-believers and to affirm the faith of those who were already Christians, providing them with the need to spread the Christian message. Indeed, there were many reasons for the spread of Christianity; some due to the actions of the Holy Spirit, some due to the actions of the early Christians and others that were entirely out of their control. However, it must be said that without the faith of those preaching the message and the acceptance of it by those who heard it, the spread of Christianity could never have been a success. Caitlin McMillan ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Christianity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Christianity essays

  1. What is Christianity? Throughout the history of the world there has never been such ...

    to keep it." The characteristic of this verse differs from the previous commandment to a remembrance of keep it a specific day in the week to dedicate it in a way to set themselves apart from the worries that their daily activities caused them.

  2. The connection between the Jedi Order in Star Wars and Christianity

    Even Darth Vader, the image of evil and devastation, believes in a higher power. Darth Vader displays his beliefs during a meeting on the Death Star. Darth Vader raises his right hand as Commander Tagge's eyes start to swell; Tagge raises his hands to his throat, while Darth Vader says, "I find this lack of faith disturbing" (Lucas 31).

  1. Is there a message for the people of today in the Book of Revelations?

    contains information about the future so again giving reason for many to believe that the messages is as important to today's and the future Christians as it was to the Christians during the time of Johns ministry. Many problems arise today that are parallel with symbols in the book of Revelation.

  2. Canons of Christianity

    This covenant was solidified through the law. Jesus stated that he came to abolish the old law. Jewish faith believes that following the law is what leads to eternal redemption. Abolishing this set of laws would negate the entire foundation of the Jewish faith.

  1. What is Christianity

    In religious practices the commandments perform several aspects in the life of those who practice them. For instance, one of these commandments, in the book of Exodus, chapter 20, verse 3 reads, "You shall have no other gods before me."

  2. Provide examples of the diversity found in Christianity in its first three centuries.

    From it's beginning, the early church claimed that "unity" is an important theological aspect. The quote used in the beginning of the essay was said by Paul who was using the "body" as a metaphor in order to express the Church's unity.

  1. Outline the Roman Empire's attitude to Christianity until the end of the first century.

    However the actual circumstances may have been more complex than will never be understood by ourselves, as banks points out: 'The reasons behind the persecution of Christians included religious, political and social factors which were so inter-related and inter-dependant that it would be historically misleading to separate them out as isolated issues.'

  2. The Impact of Missionaries on the Joti Tribe of Venezuela

    Young children tend not to were anything except for a string around the waist and a bead necklace, which are actually considered signs of modesty. Adult men wear loincloths woven from cotton along with the bead necklace, and adult women wear similar loincloths with their necklaces or wear shirts received from the missionaries.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work