Historians know stuff about Christianity that most of us don’t. Below are some easy options to learn from the comfort of your computer or mobile device.
Here are 2 excellent introductory video lecture series from Yale University.
– Paul Johnson’s A History of Christianity (1976) - excellent single volume history of Christianity overview.
– Dominion; How the Christian Revolution Remade the World (2019), by Tom Holland - excellent one two punch with the book above. Read both of them back to back.
– The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, by Bart Ehrman - This is perhaps the best introductory text book on the topic, used by the best universities in the USA.
– Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman
– A Concise History of the Catholic Church, by Thomas Bokenkotter
– Paul and Jesus; How the apostle transformed Christianity, by James D. Tabor
– The Amazing Colossal Apostle, by Robert M. Price
– The Church History of the First Three Centuries (1878) by Ferdinand Christian Baur
– Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, by Walter Bauer
– On the Historicity of Jesus, by Richard Carrier
– Jesus: A Life, by A.N. Wilson
– Paul: The Mind of the Apostle, by A.N. Wilson
– The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, by David Friedrich Strauss (free audiobook via LibriVox.org) - Warning… this is a very difficult book to read (not a beginners book, because it assumes you are familiar with many aspects of the subject already), but it is also perhaps the best book ever written on the “historical Jesus”. It also totally changed the industry, and the way Christianity was understood.
– Let the Reader Understand: Reader-Response Criticism and the Gospel of Mark (1991) by Robert M. Fowler
– History of God (1993) by Karen Armstrong
– The Bible for Dummies - Adequate (but disappointing in many places) intro to the topic, better material than you’ll find at most most church group studies. Recommended because you can probably find it in most large bookstores at any time.
– Christianity for Dummies - Adequate (but disappointing in many places) intro to the topic, better material than you’ll find at most most church group studies. More broad than the book listed above. Includes more material that most people want to know. Most people don’t want to know about the Bible, they want to know about why different Christian groups do x or y, that is different than the Christian group they belong to. This book is better for that. Recommended because you can probably find it in most large bookstores at any time.
– You can kick back and listen to the Bible any time. Start here with the Gospel of Mark. You can move to any place in the Bible you want, and if you check the “continuous play” checkbox, it will read from that spot and, like the energizer bunny, keep going, and going…
– An Online Bible with tools is always handy. This site allows you to look at virtually any version of the Bible that you like, and even look at all the versions of any passage of the Bible at the same time.
– From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians (1998) PBS Frontline TV show