The history of the Christian Church is a major thread through the history of the world. But while we often relate Old Testament events to the world history timeline, we seldom make such connections for the Church Age.
I have a large, heavy book called The Timetables of History, a Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. This book is basically a timeline in the form of one huge table. It starts in 5000 BC and goes through 1990 AD. It chronicles the major events in History & Politics, Literature & Theater, Religion/Philosophy/Learning, Visual Arts, Music, Science/Technology/Growth, and Daily Life. It is interesting to see the developments in each of these areas over the centuries, but what I find most instructive is to see what else was going on in the world at the same time as major events in Christian history.
For example, The Timetables of History has entries in all categories for 1517 and 1518. This is when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses in Wittenberg, and was subsequently summoned by Cardinal Cajetan to Augsburg where he refused to recant. In those same years when the reformation was born, the Turks captured Cairo, and coffee came to Europe for the first time. Juan de Grijalva explored the coast of Yucatan and discovered Mexico. Eyeglasses were developed for nearsighted people.
As another example, the 570’s were when Mohammed was born, Benedict I became Pope, and Buddhism was established in Japan. The Byzantine empire (home of Christianity) was at war with Persia.
OK, I won’t bore you with any more historical trivia. I just wanted to introduce another resource that I will be using in order to establish historical context as I continue to learn more about the history of Christianity. Context matters. The geopolitical situation has always been an influence on how Christianity has been interpreted and practiced over the centuries.