Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Church Fathers (Recommend)

You need to read the Church Fathers. Their books and letters aren't (usually) long reads, and they are super helpful. If you read them, you will understand the Bible better. Some of these guys knew the apostles and had the ability to clear up a confusing passage for their readers. And you'll also be encouraged by writings like The Life of Saint Antony, a biography of the early Christian father of the Desert Monk movement. If understanding the Bible and finding encouragement aren't enough for you, books like the Apologies of Justin Martyr and the Dialogue With Trypho are great examples of how to talk Christianity with a hostile, unbelieving, surrounding culture--both Jews (Trypho) and Pagans (Apologies). So you have every reason to read the early Christians; you will end up smarter about the Bible, more encouraged to live the Christian life, and better able to share your faith with non-Christians. Here's my suggested reading list, with links to free online editions of each book.

Ignatius of Antioch - On his way to be killed for the faith in Rome sometime in 98-117 AD, Ignatius wrote seven letters to the different churches and people that he knew. He was a direct student of John the Apostle (the guy who wrote the Gospel of John).

St. Antony the Great - The father of the Desert Monk movement in the 200's-300's AD. Athanasius, who was one of the great forces behind the writing of the Nicene Creed, wrote an awesome biography of Antony's life.

Justin Martyr - The first Christian Apologist (someone who defends the faith); Justin Martyr wrote two works (Apology 1 and 2) directed to Pagans and one directed to the Jews. Really educational reading. He died about 150 AD.


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