Before we start our long, meaningful journey into church history, there is a crucial point that needs to be made. The word “church” truly begins in the New Testament, but we must see that church history starts even further than that. Church history has a beautiful Jewish backdrop. We must realize that the apostles did not see themselves starting a new religion. The Groom of the church is the Messiah that was promised by the prophets of the Old Testament, all the way back to Genesis. The God of the New Testament is the same God of the Old Testament. We must never forget that fact. What passages were quoted in the New Testament? What passages did the Apostles use to preach the gospel? The Old Testament is obviously the answer to both. There is a very strong Jewish character to the New Testament, and it needs to be understood in that way.
Jesus, the Christ, was a devout Jew. He went to the synagogues. He partook in all the festivals. He truly obeyed the Law of God. Jesus was a better Jew than all Jews put together. And, the greatest Jew to ever walk on the face of the earth is the Savior of the church. So, the roots of the church are very deep in Judaism.
God has been revealing Himself to His people since the beginning of mankind. We as His people must start studying the Old Testament or we will miss out on many truths that explain God’s relationship with His church, how God desires to be worshiped by His church, the atonement of Christ for His church, and many, many other Old Testament truths that help us understand the New Testament teachings for the church.
So, even though the biblical term of “church” did not appear until the New
Testament, God has been growing and working through His people since the beginning of all things. In reality, church history began when God breathed life for the first time.