When did the Gospel first reach Europe?

It is common to hear preachers say that the Gospel first came to Europe when Paul responded to the Macedonian call, ‘Come over into Macedonia and help us’ Act 16:9.  This is wrong, and it is one of many manifestations of the readiness to copy ideas without checking out if they are true.

The Gospel reached Europe long before Paul took it to Macedonia.  On the day of Pentecost, when the apostle Peter preached to thousands in Jerusalem, there were visitors from far and wide in Jerusalem, including Rome Act 2:10 where there was a Jewish community Act 18:2.  About 3000 people were baptised as Christians that day and took the Gospel back to their home districts as far apart as Libya and Rome in the west to Persia and Mesopotamia in the east Act 2:9-11.

Macedonia is north of Greece and the first reference to Rome by name in Scripture is at Act 2:10.  The Gospel was in Rome from the earliest days of the Christian church.

The Jews, including Christians, were expelled from Rome (Act 18:2) by the Roman emperor Claudius about 49AD, so that the Roman church may have been the first purely Gentile Christian church.

When the Jews were allowed to return to Rome during the reign of emperor Nero, some exiled Jewish Christians returned there and then Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans expressing his long-held desire to visit the church in Rome Rom 1:10-11 ,which he eventually did as a prisoner in Roman custody Act 28:16, after appealing to Caesar Act 25:11, who was Nero by that time.

At present, the Jewish community in Rome considers itself to be the oldest Jewish community in Europe.

Examples of this common mistake:

These are the first six Google searches of ‘when Gospel to Europe’ and all of them repeat the same mistake.  There are many more examples.  In over 40 years of listening, I have never heard a preacher get it right.

William Dool Killen on BibleHub.com

A. J. Pollock on Stempublishing website

Herbert Hunt on TruthUnity website

Andrew Miller on BibleTruth website

Brian Zahnd

P. G. Matthew on GraceValley website

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.