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From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation

ISBN: 9780664239053
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Did Jesus intend to found a church separate from Judaism? Who were the very first followers of Jesus? And how did a clash between two families—the family of Jesus on one hand and the family of high priest Annas and their aristocratic allies on the other—eventually lead to the formation of Christianity? In this study, bestselling author Craig A. Evans looks at how a tumultuous chain of events from 30 to 70 AD led to the separation between early Christ-followers and other Jews. Evans examines key questions such as whether Jesus actually intended to found the Christian Church, what Jesus’ proclamation of the “Kingdom of God” meant for first generation Christians, the role of James (brother of Jesus) in the new movement, the tension between James and Paul, and the perspective of Christians on the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish rebellion. Evans draws these events together in an accessible volume that will help modern Christians understand the background of the New Testament they read, and interpret it with clear ideas of its historical backdrop.

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Key Features

  • Examines the early development of the church in the years following Jesus’ death
  • Focuses on key personalities and leaders in the early Christian church
  • Fills in historical gaps left by the New Testament about the arly church


  • Introduction
  • Did Jesus Intend to Found a Church?
  • From Kingdom of God to Church of Christ
  • James as Leader of the Jesus Community
  • Phinehan Zeal and Works of the Law: What Paul and James are Really Saying
  • Jerusalem Communities in Conflict
  • The Church between Paul, James, and Ignatius
  • Appendix: Root Causes of the Jewish-Christian Rift: From Jesus to Justin

Top Highlights

“The shift from kingdom of God to church of Christ corresponds to the shift from the Jesus who proclaims (the kingdom), to the Jesus who is proclaimed (by the church).” (Page 38)

“Jesus speaks of authority on earth because the Son of man has received his authority from God in heaven (as depicted in Dan. 7:9–14). Having received his authority from heaven, Jesus now exercises it in his ministry on earth.” (Page 49)

“The word usually translated ‘church’ in the Greek New Testament is ekklēsia. In the New Testament the word occurs some 114 times. But it also occurs some 100 times in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Most of the occurrences of ekklēsia in the Septuagint translate forms of qahal, whose basic meaning as a noun is ‘assembly’ or ‘congregation’ and as a verb is ‘to assemble.’ The Christian word ‘church’ comes from the Greek adjective, kyriakos, which means ‘of the Lord’ or ‘the Lord’s’ (cf. 1 Cor. 11:20, ‘the Lord’s supper’; Rev. 1:10, ‘on the Lord’s day’). Accordingly, ‘church’ is an anglicized and abbreviated form of hē ekklēsia hē kyriakē, ‘the Lord’s assembly.’” (Page 18)

“What we may have here in the Letter of James, written perhaps fifteen years or so after the death of Jesus, is a glimpse of the life of the Christian community in a very early stage, when there was little distinction between synagōgē and ekklēsia, a time when a leader of the Jesus movement could live in Jerusalem and compete for the hearts and minds of his fellow Jews, not in order to lead them out of Israel, but to lead them toward the fulfillment of what God had promised Israel.” (Page 37)

Praise for the Print Edition

[A]nyone interested in early Christianity, especially the period from Christ to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, should read From Jesus to the Church. This book is also a treat for anyone interested in Christianity’s Jewish background and as well as noncanonical Jewish texts. Evans has an astounding knowledge of deuterocanonical texts and Qumran scrolls that shed much light on the topics he discusses. This is a short book with a wealth of information that is both accessible for laypeople enjoyable for scholars. I highly recommend it.

—Jennifer Guo, jenniferguo.wordpress.com

  • Title: From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation
  • Author: Craig A. Evans
  • Edition: First edition
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox
  • Print Publication Date: 2014
  • Logos Release Date: 2016
  • Pages: 208
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Church history › Primitive and early church, ca. 30-600
  • ISBNs: 9780664239053, 0664239056
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T00:51:46Z

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Craig A. Evans

Craig A. Evans (PhD, Claremont) is an internationally known and respected New Testament scholar, apologist and author who serves as the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at Houston Baptist University. He has written extensively on the historical Jesus and the Jewish background of the New Testament era. A prolific writer, Evans has published more than seventy books and over 500 journal articles and reviews, and his books have been translated into several languages. His academic and popular books include Jesus and the Jihadis, Fabricating Jesus, From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation, Jesus, The Final Days: What Really Happened (co-authored with N. T. Wright), Jesus and His Contemporaries, Matthew (in the Word Biblical Commentary) and Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies. His edited volumes include Studying the Historical Jesus, Dictionary of New Testament Background and Christian Beginnings and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Evans has lectured at several prominent universities and seminaries around the world, including Cambridge, Durham and Oxford in the United Kingdom, Princeton and Yale in the United States, and Hebrew University and Ben Gurion University in Israel. Uniquely skilled to communicate biblical scholarship through the media, Dr. Evans has reaffirmed the uniqueness and supremacy of Jesus Christ to millions of people on television, radio and in print media including Dateline NBC, National Geographic ChannelDiscovery Channel, The History Channel, The BBC, New York Times, Global TV, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. In addition, he served as consultant for <em>The Bible</em> television miniseries, viewed by over 100 million Americans.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


3 ratings

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  1. Alessandro



  2. Marco Ceccarelli
    C. Evans is a great scholar and I enjoy reading his books. I although regret in this one the (massive) use of rabbinic literature for the interpretation of NT texts

  3. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    This scholarly book examines the relationship between the Christian Church and the Religious Leaders of Israel during the First Century and into the early Second. Especially interesting is the examination of the Family of Jesus / James and the Family of Annas - and this is a fine book when it comes to getting an introduction to the Religious and Political Leaders of Israel in the First Century. I also appreciated the use and coverage of various Targums. This is an area in which I am still very much a novice - but a fascinating one when it comes to understanding the Judaism of the New Testament. Though this is a relatively short book, and is quite easy to read, it is aimed at an audience that is familiar with scholarly approaches. I think the Author is almost teasing a level of intrigue at times but seems reluctant. I think perhaps an appendix that included a narrative approach to what the Author thinks as most likely is happening between the two families mentioned above, would've made the book a little more satisfying. It is a good read, just seems to be lacking something - maybe it is something akin to the appendix I just suggested - or maybe it was just a little too short... I liked that it did include for "Further Reading" section :)

Enjoy February's Monthly Sale!


Digital list price: $19.99
Regular price: $15.99
Save $4.80 (30%)