Early Christianity

Early Christianity covers the period from its origins (c. 30–36) until the First Council of Nicaea (325). This period is typically divided into the Apostolic Age (c. 30–100) and the Ante-Nicene Period (c. 100–325).

The first Christians were Jewish Christians, either by birth or conversion ("proselytes" in Biblical terminology).[note 1] Important practices were baptism, which made one a member of the Christian community, and the communal meals, from which the Eucharist developed, the participation in Christ's death and resurrection. Eventually, the inclusion of Gentile God-fearers lead to a departure from Jewish customs, and the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion.

A variety of Christianities developed throughout the 2nd and 3rd century, alongside a developing proto-orthodoxy, which eventually defined orthodoxy and heresy. Proto-orthodoxy developed in tandem with the growing number of Christians, which necessitated the development of ecclesiastical structure.

Early Christians generally used and revered the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) as religious text, mostly in the Greek (Septuagint) or Aramaic (Targum) translations,[1] but also developed their own Canon of the New Testament, which includes the canonical gospels, Acts, letters of the Apostles, and Revelation, all written before 120.[2]


Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as 'The Way' (Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord."[web 1][web 2][note 2] According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" (Greek: Χριστιανός) was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch.[8] The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek: Χριστιανισμός) was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD.[9]

Other Languages
العربية: مسيحية مبكرة
azərbaycanca: Erkən xristianlıq
Deutsch: Alte Kirche
한국어: 초기 기독교
Bahasa Indonesia: Gereja perdana
Nederlands: Vroege christendom
Nedersaksies: Vrogge Kristendom
日本語: 初代教会
norsk nynorsk: Oldkyrkja
Simple English: Early Christianity
slovenčina: Rané kresťanstvo
српски / srpski: Рано хришћанство
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Rano hrišćanstvo
Tiếng Việt: Kitô giáo sơ khai