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pageId="iii"Oxford Bible Atlas Contextualizes the stories and lands of the Bible through user-friendly maps and illustrations.

The Cradle of Christianity

Adrian Curtis

The early development of Christianity owed much to the church in Jerusalem and its outreach into Judea and surrounding areas (see ‘The Ministry of Jesus and the Beginnings of the Church’ ) and the travels and letter‐writing of Paul (see ‘Paul's Journeys’ ). Witness to this is found predominantly in Acts and the Pauline Epistles. Acts also mentions Apollos, a native of Alexandria who had been ‘instructed in the Way of the Lord’ and who ‘taught accurately the things concerning Jesus’ (Acts 18: 24–19: 1; see also 1 Cor. 1: 12 ). This suggests the presence of a church in Alexandria, but its origins are unknown.

©Corbis (Michael Boys)

It has been suggested that Paul may have been released from his first imprisonment in Rome and that he subsequently made further journeys, visiting again Troas, Miletus, and Corinth (2 Tim. 4: 13, 20 ), leaving Titus in Crete (Tit. 1: 5 ) and intending to spend the winter in Nicopolis (Tit. 3: 12 ). That suggestion was based on the assumption that Paul wrote the Pastoral Epistles, but this view is no longer widely held. Nevertheless, these letters suggest an awareness of Christian communities in those cities. The salutation in 1 Peter 1: 1 suggests that the letter was addressed to Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. In about 112 Pliny, the governor of Bithynia, found many Christians there, some of whom had been converted over twenty years earlier. John, the writer of Revelation, may have been banished to the island of Patmos during the persecutions under the emperor Domitian (81–96). In the early chapters of Revelation, John addresses the ‘seven churches that are in Asia’ (Rev. 1: 4 ): Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Tradition associates the ongoing activity of the apostle John with Ephesus.

©Corbis (Michael Boys)

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