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(3) The miraculous powers ascribed to the primitive church. (5) The union and discipline of the Christian republic, which gradually formed an independent and increasing state in the heart of the Roman empire." In the post-Apostolic church, bishops emerged as overseers of urban Christian populations, and a hierarchy of clergy gradually took on the form of episkopos (overseers, in-spectors; and the origin of the term bishop) and presbyters (elders; and the origin of the term priest), and then deacons (servants).However, the Great Commission is specifically directed at "all nations", and an early difficulty arose concerning the matter of Gentile (non-Jewish) converts as to whether they had to "become Jewish" (usually referring to circumcision and adherence to dietary law), as part of becoming Christian.Circumcision in particular was considered repulsive by Greeks and Hellenists seemed to indicate that circumcision and food laws did not apply to Gentiles, and this was agreed to at the apostolic Council of Jerusalem. The doctrines of the apostles brought the Early Church into conflict with some Jewish religious authorities.Christianity expanded throughout the world and became the world's largest religion due to European colonialism.
During its early history, Christianity grew from a 1st-century Jewish following to a religion that existed across the entire Greco-Roman world and beyond.
While the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles is disputed by critics, the Acts of the Apostles is the major primary source of information for this period.