Early Christian Expansion
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Extended Household 81

In the Roman Empire

Map of the extent of the Roman EmpireArthur G. Patzia writes in, "The Emergence of the Church - Context, Growth, Leadership and Worship" "When Brad Blue writes about the early Christian expansion 'throughout the Empire, house by house,' he captures well a significant principle of Paul's missionary strategy." When Paul's attempt to evangelize the Jews in the synagogues of the Diaspora failed, he was forced to turn to the Gentiles. Many of his first converts were entire "households," with the "heads" of each house probably becoming the benefactors or patrons of the church by offering their homes as meeting places. Such leaders probably would have taken responsibility for the weekly gatherings of fellowship, worship and the study of Scripture in the family home.

Household Units

Extended HouseholdThe structure of the household had a significant impact upon early expansion in the Hellenistic world. The household family house was a social unit that included both the nuclear and extended family under the headship of the householder, who had complete authority over all the members. In many cases such a household included slaves, freed persons, servants, laborers, business associates and tenants. The household was used for gatherings of social, professional and religious clubs or guilds. The owner probably was the leader of such meetings or at least was considered the benefactor or patron.

"Early Christian Expansion"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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