Book Review: 5 Minutes in Church History

I’ve been a fan of the podcast 5 Minutes in Church History with Stephen Nichols for a while. In 5 minute segments, Nichols informs his listeners of some topic or character from church history. This book of the same name is based on some of these podcast episodes and, true to its name, each chapter takes roughly 5 minutes to read.

Church history is a fascinating topic, 2000 years of God’s faithfulness, 2000 years of God working in and through the lives and hearts of his church. Sometimes it can seem sort of boring, not because the topic is boring but because sometimes it is presented in a very dry, boring fashion. This is not always a bad thing, but for the person who likes things, short, sweet, to-the-point, yet still informative and meaningful, I would recommend this 150 page introduction by Stephen Nichols. He keeps his readers attention by keeping the chapters short, but packs enough information into them that the reader walks away having learned something.

The book is split into four parts. Beginning with the early church, Nichols provides an overview of John’s disciples Ignatius and Polycarp, the catacombs, the council of Nicea in 325, and other topics. He moves onto the middle ages introducing us to topics like the five ways of Thomas Aquinas and the year 1516, providing an excellent segway to the next portion on the protestant reformation. Readers will likely be somewhat familiar with Luther and maybe his wife, but there were some very fascinating chapters in this, some of which I was unfamiliar. Most touching I think, was the bravery spoken of by the four men who wrote and signed the Guanabara Confession of Faith which was immediately followed by their martyrdom. Finally, Nichols brings us to the modern age with names like Jonathan Edwards, J. Gresham Machen, B. B. Warfield, Francis Grimke, and Eric Liddell.

“5 Minutes in Church History” is a solid book, great for the beginner or busy person to begin their study of church history.


I received an a e-copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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