Reading Early Christians

A window into the history of our faith

Discovering Something Beautiful

Over the past year or so I have grown in my desire to read older Christian works. It all started with reading Puritan Paperbacks. The Puritan Paperback series is a collection of books written by Puritans (Christians who lived from 1500-1800). These books have been such a blessing to me as I continue to discover more authors from this era. My favorite puritan author I have read so far is John Bunyan, a very familiar name. He wrote the famous book "The Pilgrims Progress", an amazing allegorical work on the life of a Christian. As I read Bunyan, and the other puritans, I see that they had such rich theology, but they also had a very strong sense of how to apply their theological knowledge.

After a while of reading and learning more about these puritans, I realize that I was drawn to their spirituality. These men partook in the same exact faith as me, and they exemplified Christ in such a beautiful way. Their reliance on the Spirit and utter dependence upon Christ began to draw me further into the works of these men, and the works of even earlier Christians. I soon began to read works by Saint Augustine, a Christian man who was born in 354AD and died in 430AD. I started off by reading Saint Augustine's Confessions. In this book, Augustine writes an autobiography of his life in the form of a prayer to God. Not only does this book have really awe-some theological truths about God, but the journey Augustine takes throughout his life is inspiring. One of the most impactful things in this book for me was how Augustine highlighted his sin and his struggles, not only before he was a Christian but while he was a believer as well. It was encouraging to see such a titan of the Christian faith struggle just as I do.

Again, another thing that I really noticed and loved about Saint Augustine was his spirituality. You can see that he was indwelt with the Spirit and relied upon Christ. And seeing this in all these men really got me thinking about my own faith. What was it about these men that made them such a great example of Christian spirituality?

The answer I most frequently land on is really simple, but very powerful. These men ACTUALLY believed what was in God's word! They actually believed they were indwelt with the Spirit of God. They believed fully in Christ's life, death, and resurrection. These men made these beliefs the foundation to their entire lives. And that is where they inspire me. They have inspired me to not only learn about God by studying the Bible and theology, but to also love the Lord! Their lives demonstrate an absolute abandonment of this world for Christ.

My prayer to God is that we all would discover and seek after true dependence upon Christ with our whole being. It's really easy to compartmentalize our faith from the rest of our lives. However, if there is one thing I have seen from reading these old Christian men, our faith is to be present in everything we do, and in all that we are. So, lets seek to make Christ our foundation where everything is built upon.

Here are a couple of works by the authors mentioned in this article that I really enjoy!