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A Case for Christian History

By April 23, 2024April 26th, 2024No Comments

Christians, Study Your History.

Have you ever stopped to consider how much time the Bible spends on history?

The basic questions of “who did what, when, and why” are clearly very important to God. In fact, various Bible study projects and resources estimate that nearly 40% of the Bible is written as narrative history (the other categories being poetry/psalms and instruction).

It’s almost as if the Author of Life has a story He’s trying to tell.

And yet, we live in a time where history is less popular than ever. We can see it on the bookshelves—the drive for the new and the next dominates the landscape of Christian and secular writing everywhere you look.

There is a certain safety in what’s new. It hasn’t had the time to be torn down in favor of the next. But if we only look at what’s next, we miss thousands of examples from faithful men and women who experienced redemption and sought God’s Will.

When we do examine the testimonies of past believers, we all too quickly move on if we don’t find perfection. And it’s all too natural to forget our own flaws as we examine those of others. 

David’s sins. Peter’s betrayal. The errors of church history. Certainly we would never make those same mistakes, would we?

We will if we don’t know our history.

We too are flawed and capable of the same sins. We too need redemption. And we too can seek His Kingdom on earth, following in the footsteps of Christ-followers who have gone before.

Then Applied to Now

What then should we study? Where can we start in our efforts to understand our past in order to apply it to today?

  1. The Bible
    You didn’t see this one coming, did you? All of our study of history is for naught if we fail to first study the history which God has divinely inspired in His Word. Spending time with the apostles in the book of Acts or a study of Israel in Judges is guaranteed by the Lord to achieve the purpose for which it is sent (Isaiah 55:11).
  1. Church History
    It is always a worthy endeavor to trace the development of Christian theology, practices, and institutions from the early church to the present day. That’s because, despite the victories in thought and practice that were achieved in ages past, some of those disagreements and outright heresies have a way of resurfacing in our present day.
  1. World History
    Christianity’s impact on the world is unquestioned. In nearly every historical event, you can find Triune God-fearing men and women engaging with the difficult issues of the day, fighting in battles for truth and life, and seeking to live godly lives in what was their “present age” (Titus 2:12).”
  1. Missionary History
    Learn about Christian missions and their impact across diverse regions, studying the successes and challenges associated with taking the Gospel to all nations (Matthew 28:19). Insights and fresh encouragement to live by faith abound in the biographies of missionaries.
  1. Confessional History
    There is great beauty and depth of thought in some of the historic confessions of the faith. Even if you do not agree on every point of the 1689 Baptist Confession, the study of it will at least give some perspective on what Baptists believed over 300 years ago—a measuring stick for where we are today and a study tool that would serve you well as a starting point for discipleship.

As Christians, we must not let wisdom from past teachers and disciples be relegated to dusty pages of history. 

The lives of those who have gone before us are not trivial. 

As we study history, may we freshly consider the truth that God so clearly gives us in Hebrews 11. Many God-fearing men and women have gone before us. Their faith ought to be our example, our encouragement, and a guide to right living in this present day. 

Were they perfect? No, and neither are we. 

Were they commended to us as examples of faith? Yes, and we would do well to go and do even better.


Baptist Church Planters exists to help church leaders build healthy disciple-making churches. If you or your church need support or resources to love God and love others, please reach out to us today. We’d love to help.