Persecution of the Early Church


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In today’s Christain Religious Studies class, We will be discussing the Persecution of the Early Church. We hope you enjoy the class!




  • Meaning of Persecution
  • Reasons for Persecution of Christians (1 Peter 1: 3-17, 4: 2-19)
  • Ways to Curb Persecution


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Persecution is an act of treating people in a cruel and unfair way especially because of their religion, race or political beliefs. In the case of the early church, persecution was the stiff opposition to the gospel of Christ in a severe manner to stop the propagation of the gospel. There were several acts of persecution against the early church. One of such was the killing of Stephen, a vibrant deacon in the days of the apostles. This persecution was basically from the religious class who were majorly the upper class in the society to stop the disciples from spreading the gospel. This religious class constitute the priests and the scribes who didn’t want to lose their reputation and relevance in society. Saul, one of the major persecutors was a scribe and he was the one who supervised the killing of Stephen. The disciples experienced terrible persecution in the early days of the church, some died and some had to run away from Jerusalem. Some were arrested and detained in prison, some were beaten mercilessly and left half dead. But to the glory of God, they survived this and were able to pass Christianity to the next generation.

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Stephen Being Stoned to Death


  1. The religious and political leaders in Jerusalem did not want to lose their reputation and relevance in society.
  2. The Elites wanted to maintain status quo in their religious and political settings.
  3. The leaders did not believe in Jesus Christ. They knew Him as the son of Joseph the carpenter and they also knew Mary as the wife of Joseph. To them, both parents were poor and were not significant in society.
  4. They were expecting a political and economic leader who would liberate Israel from the oppression of the mighty nations around them.
  5. They also persecuted the Christians because of the financial gains they have been gaining from their present political and religious settings.
  6. To oppose and stop the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  7. To frustrate and intimidate the disciples.
  8. To maintain the religious dominance of Judaism as the best and accepted religion by God over others.



  1. The number one way to curb persecution is to have the mind of God towards others. To love people just the way God loves them.
  2. Another way to curb persecution is to pray for the persecutors because the Bible says that we do not wrestle against blood and flesh.
  3. Knowledge is an inevitable tool in curbing persecution.
  4. Total submission to the will of God is a necessary tool to curb persecution.



  1. What is persecution?
  2. Explain the persecution against the early church.



  1. Discuss three ways of checking persecution.
  2. Highlight five reasons for persecuting the early Christians by the authority.
  3. What two lessons are in the persecution of the early Christians for the present-day Christians?
  4. Discuss two issues to prove that persecution is still happening in recent time.



  1. Christian Religious Knowledge for JSS. BK 3, by T.N.O Quarcoopome et al. Chapter 3, page 41.
  2. Christian Religious Knowledge for JSS. BK 3, by Adeyinka. et al. Chapter 3, page 22,




  1. Persecution of the early Christians took place in (a) Jericho (b)  Jerusalem  (c)  Jordan  (d)  Joppa
  2. The first martyr of the gospel was (a) Peter (b)  Jesus  (c)  Stephen  (d) Paul
  3. The most significant person among the persecutors was (a)  Saul  (b) Pilate  (c)  Demas  Aristophanes
  4. Persecution was against the church for the following reasons except for (a) continuation of the egoistic life of the leaders (b)  sanity in the religious setting  (c) to put a stop to the spread of the gospel  (d)  to continue to exploit the religious people of the land.
  5. Christians need the following to curb persecution except for (a)  faith  (b) money  (c)  prayer  (d)  ego



  1. What are the differences between the persecution in the early church and the persecution in the present day?
  2. Discuss five means Christians can adopt to avoid the spread of persecution.



We have come to the end of this class. We do hope you enjoyed the class?

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

In our next class, we will be talking about the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. We are very much eager to meet you there.


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