The Spread of Christianity between
AD 400 and 1600

Those who teach children should read study #67 for children.

1.    Prepare yourself with prayer and the Word to teach your flock about the ancient history of Christianity.

Prayer. “Lord Jesus, help us to learn from history how you bless peoples and nations.”

Find in Acts 19:11-28 what happened when Christianity confronted idolatry.

·         What did God do to honour Jesus? [See verses 11 & 12]

·         What happened when unbelievers tried to use Jesus’ name to cast out demons? [13–17]

·         What should believers do who used to practice magic? [18–20]

·         What will pagan priests and religious people try to do? [21–28]


Christianity from AD 400 to 800

As Asians moved westward, pagan peoples invaded the Roman Empire, weakening it. This had several effects on Christianity:

·         Pagans learned the good news and many became believers.

·         Monasteries, not churches, became centres of faith and learning.

·         The Celts in Ireland started monasteries and evangelized across Europe.

·         The Celts practiced and taught literacy, translating the Bible and other books.     

·         Christian communities were started in South Asia.

·         Nestorian Christians established monastic schools in Central Asia.

·         Nestorian Christianity prospered in China until AD 845.

·         Roman emperor Charlemagne promoted Christianity and justice in the 8th century.

Find in Matthew 24:6-14 what Jesus said his followers would face in the world.

·         What would happen between nations? [See verses 6 & 7]

·         What would happen to Jesus’ followers amongst the nations? [9]

·         What would many people do who have heard about Christianity? [10]

·         What would cause many people to turn away? [11 & 12]

·         What would most Jesus’ true followers have to do during those times? [13]

·         And what would happen to the gospel? [14]


Christianity from AD 800 to 1200

Vikings from the North invaded the centres of wealth in Europe, destroying the monasteries. Later, Islam invaded Asia and Europe. This had several effects on Christianity:

·         Vikings took many Christian captives and learned the gospel from them.

·         Christianity again began spreading through Europe.

·         Many kings and people groups became Christians, at least in name.

·         Christianity was more widespread across Asia than in Europe.

·         Islam tolerated Christianity for a while, but has severely suppressed it to this day.

Note. Nestorian Christians became effective missionaries to many Asian peoples and nations, because they did these things:

·         Most of their mission workers were self-supporting businessmen and merchants.

·         They depended on God to give visions and work miracles to convince unbelievers.

·         They set up educational and medical services in many places.

·         They set up monasteries in dangerous places.

·         They provided on-going training and oversight to shepherds and flocks.

·         However, much of their work was later destroyed because of these things:

·         They did not translate the Bible into local languages.

·         They did not allow local people to lead their own churches.

·         They did not allow local Christians to worship with their own cultural forms.

·         Many were unconverted, nominal church members who lived for wealth and power.


Christianity from AD 1200 to 1600

Christian leaders in Europe and Asia did not allow the Bible to be translated, read by ordinary people or obeyed. This had several bad effects on Christianity.

·         Kings and popes mixed politics with religion to increase their wealth and power.

·         Between 1095 and 1350, Europeans conducted crusades against Muslims, Jews and Asian Christians, slaughtering many and seizing their land.

·         Much of Central Asia converted to Islam when defeated in war.

·         Nestorian Christianity in China was wiped out by the Ming dynasty from AD 1368.

·         Muslim emperor Tamerlane (1336-1405) wiped out most of Christianity in Asia.

·         Franciscan and Dominican Christians sought peaceful ways to do mission among Muslims.

2.    Plan with your co-workers activities for the coming week.

Read together Part 1 of this study and note some things that Christians should do. Plan how you and the believers will do similar things in your community.

Meet with novice shepherds whom you train and teach them about church history from this study or about another topic that they need. Use the PTLT menu.

3.    Plan with your co-workers the up-coming worship.

Have believers read the Scriptures mentioned in Part 1 about how the apostles spread the Good News about Jesus.

Explain how believers shared the Good News in the middle 400 years of Christian history (AD 1200 – 1600).

Let the believers testify about how God has helped them remain true to Him during times of persecution or rejection.

Let the children present the drama that they have prepared.

To celebrate the Lord’s Table, read Revelation 20:4 and briefly explain that Jesus was a martyr and all who die for him will reign with him.

Memorize together Matthew 10:32.

Let small groups of two and three plan, pray and encourage one another.


Viking raiders destroyed much of European Christianity.
However, many Vikings later became Christians