Church: the early years describes the churches that were to be found during the first century AD that is about seventy years after the death of Jesus Christ. The term for church, “ekklesia” in Greek, occurs over 100 times in the New Testament. Some churches are well described, others simply referred to in passing and yet others can be reasonably inferred from what is known about the area or the people. In these early years of Christianity the word church meant something very different to what many people understand it to mean today. It meant the people not the building they met in. These new believers had no specially constructed building as they used the temple court in Jerusalem, synagogues until they were expelled, hired halls, or private houses. Some things would have been familiar to us although in unfamiliar surroundings, the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and the communion or breaking of bread and baptisms. Preaching from the Jewish Scriptures, the Christians Old Testament and increasingly from the books and letters circulating from writers such as the apostles that today are known as the New Testament. The vestments used in services of the church would have been missing and the meetings would probably not have been well advertised for fear of persecution either by hostile Jews, other religious groups or the Roman authorities. It was partly the persecution of these first Christians that led to the rapid spread of the good news about Jesus Christ coming to earth dying and rising again as a sacrifice for sin to all who repent and turn to God in faith. The other big influence in the spread of the faith were the missionary endeavours of fearless believers who travelled widely on the Roman roads and sea routes that were available at this time. Perhaps the most well know of these preachers was the apostle Paul.
This short eBook traces the churches through the Roman provinces that surrounded the Mediterranean Sea and lists them in alphabetical order with the towns and cities also in order within each province. A short bibliography is given at the end of the book for the reader to start a more in-depth study. It is hoped that the book will help people understand more about the bible and the Christian faith.