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THE BIBl.E STUDY UNION (or BLAKESl.EE) GRADED l.ESSONS

FOR SUNDAY-SCHOOlS AND BIBlE ClASSES

Young People's Course

THE

HISTORY OF THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH

PROGRESSIVE GRADE

WItH

WR1TTEN-ANSWER QUESTIONS

FOR YOunG PeOPle AnD ADultS

EDITORS

Rev. ERASTUS BLAKESLEE and Prof. PHILIP A. nORDELL, D.D.

REVISED EDITION

THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHInG CO.
95 South Street
Boston, MASS.

INTRODUCTION

PREFACE

This course of lessons is designed to set forth clearly and briefly the history of the establishment, extension, and training of the Christian Church during the Apostolic period, as related in the New Testament. While the material for study is taken mainly from the Acts, use is also made of the very considerable historical matter contained in the epistles, and of such similar material as may be found in the Book of Revelation and indirectly in the Gospels.

In view of the fact that the Scripture material covered by this course includes more than half of the New Testament, and that in many instances the Scripture sections on which single lessons are based embrace several chapters, it is extremely important to bear in mind that this material is presented in outline only, and not minutely or in detail. The special object of this course is to get merely a general view of the history; the particulars can be studied later. This method of study applies particularly to the lessons from the epistles and the Book of Revelation. A single lesson may suffice for an exceedingly interesting and profitable study of a book or epistle as related to the general historical movement in which it originated, whereas months may be required for detailed study of its doctrinal and ethical contents.

That much of the material in this portion of the New Testament cannot be understood without thoughtful consideration is admitted on all hands. The editors have not, however, for this reason felt justified in excluding from consideration in the upper grades of the Sunday-school some of the most important portions of Scripture. They believe that the greatest excellence in Sunday-school lessons is that they be instructive and spiritually helpful, and that persons who wish to cultivate an acquaintance with the word of God will not begrudge the honest work demanded to secure that end, any more than they do the effort necessary to secure any other useful knowledge. The plea that in order to hold the scholars Sunday-school lessons must be made so easy as to involve no work defeats itself, since such lessons not only fail to inspire those who do not wish to study, but disappoint and repel those who do. On the other hand, experience has abundantly shown that an appeal to the earnest desire to know niore about the Bible commonly meets a hearty response.

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