Additionally, Lucian relates several other Christian teachings. Believers had sacred writings that were frequently read. They practiced their faith by denying material goods and by holding common property. They went to any extent to help with matters pertaining to their community. However, Lucian does complain that Christians were gullible enough to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous persons.
Pliny relates that believers met in a pre-dawn service on a certain day (probably Sunday). There they sang verses of a hymn, worshiped Christ as deity, and made oaths against committing sin. Then they would disband, only to reassemble in order to share food together, which is very probably a reference to the love feast and Lord’s Supper. Pliny also refers to the existence of positions in the early church when he mentions two female deaconesses. The Spread of Christianity and Persecution
After the death of Jesus and the reported resurrection appearances, the disciples did not abandon the teachings which they had learned from him (Josephus). By the middle of the first century, Christian doctrine, and the crucifixion of Jesus in particular, had spread around the Mediterranean. In fact, skeptics were already offering rationalistic explanations for supernatural claims only some twenty years after Jesus’ death (Thallus).
More specifically, Christian teachings had reached Rome by AD 49, less than twenty years after the death of Jesus, when Claudius expelled Jews from the city because of what was thought to be the influence of Jesus’ teachings (Suetonius). By the time of Nero’s reign (AD 54–68), Christians were still living in Rome (Tacitus, Suetonius). We are also told that Christians were present during the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Tacitus).