Saturday, January 22, 2011


The term “Godfearers” appears many times in the New Testament. Who were these people?

The term was applied by the Jews to other people, gentiles, who attended Synagogues through out the Roman world. It seems that there were a lot of these people who were not Jews but believed in the God of Israel and gave a lot of money to the Temple and the synagogues. We know that some of them were in fact Roman army officers. They were believers who did not wish to convert to the Jewish faith and submit to circumcision and the strange food laws.

In the first century there were a lot of Greek speaking scholars who had come to believe that there could only be one god and they were on a discovery quest to figure out which of the thousand of deities was that one true god. Many of them were attracted to the one the Jews worshiped with such zeal. They would attend worship service where they stood in the back of the synagogue – behind the women and children – and listen to the teachings. Very few became converts.

When Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, whose Roman name was Paul, came preaching in the synagogue and offered a way for them to convert to what was the Jewish sect of the followers of Jesus  through baptism instead of circumcision they accepted in huge numbers. The gentile Christian Church was born and the number of gentile Christians soon became greater than the number of Hebrew Christians.  The Christian Synagogue [church] spread through the Greek and Roman world.

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