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Chapter 1

The Founding of the Church and the Early Christians


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  1. What was the initial effect of the Resurrection of Jesus on his disciples?

  2. What details of Jesus’ childhood are preserved in the Gospels?

  3. What do we traditionally believe about the life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the home at Nazareth?

  4. How did Jesus begin his public ministry?

  5.   and   constitute the Deposit of Faith.

  6. What is the most concise and direct collection of Jesus’ teaching, and where in the Bible is it found?

  7. What was significant about Jesus teaching his followers to love their enemies?

  8. What is the significance of Jesus teaching his disciples to serve God and one another “in spirit and in truth”?

  9. How did Jesus ultimately model the desired behavior and show his disciples how he wanted them to act?

  10. The word “Gospel” means   .

  11. The Gospels of Sts. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the     Gospels.

  12. Of the Gospel writers, only Sts.    and   were Apostles.

  13. The Gospel of St.    is thought to have been the first Gospel written and the Gospel of St.    was the last.

  14. St. Mark probably got most of his material about Jesus’ life from   , and St. Luke’s main source for his Gospel was most likely    .

  15. Next to each name, write the symbol that accompanies the Gospel writer.

    (These symbols are found in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 1: 10 and Revelation 4: 7. They were applied to the Gospel writers by St. Irenaeus of Lyon in the second century. Look carefully at the pictures on pp. 3 and 7 of the text and see if you can find the “four living creatures” spoken of in Ezekiel and Revelation.)

    a. St. Matthew
    b. St. Mark
    c. St. Luke
    d. St. John

  16. What were some of the ways that the Holy Spirit showed his power on Pentecost?

  17. What are the two meanings for our word “church” as they have been derived from their Latin and Greek roots?

  18. What is the purpose of the teaching authority and sanctifying power of the Church?

  19. Give some examples of the visible dimensions of the Church.

  20. Give some examples of the spiritual dimensions of the Church.

  21. Explain how the Church reflects a divine reality.

  22. Explain how the Church reflects a human reality.

  23. When we say the Church is Holy, we are not referring to her human members. What do we mean when we profess that the Church is Holy?

  24. When the Christian world fragmented into pieces due to the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, the word Catholic came to mean “one who is a Christian in union with the Pope.” What is the original meaning of the word “catholic”?

  25. When you receive Holy Communion at Mass, you know you are receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. When your sins are absolved in the Sacrament of Penance, you know you leave the Sacrament with your soul clean and reconciled to God. How does the apostolicity of the Church guarantee this for you?

  26. The word “apostle” means   .

  27. Who are the three men who enjoyed the title of Apostle although they were not part of the original Twelve that Jesus selected?

  28. How did the Apostles become apostles?

  29. Why is it worth noting that St. Peter is always listed as the first Apostle?

  30. Why did Jesus select twelve Apostles? What is significant about this number (cf. Rev 21: 9–21)?

  31. All of the Apostles eventually died. How did they pass on the authority they received from Jesus himself for the continued service of the Church?

  32.   was St. Paul’s Jewish name.

  33. Who was St. Paul’s influential teacher in the Jewish Law?

  34. Why was St. Paul so ferociously persecuting the early Church?

  35. What does Jesus’ reference to himself demonstrate in the question, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

  36. What was the attitude of the early Christians about their association with the Jewish faith?

  37. What was the particular Jewish law that proved to be a major obstacle for those early Jewish‑Christians?

  38. How did the Holy Spirit “force the issue” so as to convince St. Peter and other Jewish Christians that the Gentiles must be accepted as Christians? (See Acts 11: 47–48)

  39. What advantages did St. Paul have over the other Apostles?

  40. When were most of St. Paul’s letters probably written?

  41. As St. Paul worked to explain the Gospel to his listeners, which four main themes emerged as key to his teaching?

  42. While the New Testament contains thirteen of St. Paul’s letters, which three are considered to be the central texts that best reveal his theological thought?

  43. What was the divisive issue that faced the early Christians that was resolved at the Council of Jerusalem?

  44. Who made the final decision and definitive statement regarding this issue, and what gave him the authority to do so?

  45. What was the final effect of the Council of Jerusalem on the relationship between Christianity and Judaism?

  46. Which of the Apostles did not die a martyr’s death?

  47. What was notable about the way that St. Peter died?

  48. Why was St. Paul beheaded and not crucified?

  49. What symbol is identified with St. Andrew, and why?

  50. According to the Acts of the Apostles (12: 2), who was the first of the Apostles to be martyred?

  51. Where, and how, was St. Bartholomew martyred?

  52. What is significant about St. Matthew’s Gospel when compared to the rest of the New Testament writings?

  53. To which country did St. Thomas take the Gospel message?

  54. What notable position did St. James hold? (not the brother of John; sometimes called “James the Less”)

  55. Name two things that are attributed to St. Judas (sometimes called St. Jude Thaddeus).

  56. Why did Judas Iscariot betray Jesus to the Jewish authorities?

  57. What ended when St. John, the last of the Apostles to die, passed from this life?

  58. What was the duty of the first successors to the Apostles (the first bishops)?

  59. Compare and contrast the baptism of St. John the Baptist in the Jordan River and the Sacrament of Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

  60. a. Describe the catechumenate as it existed in the early Church.


    b. What were the two special days out of the year when catechumens would be received into the Church in the period of the early Church?

  61. The word “catechumen” comes from a Greek word that means   .

  62. When, according to historical sources, do we have evidence that infants were being baptized and that the practice was accepted and celebrated by the early Christians?

  63. The Greek word agape means   .

  64. What was the agape feast, and why was it discontinued so soon in the history of Christianity?

  65. During the Mass, the priest says prayers out of a large book called the Missal. In the days of the early Church, how were these prayers said?

  66. Eucharist comes from a Greek word that means   .

  67. The Catholic Church has always taught that Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, is truly present under the forms of bread and wine. What was the universal belief of the earliest Christians?

  68. What was the official act that enabled Christians to build public Christian churches? When was it, and who issued it?

  69. What three purposes did the catacombs serve?

  70. Name the four places where Christian catacombs have been found.

  71. Why did Christians reject the Roman practice of cremation of dead bodies?

  72. What was a crypt?

  73. How long were the catacombs forgotten before they were rediscovered?

  74. What were the two early Christian days of fasting and penance, and why were these two days observed as such?

    Day Reason

  75. The Jewish Sabbath is on Saturday. Why was the Christian day of worship moved to Sunday?

  76. Everyone understands the cross as the most visible symbol of Christianity. What were two earlier symbols, one of which is pictured, and why were they used?

  77. What are two reasons why the Pope is recognized as the head of the Church?

  78. Which two Popes did the most in the first millennium to centralize and define the authority of the papal office?

  79. By the reign of which Pope was the term “Vicar of Christ” applied to the Successor of St. Peter exclusively?

  80. The bishops are the successors to   .

  81. What were some of the duties of the bishops of the early Church?

  82. Who was the first person to use the term “Catholic Church”?

  83. The person that most of us associate with the Church is our local parish priest. It is the bishop, however, who has the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and any given priest functions only on the authority of his bishop. Yet, it is clear that bishops had priests as helpers from very early on in the history of the Church. When do we find the first priests offering Mass?

  84. Where do we find the oldest existing rituals for the ordination of a priest?

  85. Where did the Bible come from, and why do we believe it to be the inspired word of God?

  86. Which apocalyptic book of the New Testament was one of the later books to be accepted into the Canon of Scripture?

  87. When was the final and definitive list of canonical books promulgated?

  88. How do we know that the books we have in the Bible should be in the Bible?

  89. What is an “apocryphal” piece of writing?

  90. Why is it logically impossible and absurd to claim the Bible as one’s sole rule of faith?

  91. The Catholic Church is often criticized for teaching that abortion and contraception are immoral. How long has the Church held these teachings?

  92. Apologetics almost sounds like the word apology as in to say we are sorry for something. What does apologetics actually mean?

  93. Who were the primary opponents of Christianity in the early Christian period?

  94. List some of the early Christian Apologists.

  95. What was the Jewish opinion toward early Christianity?

  96. What was the greatest battle that the apologists had to fight?

  97. What is the Didache?

  98. What kind of writing was Tertullian’s specialty?

  99. What was the theme of Tertullian’s writing?

  100. What was Montanism?

  101. What are some of the themes that St. Hippolytus wrote about?

  102. Where have modern Latin-Rite Catholics come into contact with St. Hippolytus’ writings?

  103. Our word martyr comes from the Greek word martyros which means   .

  104. Why have Christians always had such profound respect for martyrdom and seen it as an honor and privilege?

  105. How did early Christianity transform the Roman world?

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