The 10 Best History of Christianity Books

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This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in February of 2018. Atheists and believers alike can benefit from these history of Christianity books, as they take you deep into the backstory behind one of the Earth's dominant religions. Regardless of whether you're well-versed in the faith or a complete neophyte, you'll discover something new in their pages, while also learning more about how the modern world has been shaped by its rise to prominence. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

2. Turning Points

3. A History of God

Editor's Notes

April 09, 2020:

Sourcing top-notch books on the history of Christianity is tricky for a few reasons. It's a notoriously complex subject that spans thousands of years, so comprehensive histories are either exceptionally long or must abridge and leave out certain concepts and occurrences. Author bias, whether in favor or against, is hard to avoid completely, on top of the fact that many ancient sources can be interpreted in different ways.

Bearing all this in mind, we curated some of the best, most accessible, neutral, and respectful tomes we could find. We included thorough volumes that span thousands of years, like Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years and Church History in Plain Language, some that focused on key events, such as Turning Points, and one account from an acclaimed ancient source in Eusebius: The Church History. Those considering the origins of the subject should be equally pleased with Tried by Fire and The First Thousand Years. Each of these focuses on that initial millennium but views it through a different lens. The former examines key figures who have been targeted and punished for their beliefs while the latter narrates via a selection of particularly noteworthy figures and events.

Today's update saw the removal of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, which suffers from strong complaints regarding its bias and apologetic tone. Many readers found its imbalanced approach made it difficult to trust the material. We also said goodbye to A Short History of Christianity, which is meant to be concise but manages to gloss over some pretty important topics, which we feel isn't in step with what readers searching for these books want.

We added Tom Holland's "Dominion" and A History of God in their place. We felt it was important to include at least one survey of Christianity that also focused on Judaism and Islam to give readers a full account and understanding of the religion in a broader scope. Dominion found a spot on this list thanks to its placing Christianity in context with the modern era and explaining how it has affected ideas for both religious people and non-believers. An example of this is the concept that all humans have inherent worth, regardless of wealth or status. Both books are credited for having easily understood, lilting prose and enlightening takes that make you stop and think.

For further elucidation on the subject, consider checking out our list of books that help readers understand Christianity.

Special Honors

Learn Religions Learn Religions is a rich resource for those curious about the many facets of belief systems from all over the world. Their mission is to help readers explore their own faiths and those of their neighbors, as well as get a grasp on the world’s major religions. You’ll find a library of study guides, prayers, devotionals, and reference documents that offer credible and balanced coverage of prominent faiths, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Taoism.

Zondervan Academic Zondervan Academic is the world’s leading Christian publisher of academic content since 1931. They offer self-paced courses set by renowned Christian scholars, authors, and teachers. Students can choose from wide-sweeping classes on historical theology and biblical interpretation as well as focused courses on readings from the book of Romans, Galatians, Daniel, and much more.

4. Church History in Plain Language

5. Tom Holland's "Dominion"

6. The First Thousand Years

7. Tried by Fire

8. How Christianity Changed the World

9. Eusebius: The Church History

10. The Christian World

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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