The early Church began in Jerusalem where we find the Apostles. There they were occupied with teaching and worship but a lot of their time was used in taking care of the poor. The Greek Christians complained that their widows were neglected compared with the Hebrews. In other words, the Apostles could not do both, teach and lead in worship and also take care of the poor. So they chose seven men to help distribute food and alms to widows. Among them of Stephen and Philip upon whom they prayed and laid hands. In today's words, they became deacons.

The persecution of Christians began in Jerusalem by the killing of Stephen and so Christians began to move away from Jerusalem. Now Philip went to the city of Samaria and proclaimed Jesus Christ. The crowd paid attention to what he said and there he healed the sick and cast out demons. "There was great joy in the city." (Ac 8:8)

When the Apostles heard the Samaria had accepted the faith, they sent Peter and John who prayed over the converts to receive the Holy Spirit for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Here I believe we have the beginning of the sacrament of Confirmation. This was done many years before the Acts of the Apostles were written. This constitutes tradition or the passing on of faith by word and actions.

Next we find that Philip on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza where he met an Ethiopian official reading the prophet Isaiah while riding in his chariot. Philip asked him if understood what he was reading which was as follows:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.

In (his) humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.” (Is 53:7-8)

The eunuch did not understand what he was reading, so he asked Philip if the prophet was speaking about himself or someone else. Philip beginning with this passage spoke to him of Jesus Crucified. In time they came to a place where there was water and Ethiopian was baptized by Philip. Tradition has it the Philip founded the Ethiopian Church. Note the use of Hebrew prophecy to indicate Christ. At this point there was no Christian scripture as reference. Not only was Philip chosen to care for the poor but also to help the Apostles teach the faith and baptize.

In the beginning, it was not clear to the apostles if they could baptize gentiles. Divine providence guided Peter to proclaim the Christ to Cornelius and family. As he was speaking, the Holy Spirit descended upon them and so Peter proceeded to Baptize Cornelius and his household. Likewise, many Jewish converts thought that gentiles coming to the faith in Christ should first be circumcised. Peter pointed out that some of the gentiles had received the Holy Spirit even before Baptism and stated, "We believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.” (Ac 15:11) So, Paul and Barnabas were sent to the Churches of Antioch, Syria, and Ceclia of the Gentiles with a letter stating that Circumcision was unnecessary. What is interesting is that the Apostles also sent their decision by word of mouth as stated in Acts: "So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: ‘It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’" (Ac 15:28-29) By word of mouth refers to the traditional way of passing on the faith. It was not enough to have a letter read to them, they most also hear by word of mouth without reading fro a letter.

4. Tradition Before Scripture