Christian Community Room
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Christian Community Room
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Upper Room Jerusalem

Upper Room JerusalemWithin a decade of "a great multitude" of Christians in Rome suffering martyrdom under Nero's persecution, (64-68 AD) there was no suggestion in the sources that the victims represented all or even a majority of Christians there. Both in Palestine and beyond, the first generation Christian mission won a much greater following than is usually supposed according to "Pauline Theology - Ministry and Society" by E. Earl Ellis (1926-2010). Acts gave us a picture of early believers regularly gathering in Christian community rooms and upper rooms. Two possibilities presented themselves, that the early Christians rented a room that was partly a domestic residence or that a Christian benefactor and homeowner set aside a community room, or an entire level of rooms, for that purpose in his or her own house.✞

Much Greater Following

PhariseesThere is evidence from Second Temple Pharisees confirming that second floor halls and dining rooms were used as a place of study and meetings of the "brotherhood." The problem for early Christians of securing a sufficient number of houses for their assemblies may have found its solution in contemporary Judaism. Most synagogues in the day were rooms in houses. Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids told us in "Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Development" that the majority of early believers residing in Jerusalem were Jews, and their number included individuals who had financial means. It is plausible that some of these Jewish Christians had formerly opened their houses or parts of them to the synagogue community. It would have been natural for these patrons, having now become followers of Jesus, to use the same facilities as a Christian meeting room in the community.✞

"Christian Community Room"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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