What the world needs today is not a new definition of Christianity, but a present-day demonstration of Christianity. Rather than re define Christianity to accommodate our present generation, we must re-discover Christianity from the apostolic generation. In this regard, the early Christian writings are a helpful tool.
During the first three centuries of Church history, many books, commentaries, letters and sermons were being circulated among the ancient Church. Many of these writings have survived until our own time. The early disciples provide an extremely valuable history and commentary on the New Testament Scriptures. Today, their writings provide us a record of primitive Christianity during the time period directly following Jesus Christ and the Apostles.
The beliefs and practices found within modern Christendom most often part ways with early Christianity when it comes to interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount and participation in the divine life. Moreover, there are men of education and expertise, esteemed widely as safe and sound expositors of Scripture, who make it their business to hinder the disciples of Christ who would go up the mountain where Christ’s own words are to be heard.
A substantial number of the early Christians died as martyrs. Like the apostles, the early Christians were willing to die for their beliefs. Therefore we ought to seriously consider what they have to say to us today, especially when it comes to their understanding of history’s greatest sermon ever preached. May the reader be edified and blessed as we ascend the mountain together with the early Christians to hear the words of eternal life from our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .
“Here, in a single volume, are virtually all of the written insights on the Sermon on the Mount from those Christians who lived during the first few centuries after the apostles. I am particularly impressed by the thoroughness of Nesch’s research in gleaning these many quotations from the pre-Nicene Christians. This is a reference book that undoubtedly I will be using over and over again. In compiling this important work, Nesch has made a valuable contribution to the Kingdom of God.”
– David Bercot, author of A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs,
and Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up
“The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ longest passage of teaching, has been beloved by Christians of all generations. But tragically, the interpretation of key portions of the Sermon on the Mount continues to divide the church today. The understanding of the early church has the potential to bring unity over what should be essential hallmarks of the Christian life. I commend Nesch’s carefully researched volume to any who love Jesus’ teaching and want to see His prayer for unity advanced.”
– Finny Kuruvilla, author of King Jesus Claims His Church,
and founder of Sattler College
“Of many resources we can use to help us in our day, I believe this commentary will be greatly beneficial. It is not new theological ideas we need but to follow Christ and learn how. This volume brother Elliott has compiled will help us in our journey with the Lord.”
– Greg Gordon, founder of SermonIndex.net,
and author of The Following of Christ