Through the kind permission of Wipf and Stock publishers, a free excerpt of Mission in the Early Church is now available for download HERE. Included in the excerpt is the first chapter entitled, "Backgrounds" and here is a small taste:
Any decent commentary on a book of Scripture will first include a section on background questions. Who was the author? The audience? From where was the book written? Where did the audience live? What was their history and what were their issues? What was the author’s purpose in writing? A thrilling investigation for some students, others quickly rush through the background matter to get on to the weightier matters of exegesis. Yet, hopefully, the latter group will eventually learn that some of the most exciting exegetical discoveries come through a useful background study of the context.
If this book is a commentary on mission in the early church, then the present chapter serves as that necessary background check that will surely unlock some mysteries and shine light on the practice and thought of early Christian mission. We will begin by asking, briefly so, where were they Christians in the world in the first eight and a half centuries? This first question will largely address the origins and initial development of Christianity in each region. Second, what were the political and social contexts in which missionaries labored? Finally, what were the currents of thought— religions, philosophies, and worldview—that the church encountered in its missionary expansion?
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