This message (32 mins) covers the various ways in which Christians of the first few centuries were persecuted (slander, exile, confiscation, etc). Following is a study of persecution and martyrdom in the early church.



  • Passages: 2 Tim 3:12; John 15:18-21; Matt 5:10-12; 1 Pet 4:3-4; Luke 6:22-23, 26; Heb 10:32-39
  • Examples: Verbal opposition (slander, mockery, abuse, misrepresentation, false accusation), confiscation, social
  • exclusion, exile, being sent to the mines, torture, execution.


  • Scripture: Rev 12:11
  • Martyr < martus, witness
  • Confessors were willing to die for their faith (refused to back down), whereas martyrs confessed and were killed. One example is Nicholas of Myra.
  • 1st & 2nd century martyrs: Jesus, Stephen, 7 (or more) of the apostles, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Polycarp, the martyrs of Lyon—and many more!
  • Martyrs who lived mainly in the 3rd century: Lawrence (225-258), Sebastian (255-288), Lucy (283-304), Catherine (287-305)


  • Beware exaggeration and sentimentality.
  • Pray for fellow believers: in approximately 80 countries (out of the world total of 195) it is dangerous or extremely inconvenient to be a Christian.
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