Studies on the Inspired Scriptures and Their Background
Study Number 3—Measuring Events in the Stream of Time
The counting of time in Bible days and a discussion of the chronology of outstanding events of both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.
1. (a) What indicates that Jehovah is an accurate timekeeper? (b) What progress has been made in understanding Bible chronology?
IN GIVING Daniel the vision of “the king of the north” and “the king of the south,” Jehovah’s angel several times used the expression “the time appointed.” (Dan. 11:6, 27, 29, 35) There are many other scriptures too that indicate Jehovah is an accurate timekeeper, who accomplishes his purposes exactly on time. (Luke 21:24; 1 Thess. 5:1, 2) In his Word, the Bible, he has provided a number of “guideposts” that help us locate important happenings in the stream of time. Much progress has been made in the understanding of Bible chronology. Research by archaeologists and others continues to shed light on various problems, enabling us to determine the timing of key events of the Bible record.—Prov. 4:18.
2. Give an example of reckoning with ordinal numbers.
2 Ordinal and Cardinal Numbers. In the previous study (paragraphs 24 and 25), we learned that there is a difference between cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers. This should be kept in mind when measuring Biblical periods in harmony with modern dating methods. For example, in the reference to “the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin the king of Judah,” the term “thirty-seventh” is an ordinal number. It represents 36 full years plus some days, weeks, or months (whatever time had elapsed from the end of the 36th year).—Jer. 52:31.
3. (a) What State records assist in determining Bible dates? (b) What was a regnal year, and what was an accession year?
3 Regnal and Accession Years. The Bible refers to State records of the governments of Judah and Israel, as well as to State matters of Babylon and Persia. In all four of these kingdoms, State chronology was accurately reckoned according to the rulerships of the kings, and the same system of reckoning has been carried over into the Bible. Very often the Bible gives the name of the document quoted, as, for example, “the book of the affairs of Solomon.” (1 Ki. 11:41) The reign of a king would cover part of an accession year, to be followed by a complete number of regnal years. Regnal years were the official years in the kingship and were generally counted from Nisan to Nisan, or from spring to spring. When a king succeeded to the throne, the intervening months until the next spring month of Nisan were referred to as his accession year, during which he filled out the regnal term of rulership for his predecessor. However, his own official regnal term was counted as beginning on the next Nisan 1.
4. Show how Bible chronology may be counted according to regnal years.
4 As an example, it appears that Solomon began reigning sometime before Nisan of 1037 B.C.E., while David was still living. Shortly afterward, David died. (1 Ki. 1:39, 40; 2:10) However, David’s last regnal year continued down to the spring of 1037 B.C.E., still being counted as part of his 40-year administration. The partial year, from the start of Solomon’s reign until spring of 1037 B.C.E., is referred to as Solomon’s accession year, and it could not be counted as a regnal year for him, as he was still filling out his father’s term of administration. Therefore, Solomon’s first full regnal year did not begin until Nisan of 1037 B.C.E. (1 Ki. 2:12) Eventually, 40 full regnal years were credited to Solomon’s administration as king. (1 Ki. 11:42) By keeping the regnal years apart from accession years in this way, it is possible to calculate Bible chronology accurately.*
COUNTING BACK TO ADAM’S CREATION
5. How is the date for the restoration of Jehovah’s worship in Jerusalem determined?
5 Starting From the Pivotal Date. The pivotal date for counting back to Adam’s creation is that of Cyrus’ overthrow of the Babylonian dynasty, 539 B.C.E.* Cyrus issued his decree of liberation for the Jews during his first year, before the spring of 537 B.C.E. Ezra 3:1 reports that the sons of Israel were back in Jerusalem by the seventh month, Tishri, corresponding to parts of September and October. So the autumn of 537 B.C.E. is reckoned as the date of the restoration of Jehovah’s worship in Jerusalem.
6. (a) What foretold period ended in the autumn of 537 B.C.E.? (b) When must that period have begun, and how do the facts support this?
6 This restoration of Jehovah’s worship in the autumn of 537 B.C.E. marked the end of a prophetic period. What period? It was the “seventy years” during which the Promised Land “must become a devastated place” and concerning which Jehovah also said, “In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to you people, and I will establish toward you my good word in bringing you back to this place.” (Jer. 25:11, 12; 29:10) Daniel, who was well acquainted with this prophecy, acted in harmony with it as the “seventy years” drew to a close. (Dan. 9:1-3) The “seventy years” that ended in the autumn of the year 537 B.C.E. must have begun, then, in the autumn of 607 B.C.E. The facts bear this out. Jeremiah chapter 52 describes the momentous events of the siege of Jerusalem, the Babylonian breakthrough, and the capture of King Zedekiah in 607 B.C.E. Then, as Jer 52 verse 12 states, “in the fifth month, on the tenth day,” that is, the tenth day of Ab (corresponding to parts of July and August), the Babylonians burned the temple and the city. However, this was not yet the starting point of the “seventy years.” Some vestige of Jewish sovereignty still remained in the person of Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed as governor of the remaining Jewish settlements. “In the seventh month,” Gedaliah and some others were assassinated, so that the remaining Jews fled in fear to Egypt. Then only, from about October 1, 607 B.C.E., was the land in the complete sense “lying desolated . . . to fulfill seventy years.”—2 Ki. 25:22-26; 2 Chron. 36:20, 21.
7. (a) How may the years be calculated back to the division of the kingdom after Solomon’s death? (b) What support is supplied by Ezekiel’s prophecy?
7 From 607 B.C.E. to 997 B.C.E. The calculation for this period backward from the fall of Jerusalem to the time of the division of the kingdom after Solomon’s death presents many difficulties. However, a comparison of the reigns of the kings of Israel and of Judah as recorded in First and Second Kings indicates that this time period covers 390 years. Strong evidence that this is the correct figure is the prophecy of Ezekiel 4:1-13. This prophecy shows that it is pointing to the time when Jerusalem would be besieged and its inhabitants taken captive by the nations, which occurred in 607 B.C.E. So the 40 years spoken of in the case of Judah terminated with Jerusalem’s desolation. The 390 years spoken of in the case of Israel did not end when Samaria was destroyed, for that was long past when Ezekiel prophesied, and the prophecy plainly says that it is pointing to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, “the error of the house of Israel,” too, terminated in 607 B.C.E. Counting back from this date, we see that the period of 390 years began in 997 B.C.E. In that year, Jeroboam, after the death of Solomon, broke with the house of David and “proceeded to part Israel from following Jehovah, and he caused them to sin with a great sin.”—2 Ki. 17:21.
8. (a) How are the years reckoned back to the Exodus? (b) What change affects Bible chronology about this time?
8 From 997 B.C.E. to 1513 B.C.E. Since the last of Solomon’s 40 full regnal years ended in the spring of 997 B.C.E., it follows that his first regnal year must have commenced in the spring of 1037 B.C.E. (1 Ki. 11:42) The Bible record, at 1 Kings 6:1, says that Solomon began to build the house of Jehovah in Jerusalem in the second month of the fourth year of his reign. This means three full years and one complete month of his reign had elapsed, bringing us to April-May of 1034 B.C.E. for the start of the temple building. However, the same scripture states that this was also “the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out from the land of Egypt.” Again, 480th is an ordinal number, representing 479 complete years. Hence, 479 added to 1034 gives the date 1513 B.C.E. as the year that Israel came out of Egypt. Paragraph 19 of Study 2 explains that from the year 1513 B.C.E., Abib (Nisan) was to be reckoned as “the first of the months of the year” for Israel (Ex. 12:2) and that previously a year beginning in the autumn, with the month Tishri, had been followed. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1957, Vol. 12, page 474, comments: “The reckoning of the regnal years of the kings is based upon the year which began in the spring, and is parallel to the Babylonian method in which this prevailed.” Whenever the change of beginning the year in the autumn to beginning the year in the spring began to be applied to periods of time in the Bible, this would involve a loss or gain of six months somewhere in the counting of time.
9. (a) How is the record dated back to when the Abrahamic covenant went into effect? (b) How are the first 215 years of this period accounted for? (c) How old was Abraham when he crossed the Euphrates on his way to Canaan?
9 From 1513 B.C.E. to 1943 B.C.E. At Exodus 12:40, 41, Moses records that “the dwelling of the sons of Israel, who had dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.” From the above wording, it is apparent that not all this “dwelling” was in Egypt. This time period begins with Abraham’s crossing of the Euphrates on his way to Canaan, at which time Jehovah’s covenant with Abraham went into effect. The first 215 years of this “dwelling” was in Canaan, and then an equal period was spent in Egypt, until Israel became completely independent of all Egyptian control and dependency, in 1513 B.C.E.* The New World Translation footnote on Exodus 12:40 shows that the Greek Septuagint, which is based on a Hebrew text older than the Masoretic, adds, after the word “Egypt,” the words “and in the land of Canaan.” The Samaritan Pentateuch does similarly. Galatians 3:17, which also mentions the 430 years, confirms that this period started with the validating of the Abrahamic covenant, at the time that Abraham crossed the Euphrates on his way to Canaan. This was therefore in 1943 B.C.E., when Abraham was 75 years old.—Gen. 12:4.
10. What other line of evidence supports the chronology of Abraham’s time?
10 Another line of evidence supports the above reckoning: At Acts 7:6 mention is made of the seed of Abraham as being afflicted 400 years. Since Jehovah removed the affliction by Egypt in 1513 B.C.E., the beginning of affliction must have been in 1913 B.C.E. This was five years after the birth of Isaac and corresponds to Ishmael’s “poking fun” at Isaac on the occasion of his weaning.—Gen. 15:13; 21:8, 9.
11. How does the Bible timetable carry us back to the date of the Deluge?
11 From 1943 B.C.E. to 2370 B.C.E. We have seen that Abraham was 75 years old when he entered Canaan in 1943 B.C.E. Now it is possible to date the stream of time farther back, to the days of Noah. This is done by use of the time periods supplied for us in Genesis 11:10 to 12:4. This reckoning, which gives a total of 427 years, is made as follows:
From the beginning of the
Deluge to Arpachshad’s birth 2 years
Then to the birth of Shelah 35 “
To the birth of Eber 30 “
To the birth of Peleg 34 “
To the birth of Reu 30 “
To the birth of Serug 32 “
To the birth of Nahor 30 “
To the birth of Terah 29 “
To the death of Terah, when
Abraham was 75 years old 205 “
Total 427 years
Adding 427 years to 1943 B.C.E. brings us to 2370 B.C.E. Thus the timetable of the Bible shows that the Deluge of Noah’s day began in 2370 B.C.E.
12. What is the time count back to Adam’s creation?
12 From 2370 B.C.E. to 4026 B.C.E. Going still farther back in the stream of time, we find that the Bible dates the period from the Deluge all the way to Adam’s creation. This is determined by Genesis 5:3-29 and Ge 7:6, 11. The time count is summarized below:
From Adam’s creation to
the birth of Seth 130 years
Then to the birth of Enosh 105 “
To the birth of Kenan 90 “
To the birth of Mahalalel 70 “
To the birth of Jared 65 “
To the birth of Enoch 162 “
To the birth of Methuselah 65 “
To the birth of Lamech 187 “
To the birth of Noah 182 “
To the Deluge 600 “
Total 1,656 years
Adding 1,656 years to our previous date of 2370 B.C.E., we arrive at 4026 B.C.E. for the creation of Adam, perhaps in the fall, since it is in the fall that the year began on the most ancient calendars.
13. (a) How long, then, is the history of mankind on this earth? (b) Why does this not correspond to the length of Jehovah’s rest day?
13 Of what significance is this today? The first edition of this book, published in 1963, stated: “Does this mean, then, that by 1963 we had progressed 5,988 years into the ‘day’ on which Jehovah ‘has been resting from all his work’? (Gen. 2:3) No, for the creation of Adam does not correspond with the beginning of Jehovah’s rest day. Following Adam’s creation, and still within the sixth creative day, Jehovah appears to have been forming further animal and bird creations. Also, he had Adam name the animals, which would take some time, and he proceeded to create Eve. (Gen. 2:18-22; see also NW, 1953 Ed., footnote on Ge 2 vs. 19) Whatever time elapsed between Adam’s creation and the end of the ‘sixth day’ must be subtracted from the 5,988 years in order to give the actual length of time from the beginning of the ‘seventh day’ until . It does no good to use Bible chronology for speculating on dates that are still future in the stream of time.—Matt. 24:36.”*
14. Why is the Bible account of the origin of mankind to be preferred to the hypotheses and theories of men?
14 How about scientific claims that man has been on this earth for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years? None of them can be substantiated by written records from those early times, as Biblical events are. The fantastic dates given to “prehistoric man” are based on assumptions that cannot be proved. Actually, reliable secular history, together with its chronology, extends back only a few thousand years. The earth has undergone many changes and upheavals, such as the worldwide Deluge of Noah’s day, which have greatly disturbed rock strata and fossil deposits, making any scientific pronouncements on dates prior to the Deluge highly conjectural.* In contrast to all the contradictory hypotheses and theories of men, the Bible appeals to reason through its explicit, harmonious account of the origin of mankind and its carefully documented history of Jehovah’s chosen people.
15. How should Bible study affect us?
15 Study of the Bible and contemplation of the works of the Great Timekeeper, Jehovah God, should make us feel very humble. Mortal man is small indeed in comparison with the omnipotent God, whose stupendous act of creation, performed countless millenniums ago, is so simply stated in Scripture: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”—Gen. 1:1.
JESUS’ EARTHLY RESIDENCE
16. (a) In what order were the four Gospels written? (b) How may we date the start of Jesus’ ministry? (c) What sequence do events follow in the different Gospels, and what is to be noted about John’s account?
16 The four inspired accounts of Jesus’ earthly life appear to have been written in this order: Matthew (c. 41 C.E.), Luke (c. 56-58 C.E.), Mark (c. 60-65 C.E.), and John (c. 98 C.E.). As explained in the previous chapter, using the information in Luke 3:1-3 along with the date 14 C.E. for the start of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, we arrive at 29 C.E. as the starting point for Jesus’ remarkable ministry on this earth. Though the events in Matthew do not always follow in chronological sequence, in most instances the other three books appear to present the actual order of the momentous happenings that occurred. These are epitomized in the accompanying chart. It will be noted that John’s account, which was written more than 30 years after the last of the other three, fills in essential gaps in the history that are not covered by the others. Especially noteworthy is John’s apparent mention of the four Passovers of Jesus’ earthly ministry, which confirms a ministry of three and a half years, ending in 33 C.E.*—John 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; 12:1; and Joh 13:1.
17. What other evidence supports the date of Jesus’ death?
17 Jesus’ death in 33 C.E. is also confirmed by other evidence. According to the Law of Moses, Nisan 15 was always a special Sabbath regardless of the day on which it fell. If it coincided with an ordinary Sabbath, then the day became known as a “great” Sabbath, and John 19:31 shows that such a Sabbath followed the day of Jesus’ death, which was therefore a Friday. And not in 31 or 32 but only in 33 C.E. did the 14th of Nisan fall on a Friday. Therefore, it must have been on Nisan 14, 33 C.E., that Jesus died.*
18. (a) What did Daniel prophesy in regard to 69 “weeks”? (b) According to Nehemiah, when did this period begin? (c) How do we arrive at the date for the beginning of Artaxerxes’ reign?
18 The 70th “Week,” 29-36 C.E. Time features of Jesus’ ministry are also covered by Daniel 9:24-27, which foretells the passage of 69 weeks of years (483 years) “from the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Leader.” According to Nehemiah 2:1-8, this word went forth “in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes,” king of Persia. When did Artaxerxes begin his reign? His father and predecessor, Xerxes, died in the latter part of 475 B.C.E. Artaxerxes’ accession year thus began in 475 B.C.E., and this is supported by strong evidence from Greek, Persian, and Babylonian sources. For example, the Greek historian Thucydides (who has gained fame for his accuracy) writes of the flight of the Greek statesman Themistocles to Persia when Artaxerxes had “lately come to the throne.” Another Greek historian of the first century C.E., Diodorus Siculus, enables us to establish the date of Themistocles’ death as 471/470 B.C.E. After fleeing his country, Themistocles had asked Artaxerxes’ permission to study the Persian language for one year before appearing before him, which was carried out. Hence, Themistocles’ settlement in Persia must have been not later than 472 B.C.E., and his arrival may reasonably be dated 473 B.C.E. At that time Artaxerxes “had lately come to the throne.”*
19. (a) Counting from “the twentieth year of Artaxerxes,” how do we determine the date of Messiah’s appearance? (b) How was the prophecy of the 70 “weeks” fulfilled from this date?
19 Thus, “the twentieth year of Artaxerxes” would be 455 B.C.E. Counting 483 years (the 69 “weeks”) from this point, and remembering that there was no zero year in crossing into the Common Era, we arrive at 29 C.E. for the appearance of “Messiah the Leader.” Jesus became the Messiah when he was baptized and anointed with holy spirit, in the autumn of that year. The prophecy also indicates that “at the half of the [seventieth] week he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease.” This occurred when the typical Jewish sacrifices lost their validity because of Jesus’ sacrifice of himself. “The half” of this “week” of years takes us along three and a half years to the spring of 33 C.E., when Jesus was put to death. However, “he must keep the covenant in force for the many” for the entire 70th week. This shows Jehovah’s special favor as continuing with the Jews during the seven years from 29 C.E. to 36 C.E. Then, only, was the way opened for uncircumcised Gentiles to become spiritual Israelites, as is indicated by the conversion of Cornelius in 36 C.E.*—Acts 10:30-33, 44-48; 11:1.
COUNTING THE YEARS IN APOSTOLIC TIMES
20. How does secular history combine with the Bible record in timing Herod’s death and preceding events?
20 Between 33 C.E. and 49 C.E. The year 44 C.E. may be accepted as a useful date for this period. According to Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, XIX, 351 [viii, 2]), Herod Agrippa I reigned for three years after the accession of Emperor Claudius of Rome (in 41 C.E.). The historical evidence indicates that this Herod died in 44 C.E.* Looking now at the Bible record, we find it was just prior to Herod’s death that Agabus prophesied “through the spirit” concerning a great famine to come, that the apostle James was put to the sword, and that Peter was jailed (at Passover time) and miraculously released. All these events may be dated to 44 C.E.—Acts 11:27, 28; 12:1-11, 20-23.
21. On what basis can we approximately date Paul’s first missionary tour?
21 The foretold famine came in about 46 C.E. It must have been about this time, then, that Paul and Barnabas “carried out the relief ministration in Jerusalem.” (Acts 12:25) After returning to Syrian Antioch, they were set aside by holy spirit to make the first missionary tour, which covered Cyprus and many cities and districts of Asia Minor.* This probably extended from the spring of 47 C.E. to the autumn of 48 C.E., with one winter spent in Asia Minor. It appears Paul spent the following winter back in Syrian Antioch, and this brings us to the spring of 49 C.E.—Acts 13:1–14:28.
22 The record in Galatians chapters 1 and 2 appears to tie in with this chronology. Here Paul speaks of making two other special visits to Jerusalem after his conversion, the one “three years later” and the other “after fourteen years.” (Gal. 1:17, 18; 2:1) If these two time periods are taken to be ordinals, according to the custom of the day, and if Paul’s conversion was early in the apostles’ time, as the record seems to indicate, then we may reckon the 3 years and the 14 years consecutively as 34-36 C.E. and 36-49 C.E.
23 Paul’s second Jerusalem visit mentioned in Galatians seems to have been concerned with the circumcision issue, as even Titus who accompanied Paul is said not to have been required to be circumcised. If this corresponds to the visit to obtain the ruling on circumcision described in Acts 15:1-35, then 49 C.E. fits nicely as lying between Paul’s first and second missionary tours. Moreover, according to Galatians 2:1-10, Paul used this occasion to lay before the “outstanding men” of the Jerusalem congregation the good news that he was preaching, ‘for fear he was running in vain.’ This he would logically do in reporting to them after his very first missionary tour. Paul made this visit to Jerusalem “as a result of a revelation.”
24. During what years did Paul make his second missionary journey, and why, no doubt, did he not reach Corinth till late in 50 C.E.?
24 Paul’s Second Missionary Journey, c. 49-52 C.E. After his return from Jerusalem, Paul spent time in Syrian Antioch; hence, it must have been well along in the summer of 49 C.E. that he left there on his second tour. (Acts 15:35, 36) This one was much more extensive than the first and would require him to winter in Asia Minor. It was probably in the spring of 50 C.E. that he answered the Macedonian’s call and crossed over into Europe. Then he preached and organized new congregations in Philippi, Thessalonica, Beroea, and Athens. This would bring him to Corinth, in the province of Achaia, in the autumn of 50 C.E., after having made a journey of about 1,300 miles [2,090 km], mostly on foot. (Acts 16:9, 11, 12; 17:1, 2, 10, 11, 15, 16; 18:1) According to Acts 18:11, Paul stayed there 18 months, bringing us to early 52 C.E. With winter ended, Paul could sail for Caesarea, via Ephesus. After going up to greet the congregation, apparently in Jerusalem, he arrived back at his home base of Syrian Antioch, probably in the summer of 52 C.E.*—Acts 18:12-22.
25. (a) How does archaeology support 50-52 C.E. for Paul’s first visit to Corinth? (b) How does the fact that Aquila and Priscilla “had recently come from Italy” confirm this?
25 An archaeological discovery supports 50-52 C.E. as the dates of Paul’s first visit to Corinth. This is a fragment of an inscription, a rescript from Emperor Claudius Caesar to the Delphians of Greece, which contains the words “[Lucius Ju]nius, Gallio, . . . proconsul.” Historians are generally agreed that the number 26, which is also found in the text, refers to Claudius’ having been acclaimed emperor for the 26th time. Other inscriptions show that Claudius was acclaimed emperor for the 27th time before August 1, 52 C.E. The proconsul’s term ran for a year, starting with the beginning of summer. Thus, Gallio’s year as proconsul of Achaia appears to have run from the summer of 51 C.E. to the summer of 52 C.E. “Now while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews rose up with one accord against Paul and led him to the judgment seat.” After Gallio’s acquitting Paul, the apostle stayed “quite some days longer,” and then he sailed away to Syria. (Acts 18:11, 12, 17, 18) All of this seems to confirm the spring of 52 C.E. as the conclusion of Paul’s 18-month stay in Corinth. Another time marker is found in the statement that on arrival in Corinth, Paul “found a certain Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus who had recently come from Italy, and Priscilla his wife, because of the fact that Claudius had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome.” (Acts 18:2) According to the historian Paulus Orosius, of the early fifth century, this expulsion order was given in Claudius’ ninth year, that is, in 49 C.E. or early in 50 C.E. Thus, Aquila and Priscilla could have reached Corinth sometime before the autumn of that year, allowing for Paul’s stay there from the autumn of 50 C.E. to the spring of 52 C.E.*
26. What dates mark the successive stages of Paul’s third missionary journey?
26 Paul’s Third Missionary Journey, c. 52-56 C.E. After the passage of “some time” in Syrian Antioch, Paul was on his way into Asia Minor again, and it is likely that he reached Ephesus by the winter of 52-53 C.E. (Acts 18:23; 19:1) Paul spent “three months” and then “two years” teaching in Ephesus, and after this he left for Macedonia. (Acts 19:8-10) Later, he reminded the overseers from Ephesus that he had served among them “for three years,” but this may well be a round figure. (Acts 20:31) It appears that Paul left Ephesus after “the festival of Pentecost” early in 55 C.E., traveling all the way through to Corinth, Greece, in time to spend three winter months there. Then he returned north as far as Philippi by Passover time of 56 C.E. From there he sailed by way of Troas and Miletus to Caesarea and journeyed up to Jerusalem, arriving by Pentecost of 56 C.E.*—1 Cor. 16:5-8; Acts 20:1-3, 6, 15, 16; 21:8, 15-17.
27. What is the timing of events down to the end of Paul’s first captivity in Rome?
27 The Closing Years, 56-100 C.E. It was shortly after his arrival in Jerusalem that Paul was arrested. He was taken to Caesarea and remained in custody there for two years, until Felix was replaced by Festus as governor. (Acts 21:33; 23:23-35; 24:27) The date of Festus’ arrival and of Paul’s subsequent departure for Rome appears to have been 58 C.E.* After Paul’s shipwreck and wintering in Malta, the journey was completed about 59 C.E., and the record indicates that he remained in captivity in Rome, preaching and teaching, for a period of two years, or until about 61 C.E.—Acts 27:1; 28:1, 11, 16, 30, 31.
28. What dates may logically be assigned to the closing events of Paul’s life?
28 While the historical record of Acts takes us no farther than this, the indications are that Paul was released and continued his missionary activity, traveling to Crete, Greece, and Macedonia. Whether he reached as far as Spain is not known. Likely Paul suffered martyrdom at the hands of Nero shortly after his final imprisonment at Rome in about 65 C.E. Secular history gives July of 64 C.E. as the date of the great fire in Rome, following which Nero’s persecution burst upon the Christians. Paul’s imprisonment in “chains” and subsequent execution fit logically into this period.—2 Tim. 1:16; 4:6, 7.
29. When did the apostolic age end, and with the writing of which Bible books?
29 The five books by the apostle John were written at the end of a time of persecution brought on by Emperor Domitian. He is said to have acted like a madman during the last three years of his reign, which covered 81-96 C.E. It was while in exile on the island of Patmos that John wrote down the Revelation, about 96 C.E.* His Gospel and three letters followed from Ephesus or its vicinity after his release, and this last of the apostles died about 100 C.E.
30. Of what benefit is this study of Bible chronology?
30 It is thus seen that by comparing events of secular history with the Bible’s internal chronology and prophecy, we are helped to place Bible events more clearly in the stream of time. The harmony of the Bible chronology adds to our confidence in the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God.
In studying this chapter, it may be helpful to refer to Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 1, pages 458-67.
Study 2, paragraphs 28, 29.
In 1990, this elapsed time must be subtracted from 6,015 years.
The Watchtower, 1976, page 247; 1959, pages 489-92.
The New Encyclopædia Britannica, 1987, Vol. 5, page 880.
Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, page 342, under “Festus.”
Notes on the Book of Revelation, 1852, by Albert Barnes, pages xxix, xxx.
MAIN EVENTS OF JESUS’ EARTHLY LIFE—The Four Gospels Set in Chronological Order
Symbols: a. for “after”; c. for “circa,” or “about.”
Time Place Event
Leading Up to Jesus’ Ministry
3 B.C.E. Jerusalem, Birth of John the Baptizer foretold
temple to Zechariah
c. 2 B.C.E. Nazareth; Birth of Jesus foretold to Mary,
Judea who visits Elizabeth
2 B.C.E. Judean Birth of John the Baptizer; later,
hill his desert life
country Lu 1:57-80
2 B.C.E., Bethlehem Birth of Jesus (the Word, through
c. Oct. 1 whom all other things had come
into existence) as descendant of
Abraham and of David Mt 1:1-25
Near Bethlehem Angel announces good news;
shepherds visit babe
Bethlehem; Jesus circumcised (8th day),
Jerusalem presented in temple (after 40th day)
1 B.C.E. Jerusalem; Astrologers; flight to Egypt; babes
or 1 C.E. Bethlehem; killed; Jesus’ return Mt 2:1-23
Nazareth Lu 2:39, 40
12 C.E. Jerusalem Twelve-year-old Jesus at the
Passover; goes home Lu 2:41-52
29, spring Wilderness, Ministry of John the Baptizer
The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry
29, fall Jordan River Baptism and anointing of Jesus,
born as a human in David’s line
but declared to be the Son of God
Upper Jordan First disciples of Jesus
Valley Joh 1:35-51
Cana of Jesus’ first miracle; he visits
Galilee; Capernaum Joh 2:1-12
30, Passover Jerusalem Passover celebration; drives
traders from temple
Jerusalem Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus
Judea; Aenon Jesus’ disciples baptize; John to
decrease Joh 3:22-36
Tiberias John imprisoned; Jesus leaves for
Sychar, in En route to Galilee, Jesus
Samaria teaches the Samaritans
Jesus’ Great Ministry in Galilee
Galilee First announces, “The kingdom of
the heavens has drawn near”
Nazareth; Heals boy; reads commission;
Cana; rejected; moves to Capernaum
Sea of Galilee, Call of Simon and Andrew,
near Capernaum James and John Mt 4:18-22
Capernaum Heals demoniac, also Peter’s
mother-in-law and many others
Judea Preaches in Judean synagogues
31, Passover Jerusalem Attends feast; heals man; rebukes
Pharisees Joh 5:1-47
Returning Disciples pluck ears of grain on
from the Sabbath Mt 12:1-8
Galilee; Heals hand on Sabbath; retires to
Sea of seashore; heals Mt 12:9-21
Nain Raises widow’s son Lu 7:11-17
Galilee Cities reproached; revelation to
babes; yoke kindly
Galilee Feet anointed by sinful woman;
illustration of debtors
Galilee Second preaching tour of Galilee,
with the 12 Lu 8:1-3
Galilee Scribes and Pharisees seek a sign
Gadara, SE Two demoniacs healed; swine
of Sea of possessed by demons Mt 8:28-34
Capernaum (?) Heals two blind men and a mute
demoniac Mt 9:27-34
32, near Capernaum (?); Apostles return from preaching tour;
Passover NE side Sea 5,000 fed Mt 14:13-21
NE side Sea Attempt to crown Jesus; he walks on
of Galilee; sea; cures Mt 14:22-36
Capernaum Identifies “bread of life”; many
disciples fall away Joh 6:22-71
32, after Probably Traditions that make void God’s Word
NE side Sea Warns against leaven of Pharisees;
of Galilee; heals blind
Caesarea Jesus the Messiah; foretells death,
Capernaum Tax money miraculously provided
Galilee; Leaves Galilee for Festival of
Samaria booths; everything set aside for
ministerial service Mt 8:19-22
Jesus’ Later Ministry in Judea
32, Festival Jerusalem Jesus’ public teaching at Festival of
of Booths Booths Joh 7:11-52
Jerusalem Teaching after Festival; cures blind
Probably The 70 sent to preach; their return,
Judea report Lu 10:1-24
Judea; Tells of neighborly Samaritan; at
Bethany home of Martha, Mary Lu 10:25-42
Probably Again teaches model prayer;
Judea persistence in asking
Probably Refutes false charge; shows
Judea generation condemnable
Probably At Pharisee’s table, Jesus denounces
Judea hypocrites Lu 11:37-54
Probably Discourse on God’s care; faithful
Judea steward Lu 12:1-59
Probably Heals crippled woman on Sabbath;
Judea three illustrations
32, Festival Jerusalem Jesus at Festival of Dedication; Fine
of Shepherd Joh 10:1-39
Jesus’ Later Ministry East of the Jordan
Beyond Many put faith in Jesus
Jordan Joh 10:40-42
Perea (beyond Teaches in cities, villages, moving
Jordan) toward Jerusalem Lu 13:22
Perea Kingdom entrance; Herod’s threat;
Probably Humility; illustration of grand
Perea evening meal Lu 14:1-24
Probably Counting the cost of discipleship
Perea Lu 14:25-35
Probably Illustrations: lost sheep, lost coin,
Perea prodigal son Lu 15:1-32
Probably Illustrations: unrighteous steward,
Perea rich man and Lazarus Lu 16:1-31
Probably Forgiveness and faith;
Perea good-for-nothing slaves
Bethany Lazarus raised from the dead by Jesus
Jerusalem; Caiaphas’ counsel against Jesus;
Ephraim Jesus withdraws Joh 11:47-54
Samaria; Heals and teaches en route through
Galilee Samaria and Galilee
Samaria or Illustrations: importunate widow,
Galilee Pharisee and tax collector
Probably Third time Jesus foretells his
Perea death, resurrection
Jericho Passing through Jericho, he heals two
blind men; visits Zacchaeus;
illustration of the ten minas
Jesus’ Final Ministry at Jerusalem
Nisan 8, 33 Bethany Arrives at Bethany six days before
Passover Joh 11:55–12:1
Nisan 9 Bethany Feast at Simon the leper’s house;
Mary anoints Jesus; Jews come
to see Jesus and Lazarus
Bethany- Christ’s triumphal entry into
Nisan 10 Bethany- Barren fig tree cursed; second temple
Jerusalem Discussion with Greeks; unbelief of
Jews Joh 12:20-50
Jerusalem, Christ’s authority questioned;
temple illustration of two sons
Jerusalem, Illustrations of wicked cultivators,
temple marriage feast Mt 21:33–22:14
Jerusalem, Catch questions on tax, resurrection,
temple commandment Mt 22:15-40
Jerusalem, Jesus’ silencing question on
temple Messiah’s descent
Mount of Prediction of Jerusalem’s fall,
Olives Jesus’ presence, end of system
Mount of Illustrations: ten virgins, talents,
Olives sheep and goats Mt 25:1-46
Nisan 13 Near and in Arrangements for the Passover
afternoon) Lu 22:7-13
Jerusalem Jesus washes the feet of his
apostles Joh 13:1-20
Jerusalem Judas identified as traitor and is
Jerusalem Memorial supper instituted with
Jerusalem Denial by Peter and dispersion of
Jerusalem Helper; mutual love; tribulation;
Gethsemane Agony in the garden; Jesus’ betrayal
Jerusalem Questioned by Annas; trial by
Caiaphas, Sanhedrin; Peter denies
Jerusalem Before Pilate, then Herod, and then
Jerusalem Delivered to death, after Pilate
seeks his release
(c. 3:00 p.m.,
Friday) Golgotha, Jesus’ death on a torture stake,
Jerusalem and accompanying events
Jerusalem Jesus’ body removed from the torture
stake and buried
Nisan 15 Jerusalem Priests and Pharisees get guard for
tomb Mt 27:62-66
Nisan 16 Jerusalem Jesus’ resurrection and events of
and vicinity that day Mt 28:1-15
a. Nisan 16 Jerusalem; Subsequent appearances of Jesus
Galilee Christ Mt 28:16-20
Iyyar 25 Mount of Jesus’ ascension, 40th day after his
Olives, near resurrection [Acts 1:9-12]
Bethany Lu 24:50-53
Questions on chart covering “Main Events of Jesus’ Earthly Life”:
(a) Name some of the outstanding events in Jesus’ ministry up to the time of the imprisonment of John the Baptizer.
(b) Give the place and year for the following events: (1) The calling of Simon and Andrew, James and John. (2) The choosing of the 12 apostles. (3) The Sermon on the Mount. (4) The transfiguration. (5) The raising of Lazarus from the dead. (6) Jesus’ visit to the home of Zacchaeus.
(c) Name some of the outstanding miracles of Jesus; tell when and where they occurred.
(d) What are some of the principal events concerning Jesus that occurred from Nisan 8 to Nisan 16, 33 C.E.?
(e) What were some of the outstanding illustrations that Jesus gave during his earthly ministry?
CHART OF OUTSTANDING HISTORICAL DATES
Symbols: a. for “after”; b. for “before”; c. for “circa,” or “about.”
Date Event Reference
4026 B.C.E. Adam’s creation Gen. 2:7
a. 4026 B.C.E. Edenic covenant made, first Gen. 3:15
b. 3896 B.C.E. Cain slays Abel Gen. 4:8
3896 B.C.E. Birth of Seth Gen. 5:3
3404 B.C.E. Birth of righteous Enoch Gen. 5:18
3339 B.C.E. Birth of Methuselah Gen. 5:21
3152 B.C.E. Birth of Lamech Gen. 5:25
3096 B.C.E. Death of Adam Gen. 5:5
2970 B.C.E. Birth of Noah Gen. 5:28, 29
2490 B.C.E. God’s pronouncement as to Gen. 6:3
2370 B.C.E. Death of Methuselah Gen. 5:27
2368 B.C.E. Birth of Arpachshad Gen. 11:10
a. 2269 B.C.E. Building of the Tower of Gen. 11:4
2020 B.C.E. Death of Noah Gen. 9:28, 29
on his way to Canaan; Ex. 12:40;
Abrahamic covenant Gal. 3:17
validated; beginning of
the 430-year period to Law
1932 B.C.E. Ishmael born Gen. 16:15, 16
Judgment of Sodom and Gen. 19:24
heir; beginning of the Acts 13:17-20
‘about 450 years’
sent away; beginning of the Acts 7:6
1878 B.C.E. Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah Gen. 25:20
1868 B.C.E. Death of Shem Gen. 11:11
1858 B.C.E. Birth of Esau and Jacob Gen. 25:26
1843 B.C.E. Death of Abraham Gen. 25:7
1818 B.C.E. Esau marries first two wives Gen. 26:34
1795 B.C.E. Death of Ishmael Gen. 25:17
1774 B.C.E. Jacob marries Leah and Rachel Gen. 29:23-30
1767 B.C.E. Birth of Joseph Gen. 30:23, 24
c. 1761 B.C.E. Jacob wrestles angel; is Gen. 32:24-28
1738 B.C.E. Death of Isaac Gen. 35:28, 29
1711 B.C.E. Death of Jacob Gen. 47:28
1657 B.C.E. Death of Joseph Gen. 50:26
a. 1600 B.C.E. Egypt attains prominence as Ex. 1:8
first world power
c. 1514 B.C.E. Moses at the burning Ex. 3:2
1513 B.C.E. Passover; Israelites leave Ex. 12:12;
Egypt’s power shaken; end of Gen. 15:13, 14
400-year period of affliction
Law covenant made at Ex. 24:6-8
Mt. Sinai (Horeb)
Moses compiles Genesis in John 5:46
wilderness; Bible writing
1512 B.C.E. Tabernacle construction Ex. 40:17
Installation of the Aaronic Lev. 8:34-36
c. 1473 B.C.E. Moses completes the book of Job 42:16, 17
Covenant with Israel at Moab Deut. 29:1
Israel enters Canaan under Josh. 4:19
completed; end of the ‘about Jos 14:10-15
450 years’ of Acts 13:17-20
Death of Joshua Josh. 24:29
1107 B.C.E. Birth of David at Bethlehem 1 Sam. 16:1
c. 1100 B.C.E. Samuel completes the book Judg. 21:25
c. 1090 B.C.E. Samuel completes the book Ruth 4:18-22
c. 1078 B.C.E. Book of 1 Samuel completed 1 Sam. 31:6
1077 B.C.E. David becomes king of Judah 2 Sam. 2:4
1070 B.C.E. David becomes king over all 2 Sam. 5:3-7
Israel; makes Jerusalem his
Jerusalem; covenant for a
kingdom made with David
c. 1040 B.C.E. Gad and Nathan complete 2 Sam. 24:18
1034 B.C.E. Construction of temple by 1 Ki. 6:1
1027 B.C.E. Temple in Jerusalem completed 1 Ki. 6:38
c. 1020 B.C.E. Solomon completes The Song of Song of Sol. 1:1
b. 1000 B.C.E. Solomon completes the book of Eccl. 1:1
997 B.C.E. Rehoboam succeeds Solomon; 1 Ki. 11:43;
kingdom split; Jeroboam 1Ki 12:19, 20
begins reign as king of
993 B.C.E. Shishak invades Judah and
takes treasures from temple 1 Ki. 14:25, 26
980 B.C.E. Abijam (Abijah) succeeds 1 Ki. 15:1, 2
Rehoboam as king of Judah
977 B.C.E. Asa succeeds Abijam as king 1 Ki. 15:9, 10
c. 976 B.C.E. Nadab succeeds Jeroboam as 1 Ki. 14:20
king of Israel
c. 975 B.C.E. Baasha succeeds Nadab as 1 Ki. 15:33
king of Israel
c. 952 B.C.E. Elah succeeds Baasha as king 1 Ki. 16:8
c. 951 B.C.E. Zimri succeeds Elah as king 1 Ki. 16:15
Omri and Tibni succeed Zimri 1 Ki. 16:21
as kings of Israel
c. 947 B.C.E. Omri rules as king of Israel 1 Ki. 16:22, 23
c. 940 B.C.E. Ahab succeeds Omri as king 1 Ki. 16:29
936 B.C.E. Jehoshaphat succeeds Asa as 1 Ki. 22:41, 42
king of Judah
c. 919 B.C.E. Ahaziah succeeds Ahab as 1 Ki. 22:51, 52
sole king of Israel
c. 917 B.C.E. Jehoram of Israel succeeds 2 Ki. 3:1
Ahaziah as sole king
913 B.C.E. Jehoram of Judah ‘becomes 2 Ki. 8:16, 17
king,’ with Jehoshaphat
c. 906 B.C.E. Ahaziah succeeds Jehoram as 2 Ki. 8:25, 26
king of Judah
c. 905 B.C.E. Queen Athaliah usurps throne 2 Ki. 11:1-3
898 B.C.E. Jehoash succeeds Ahaziah as 2 Ki. 12:1
king of Judah
876 B.C.E. Jehoahaz succeeds Jehu as king 2 Ki. 13:1
c. 859 B.C.E. Jehoash succeeds Jehoahaz as 2 Ki. 13:10
sole king of Israel
858 B.C.E. Amaziah succeeds Jehoash as 2 Ki. 14:1, 2
king of Judah
c. 844 B.C.E. Jeroboam II succeeds Jehoash 2 Ki. 14:23
as king of Israel
Jonah completes the book of Jonah 1:1, 2
829 B.C.E. Uzziah (Azariah) succeeds 2 Ki. 15:1, 2
Amaziah as king of Judah
c. 820 B.C.E. Book of Joel perhaps written Joel 1:1
c. 804 B.C.E. Amos completes the book of Amos 1:1
c. 792 B.C.E. Zechariah rules as king of 2 Ki. 15:8
Israel (6 months)
Menahem succeeds Shallum as
king of Israel
c. 780 B.C.E. Pekahiah succeeds Menahem as 2 Ki. 15:23
king of Israel
c. 778 B.C.E. Pekah succeeds Pekahiah as 2 Ki. 15:27
king of Israel
777 B.C.E. Jotham succeeds Uzziah 2 Ki. 15:32, 33
(Azariah) as king of Judah
c. 761 B.C.E. Ahaz succeeds Jotham as king 2 Ki. 16:1, 2
c. 758 B.C.E. Hoshea ‘begins to reign’ as 2 Ki. 15:30
king of Israel
745 B.C.E. Hezekiah succeeds Ahaz as 2 Ki. 18:1, 2
king of Judah
a. 745 B.C.E. Hosea completes the book of Hos. 1:1
732 B.C.E. Sennacherib invades Judah 2 Ki. 18:13
a. 732 B.C.E. Isaiah completes the book of Isa. 1:1
b. 717 B.C.E. Micah completes the book of Mic. 1:1
c. 717 B.C.E. Compiling of Proverbs Prov. 25:1
716 B.C.E. Manasseh succeeds Hezekiah 2 Ki. 21:1
as king of Judah
661 B.C.E. Amon succeeds Manasseh as 2 Ki. 21:19
king of Judah
659 B.C.E. Josiah succeeds Amon as king 2 Ki. 22:1
b. 648 B.C.E. Zephaniah completes the book Zeph. 1:1
b. 632 B.C.E. Nahum completes the book Nah. 1:1
632 B.C.E. Nineveh falls to Chaldeans Nah. 3:7
Babylon now in line to become
third world power
628 B.C.E. Jehoahaz, successor of Josiah, 2 Ki. 23:31
rules as king of Judah
Jehoiakim succeeds Jehoahaz 2 Ki. 23:36
as king of Judah
c. 628 B.C.E. Habakkuk completes the book Hab. 1:1
625 B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzar (II) becomes Jer. 25:1
king of Babylon; first regnal
year counts from Nisan
of 624 B.C.E.
620 B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzar makes 2 Ki. 24:1
Jehoiakim tributary king
617 B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzar takes first Dan. 1:1-4;
Jewish captives to Babylon
Zedekiah is made king of Judah 2 Ki. 24:12-18
613 B.C.E. Ezekiel begins prophesying Ezek. 1:1-3
609 B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzar comes against
Judah a third time; begins 2 Ki. 25:1, 2
siege of Jerusalem
Seventh month, Jews abandon 2 Ki. 25:25, 26;
Judah; “appointed times of Luke 21:24
the nations” begin to count
Jeremiah writes Lamentations Lam. introduction,
c. 607 B.C.E. Obadiah writes the book of Obad. 1
539 B.C.E. Babylon falls to the Medes Dan. 5:30, 31
and Persians; Medo-Persia
becomes the fourth world power
537 B.C.E. Decree of Cyrus the Persian 2 Chron. 36:22, 23;
Jerusalem takes effect;
c. 536 B.C.E. Daniel completes the book Dan. 10:1
536 B.C.E. Foundation of temple laid by Ezra 3:8-10
522 B.C.E. Ban put on temple-building Ezra 4:23, 24
520 B.C.E. Haggai completes the book Hag. 1:1
518 B.C.E. Zechariah completes the book Zech. 1:1
515 B.C.E. Zerubbabel completes second Ezra 6:14, 15
468 B.C.E. Ezra and priests return to Ezra 7:7
c. 460 B.C.E. Ezra completes the books of Ezra 1:1;
1 and 2 Chronicles and Ezra; 2 Chron. 36:22
final compilation of Psalms
Nehemiah; prophecy of 70 Ne 6:15;
weeks begins fulfillment Dan. 9:24
a. 443 B.C.E. Nehemiah completes the book of Neh. 5:14
Malachi completes the book Mal. 1:1
406 B.C.E. Rebuilding of Jerusalem is Dan. 9:25
332 B.C.E. Greece, fifth world power, Dan. 8:21
c. 280 B.C.E. The Greek Septuagint begun
165 B.C.E. Rededication of temple after John 10:22
desecration by Greek
idolatry; Festival of
c. 37 B.C.E. Herod (appointed king by Rome)
takes Jerusalem by storm
33 C.E. Nisan 14: Jesus becomes
sacrifice providing basis
Nisan 16: the resurrection Matt. 28:1-10
of spirit; Peter opens the
way for Jews to Christian
36 C.E. End of the 70 weeks of years; Dan. 9:24-27;
first one of the uncircumcised
people of the nations to
enter the Christian
c. 41 C.E. Matthew writes the Gospel
c. 47-48 C.E. Paul begins first missionary Acts 13:1–14:28
c. 49 C.E. Governing body rules against Acts 15:28, 29
requiring circumcision for
the believers from the
c. 49-52 C.E. Paul’s second missionary tour Acts 15:36–18:22
c. 50 C.E. Paul writes 1 Thessalonians 1 Thess. 1:1
c. 51 C.E. Paul writes 2 Thessalonians 2 Thess. 1:1
c. 50-52 C.E. Paul writes his letter to the Gal. 1:1
Galatians from Corinth or
c. 52-56 C.E. Paul’s third missionary tour Acts 18:23–21:19
c. 55 C.E. Paul writes 1 Corinthians from 1 Cor. 15:32;
Ephesus and 2 Corinthians 2 Cor. 2:12, 13
c. 56 C.E. Paul writes the letter to the Rom. 16:1
Romans from Corinth
c. 56-58 C.E. Luke writes the Gospel Luke 1:1, 2
c. 60-61 C.E. From Rome Paul writes:
Ephesians Eph. 3:1
Philippians Phil. 4:22
Colossians Col. 4:18
Philemon Philem. 1
Luke completes the book of
Acts in Rome
b. 62 C.E. James, Jesus’ brother, Jas. 1:1
writes the letter entitled
“James” from Jerusalem
c. 60-65 C.E. Mark writes the Gospel
c. 61-64 C.E. Paul writes 1 Timothy from 1 Tim. 1:3
Paul writes Titus from Titus 1:5
c. 64 C.E. Peter writes 2 Peter from 2 Pet. 1:1
c. 65 C.E. Paul writes 2 Timothy from 2 Tim. 4:16-18
c. 96 C.E. John, on Patmos, writes Rev. 1:9
c. 98 C.E. John writes the Gospel John 21:22, 23
entitled “John” and his
letters 1, 2, and 3 John;
Bible writing completed
c. 100 C.E. John, the last of the 2 Thess. 2:7
NOTE: It should be borne in mind that while many of these dates are firmly established, in the case of some, approximate dates are given, based on the available evidence. The purpose of the chart is not to fix unalterable dates for each event but to help Bible students to locate events in the stream of time and see their relationship to one another.
Questions on “Chart of Outstanding Historical Dates” and “Table of the Books of the Bible”:
(a) By comparing the two charts, name some of the prophets and Bible writers who lived (1) prior to the setting up of the kingdom of Israel in 1117 B.C.E., (2) during the time of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, (3) during the time from the beginning of the exile in Babylon until the completion of the Hebrew Scripture canon.
(b) Locate the time of the writing of Paul’s letters in relation to his missionary tours.
(c) What other interesting points do you note as to the time of the writing of other books of the Christian Greek Scriptures?
(d) Relate the following persons to some prominent event in Bible history, stating whether they lived before or after the event, or associate them with other persons living at the same time: Shem, Samuel, Methuselah, Lot, King Saul, David, Job, King Hoshea of Israel, Solomon, Aaron, King Zedekiah of Judah.
(e) What outstanding events occurred during the lifetime of (1) Noah, (2) Abraham, (3) Moses?
(f) Match the following dates (B.C.E.) with the outstanding events listed below: 4026, 2370, 1943, 1513, 1473, 1117, 997, 740, 607, 539, 537, 455.
Creation of Adam
Law covenant made at Sinai
Jews return to Jerusalem after Cyrus’ decree
Inspired Bible writing begins
The Flood begins
Babylon falls to Medes and Persians
First king of Israel anointed
Abraham crosses Euphrates; Abrahamic covenant validated
Kingdoms of Israel and Judah split
Northern kingdom subjugated by Assyria
Jerusalem’s walls rebuilt by Nehemiah
Israelites delivered from Egypt
Joshua leads Israel into Canaan
Jerusalem’s 70-year desolation ends
[Chart on page 298]
TABLE OF THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
(Some dates [and places written] are uncertain. The symbol a. means “after”; b., “before”; and c., “circa,” or “about.”)
Books of the Hebrew Scriptures Before the Common Era (B.C.E.)
Name of The Place Writing Time
Book Writer Written Completed Covered
Genesis Moses Wilderness 1513 “In the
Exodus Moses Wilderness 1512 1657-1512
Leviticus Moses Wilderness 1512 1 month
(1512)Numbers Moses Wilderness/
Moab 1473 1512-1473
Deuteronomy Moses Plains of
Moab 1473 2 months (1473)
Joshua Joshua Canaan c. 1450 1473-c. 1450
Judges Samuel Israel c. 1100 c. 1450–c. 1120
Ruth Samuel Israel c. 1090 11 years of
1 Samuel Samuel;
Nathan Israel c. 1078 c. 1180-1078
2 Samuel Gad;
Nathan Israel c. 1040 1077–c. 1040
and 2 Kings Jeremiah Judah/Egypt 580 c. 1040-580
1 Chronicles and
2 Chronicles Ezra Jerusalem (?) c. 460 After
Ezra Ezra Jerusalem c. 460 537–c. 467
Nehemiah Nehemiah Jerusalem a. 443 456–a. 443
Esther Mordecai Shushan,
Elam c. 475 493–c. 475
Job Moses Wilderness c. 1473 Over 140 years
between 1657 and
Psalms David and c. 460
Proverbs Solomon; Jerusalem c. 717
Ecclesiastes Solomon Jerusalem b. 1000
Song of Solomon Jerusalem c. 1020
Isaiah Isaiah Jerusalem a. 732 c. 778–a. 732
Jeremiah Jeremiah Judah/Egypt 580 647-580
Lamentations Jeremiah Near 607
Ezekiel Ezekiel Babylon c. 591 613–c. 591
Daniel Daniel Babylon c. 536 618–c. 536
Hosea Hosea Samaria a. 745 b. 804–a. 745
Joel Joel Judah c. 820 (?)
Amos Amos Judah c. 804
Obadiah Obadiah c. 607
Jonah Jonah c. 844
Micah Micah Judah b. 717 c. 777-717
Nahum Nahum Judah b. 632
Habakkuk Habakkuk Judah c. 628 (?)
Zephaniah Zephaniah Judah b. 648
Haggai Haggai Jerusalem 520 112 days (520)
Zechariah Zechariah Jerusalem 518 520-518
Malachi Malachi Jerusalem a. 443
Books of the Greek Scriptures Written During the Common Era (C.E.)
Name of The Place Writing Time
Book Writer Written Completed Covered
Matthew Matthew Palestine c. 41 2 B.C.E.–33 C.E.
Mark Mark Rome c. 60-65 29-33 C.E.
Luke Luke Caesarea c. 56-58 3 B.C.E.–33 C.E.
John Apostle Ephesus, c. 98 After prologue,
John or near 29-33 C.E.
Acts Luke Rome c. 61 33–c. 61 C.E.
Romans Paul Corinth c. 56
1 Corinthians Paul Ephesus c. 55
2 Corinthians Paul Macedonia c. 55
Galatians Paul Corinth or c. 50-52
Ephesians Paul Rome c. 60-61
Philippians Paul Rome c. 60-61
Colossians Paul Rome c. 60-61
1 Thessalonians Paul Corinth c. 50
2 Thessalonians Paul Corinth c. 51
1 Timothy Paul Macedonia c. 61-64
2 Timothy Paul Rome c. 65
Titus Paul Macedonia c. 61-64
Philemon Paul Rome c. 60-61
Hebrews Paul Rome c. 61
James James Jerusalem b. 62
1 Peter Peter Babylon c. 62-64
2 Peter Peter Babylon (?) c. 64
1 John Apostle Ephesus, c. 98
John or near
2 John Apostle Ephesus, c. 98
John or near
3 John Apostle Ephesus, c. 98
John or near
Jude Jude Palestine (?) c. 65
Revelation Apostle Patmos c. 96