We spent 24 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Atheists and believers alike will benefit from devouring these history of Christianity books, as they take you deep into the backstory behind one of the Earth’s dominant religions. Regardless of whether you’re well-versed in the faith or a complete neophyte, you’ll discover something new in their pages, while also learning more about how the modern world has been shaped by its rise to prominence. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

10. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization links the rise of Biblical teaching to revelations in art, science, and economics. It’s a good primer for anyone wanting to see how the religion fits into world history as a whole, though it’s far from objective.

  • Special focus on the dark ages
  • Challenges long-held assumptions
  • Ignores church’s misdeeds

Brand Thomas E Woods Jr
Model pending
Weight 14.9 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. The Christian World

While most chronicles focus on Western believers, The Christian World covers Africa, Asia, and more. It’s an excellent complement to other books, helping to fill in the blanks that traditional histories tend to leave behind, especially in regards to the developing world.

  • Filled with entertaining anecdotes
  • Good for beginners
  • Author’s biases creep in at times

Brand Martin E Marty
Model pending
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

8. Eusebius: The Church History

If you want a recounting of the faith’s early days straight from the horse’s mouth, Eusebius: The Church History showcases the religion’s first three centuries from the perspective of a man who lived to see some of it. It’s a little dry for bedtime reading, however.

  • Lots of detail on martyrs
  • Includes historical summaries
  • Skimps on development of doctrines

Brand Kregel Publications
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. A Short History of Christianity

Reading like a Who’s Who of the ideology, A Short History of Christianity covers all of the faith’s important figures and events in a breezy, conversational tone. Broken up in hundred-year increments, it moves swiftly without leaving readers behind.

  • Written with a wry sense of humor
  • Engaging journalistic style
  • Gives short shrift to some topics

Brand Wm B Eerdmans Publishin
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Tried by Fire

Focusing on the origins of the Gospels, Tried by Fire tells the stories of the monks, saints, and others who kept the religion alive when believers were being fiercely opposed — and even executed — by disapproving governments and despots.

  • Filled with heroes and villains
  • Easy-to-consume bite-sized chapters
  • Prose can be dry and heavy

Brand HarperCollins Christian
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. How Christianity Changed the World

Rather than focus on the background of the Church, How Christianity Changed the World traces the impact that the religion has had on the globe. It provides a healthy look at how everything from charity to modern medicine have been affected by Jesus’s teachings.

  • Includes photos and timelines
  • Discussion questions in each chapter
  • Unabashedly favors believers

Brand Zondervan
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. The First Thousand Years

The First Thousand Years catalogs the religion’s transition from fledgling belief system to global powerhouse, culminating in its struggle with Islam to register a foothold in the Middle East and northern Africa halfway through its existence.

  • Focuses on early leaders
  • Filled with illuminating quotes
  • Touches on art and architecture

Brand Robert Louis Wilken
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Church History in Plain Language

For a fast-paced primer, Church History in Plain Language crams two thousand years’ worth of information into just over 500 pages. It pays special attention to the rise of Evangelicalism and the decline of traditionalism in the modern era.

  • Investigates impact of technology
  • Links current issues to the past
  • Good for sunday school classes

Brand HarperCollins Christian
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Turning Points

If you want a college-level education in the subject, Turning Points goes in-depth with its analysis of 14 moments that the author believes fashioned the Church into what it has become today, including the Council of Nicaea, the Great Schism, and the Reformation.

  • Highlights the importance of debate
  • Written from protestant perspective
  • Good for all knowledge levels

Brand Mark A Noll
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. The First Three Thousand Years

Covering the pre-Christian era all the way up to modern times, The First Three Thousand Years takes you through the origins of the Church and how it shaped — and was shaped by — the last few millennia, without making assumptions about the truth of the religion either way.

  • Good for nonbelievers as well
  • Goes in-depth on etymology
  • Places the bible in larger context

Brand WaterBrook Press
Model pending
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0