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Stephen Nichols: For Us and for Our Salvation


Stephen J. Nichols, For Us and for Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2007), 172 pages, ISBN 1581348673.

Stephen Nichols has prepared an excellent primer for the study of the history of the early Christian Church. This book is appropriate for use in an undergraduate classroom or for self-guided study of early church history. However, Nichols has written much of this book in reference to the recent popular book and movie, the Da Vinci Code. While this is an appropriate topic for today, it is likely to loose relevance quickly as it fades from popular memory.

In this book, Nichols does not assume that the reader will recognize the theological words and terms. He paused often to insert either a parenthetical definition or a sidebar description of unfamiliar words. When it is appropriate, he has illustrated his point with a simple chart to help the reader sort through the good and the bad, the saint and the heretic. Additionally, Nichols has added a helpful glossary at the end of the book that will aid the reader to grasp key names, events, and ideas more fully. Further, Nichols has supplied the reader with two appendixes that will guide those who might desire to continue to study any of the varied topics.


Stephen J. Nichols was named the new President of Reformation Bible College and Chief Academic Officer of Ligonier Ministries in March, 2014. press release

Not only has Nichols divided the study of early church history into easy-to-grasp segments, he has also provided minimal commentary; commenting just enough to help the reader focus on the big picture. Moreover, instead of giving his own interpretation, Nichols introduces readers to the writings of those central to early church history, letting them speak for themselves by first citing a contemporary source and then including their own words.

Nichols’ book is a succinct introduction to the earliest attempts to understand the mystery of the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ. Nichols has uncluttered the landscape for his student; he has provided help for his students to sort through the most important events and ideas. He will help to bring understanding to the early theological ideas, and thereby he will prepare the student to have a more complete understanding of the theological ideas of today.

Reviewed by John R. Miller


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Category: Church History, Summer 2008

About the Author: John R. Miller is an ordained minister with Elim Fellowship of Lima, NY and serves as Pastor of Education with Living Word Temple of Restoration, Rochester, NY. He has a degree from Elim Bible Institute, a B.Div. (Trinity Theological Seminary), C.P.E. (University of Rochester), M.Div. (Northeastern Seminary), and Ph.D. (Regent University). He teaches at Regent University and Elim Bible Institute & College.

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