Chronology of the Bible

Sequence of all important in Christianity

General Information

This presentation gives a chronological sequence of the events described in the Bible. Each event includes the appropriate Scriptural reference(s). Also, the location of the events are indicated, as appropriate.

Much of the chronology of the Old Testament presents many complex and difficult problems. Often the data are completely lacking, and where they exist, they are often not particularly adequate or clear in statement. Even where the data are abundant, the precise meaning is often not immediately clear, and there are therefore many interpretations possible. For the period from the Creation, through Adam, to Abraham, essentially no external corroboration exists for the Biblical statements. In that period, the Bible describes a variety of genealogical numbers between the Flood and Abraham, but the Masoretic text, the LXX, and the Samaritan Pentateuch, tend to provide different numbers! (They should be the same.)

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Beginning around 1000 BC, certain Biblical references to external people and events have been matched to information amassed by historians. Therefore, those dates become somewhat more certain. By the time of Jesus, a number of large societies used established calendars, so the years are likely to be even more certain. Modern research by both Biblical scholars and historians continue to improve the accuracy of the dates of the various events described and mentioned in the Bible.

For events during the life of Jesus, please see the separate Chronology for that period, at: Chronology of the Life of Jesus.

The Old Testament

DescriptionWhereWhenScripture
The Creation of the Universe.before calendars Gen 1
The Creation of Light.before calendars Gen 1:3-4
The Creation of the Earth.before calendars Gen 1:9-10
The Creation of Oceans.before calendars Gen 1:9-10
The Creation of Plants.before calendars Gen 1:11-12
The Creation of Fish.before calendars Gen 1:20-22
The Creation of Land Animals.before calendars Gen 1:24-25
The Creation of ManEdenbefore calendars Gen 1:26
The Flood (the Deluge)before calendars Gen 7:11
Abrahamc. 1921 BC Gen 11:26
The Patriarchsc. 1921-1706 BC Gen
The Descent into Egyptc. 1706 BC Gen 37:25
Moses, the ExodusEgyptc. 1491 BC Exod 2:1-10
c. 1445 BC Exod 5:25
c. 1445 BC
The Crossing of the Jordanc. 1451 BC
Coronation of SaulIsraelc. 1095 BC
Saul, David, Solomon, The United Monarchyc. 1050 BC
The Division of the Monarchyc. 975 BC
Judah, Israel, The Divided Monarchy931 BC 1Sam 11:8; 1Kings 14:19,29
Israel, The Assyrian Captivity
Fall of Samaria
c. 722 BC2Kings 17:6; 18:11
Judah, the Babylonian Captivity586 BC
Judah Released from Babylonian Captivity538 BC
Nehemiah returned to Babylon433 BC



During Jesus' Life

4 BC - 30 AD
See Chronology of the Life of Jesus



After the Crucifixion

DescriptionWhereWhenScripture

The Resurrection and the Great Forty Days

See Chronology of the Life of Jesus



The Apostles, Books

DescriptionWhereWhenScripture
Pentecostc. 30 AD
Conversion of Saul/Paul34 or 35 AD
Death of Herod Agrippa44 AD
Epistle of Jamesbefore 50 AD James
First Missionary Journey48-49 AD
Jerusalem Conference49 or 50 AD
Second Missionary Journeybegun Spring 50 AD
Paul at CorinthCorinth50-52 AD
1Thess and 2Thess composedCorinth51 AD 1Thess, 2Thess
Galatians composedCorinth(?)early 52 AD Galatians
Gallio as ProconsulMay 52 AD
Third Missionary Journeybegun 54 AD
Paul at EphesusEphesus54-57 AD
1Cor composedEphesusSpring 57 AD 1Cor
2Cor composedMacedoniaFall 57 AD 2Cor
Romans composedCorinthWinter 57-58 AD Romans
Paul's arrest at JerusalemJerusalemPentecost 58 AD
Paul's imprisonment at CaesareaCaesarea58-60 AD
Paul on the island of MaltaMaltaWinter 60-61
Paul's arrival at RomeRomeSpring 61 AD
Paul's imprisonment in RomeRome61-63 AD
Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians composedRomeSummer 62 AD Col, Philemon, Eph
Philippians composedSpring 63 AD Philip
Paul's release and further work63-65 AD
1 Tim, Titus composed63 AD 1Tim, Titus
Hebrews composed64 AD Hebrews
Synoptic Gospels and Actsbefore 67 AD Matt, Mark, Luke, Acts
1Peter, 2Peter composedRome64-65 AD 1Peter, 2Peter
Peter's death at RomeRome65 AD
Paul's second Roman imprisonmentRome66 AD
2Tim composedRome66 AD 2Tim
Paul's death at RomeRomelate 66 or early 67 AD
Epistle of Jude composed67-68 AD Jude
Destruction of Jerusalem70 AD
Writings of Johnbefore 100 AD Rev, 1John, 2John, 3John
Death of John98-100 AD



Later Christian History

DescriptionWhereWhen
Marcionc. 140 AD
Irenaeus130-202 AD
Old Latin Bible150-170 AD
Muratorianc. 170 AD
Tertullian150-220 AD
Old Syriac Bible200 AD
Origen185-254 AD
Hippolytus200-225 AD
Eusebius325-340 AD
Codex Vaticanus325-350 AD
Codex Sinaiticus325-425 AD
Athanasius367 AD
Amphilocius380 AD
Peshitta Bible375-400 AD
Carthage 3c. 397 AD
Codex Alexandrinus425-475 AD
NOTE: There are substantial variances of opinion on some of the dates above.
Jerome / Vulgate Bible384 AD
Council of Nicaea325 AD
Great Schism1054 or 1204 AD
Wyckliffe Bible1384 AD
Tyndale Bible1531 AD
King James Bible1611 AD
Rheims and Douai (Catholic) Bible1582, 1609 AD
Revised Standard Bible1946, 1971 AD
NIV Bible1973, 1984 AD

Chronology

Advanced Information

Chronology is the arrangement of facts and events in the order of time. The writers of the Bible themselves do not adopt any standard era according to which they date events. Sometimes the years are reckoned, e.g., from the time of the Exodus (Num. 1:1; 33:38; 1 Kings 6:1), and sometimes from the accession of kings (1 Kings 15:1, 9, 25, 33, etc.), and sometimes again from the return from Exile (Ezra 3:8). Hence in constructing a system of Biblical chronology, the plan has been adopted of reckoning the years from the ages of the patriarchs before the birth of their firstborn sons for the period from the Creation to Abraham.

After this period other data are to be taken into account in determining the relative sequence of events. As to the patriarchal period, there are three principal systems of chronology: (1) that of the Hebrew text, (2) that of the Septuagint version, and (3) that of the Samaritan Pentateuch, as seen in the scheme on the opposite page.

The Samaritan and the Septuagint have considerably modified the Hebrew chronology. This modification some regard as having been wilfully made, and to be rejected. The same system of variations is observed in the chronology of the period between the Flood and Abraham. Thus: The Septuagint fixes on seventy years as the age of Terah at the birth of Abraham, from Gen. 11:26; but a comparison of Gen. 11:32 and Acts 7:4 with Gen. 12:4 shows that when Terah died, at the age of two hundred and five years, Abraham was seventy-five years, and hence Terah must have been one hundred and thirty years when Abraham was born. Thus, including the two years from the Flood to the birth of Arphaxad, the period from the Flood to the birth of Abraham was three hundred and fifty-two years.

The next period is from the birth of Abraham to the Exodus. This, according to the Hebrew, extends to five hundred and five years. The difficulty here is as to the four hundred and thirty years mentioned Ex. 12:40, 41; Gal. 3:17. These years are regarded by some as dating from the covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15), which was entered into soon after his sojourn in Egypt; others, with more probability, reckon these years from Jacob's going down into Egypt. (See Exodus.)

In modern times the systems of Biblical chronology that have been adopted are chiefly those of Ussher and Hales. The former follows the Hebrew, and the latter the Septuagint mainly. Archbishop Ussher's (died 1656) system is called the short chronology. It is that given on the margin of the Authorized Version, but is really of no authority, and is quite uncertain.

To show at a glance the different ideas of the date of the creation, it may be interesting to note the following:

From Creation to the year 1894 AD.

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)

(Note that all those time intervals are generally either the short (Hebrew) chronology (around 5,900 years) or the long (Septuagint) chronology (around 7,400 years).


Chronology of the Bible

Advanced Information

(According to Theophilus, around 168 AD)

(Excerpt from Theophilus to Autolycus - Book III)

Chapter XXIV.--Chronology from Adam.

Adam lived till he begat a son, [687] 230 years. And his son Seth, 205. And his son Enos, 190. And his son Cainan, 170. And his son Mahaleel, 165. And his son Jared, 162. And his son Enoch, 165. And his son Methuselah, 167. And his son Lamech, 188. And Lamech's son was Noah, of whom we have spoken above, who begat Shem when 500 years old. During Noah's life, in his 600th year, the flood came. The total number of years, therefore, till the flood, was 2242. And immediately after the flood, Shem, who was 100 years old, begat Arphaxad. And Arphaxad, when 135 years old, begat Salah. And Salah begat a son when 130. And his son Eber, when 134. And from him the Hebrews name their race. And his son Phaleg begat a son when 130. And his son Reu, when 132 And his son Serug, when 130. And his son Nahor, when 75. And his son Terah, when 70. And his son Abraham, our patriarch, begat Isaac when he was 100 years old. Until Abraham, therefore, there are 3278 years. The fore-mentioned Isaac lived until he begat a son, 60 years, and begat Jacob. Jacob, till the migration into Egypt, of which we have spoken above, lived 130 years. And the sojourning of the Hebrews in Egypt lasted 430 years; and after their departure from the land of Egypt they spent 40 years in the wilderness, as it is called. All these years, therefore, amount to 3,938. And at that time, Moses having died, Jesus the sun of Nun succeeded to his rule, and governed them 27 years. And after Jesus, when the people had transgressed the commandments of God, they served the king of Mesopotamia, by name Chusarathon, 8 years. Then, on the repentance of the people, they had judges: Gothonoel, 40 years; Eglon, 18 years; Aoth, 8 years. Then having sinned, they were subdued by strangers for 20 years. Then Deborah judged them 40 years. Then they served the Midianites 7 years. Then Gideon judged them 40 years; Abimelech, 3 years; Thola, 22 years; Jair, 22 years. Then the Philistines and Ammonites ruled them 18 years. After that Jephthah judged them 6 years; Esbon, 7 years; Ailon, 10 years; Abdon, 8 years. Then strangers ruled them 40 years. Then Samson judged them 20 years. Then there was peace among them for 40 years. Then Samera judged them one year; Eli, 20 years; Samuel, 12 years.


[687] i.e., till he begat Seth. [A fragment of the Chronicon of Julius Africanus, a.d. 232, is given in Routh's Reliquiæ, tom. ii. p. 238, with very rich annotations. pp. 357-509.]


Chapter XXV.--From Saul to the Captivity.

And after the judges they had kings, the first named Saul, who reigned 20 years; then David, our forefather, who reigned 40 years. Accordingly, there are to the reign of David [from Isaac] 496 years. And after these kings Solomon reigned, who also, by the will of God, was the first to build the temple in Jerusalem; he reigned 40 years. And after him Rehoboam, 17 years; and after him Abias, 7 years; and after him Asa, 41 years; and after him Jehoshaphat, 25 years; and after him Joram, 8 years; and after him Ahaziah, 1 year; and after him Athaliah, 6 years; and after her Josiah, 40 years; and after him Amaziah, 39 years; and after him Uzziah, 52 years; and after him Jotham, 16 years; and after him Ahaz, 17 years; and after him Hezekiah, 29 years; and after him Manasseh, 55 years; and after him Amon, 2 years; and after him Josiah, 31 years; and after him Jehoahaz, 3 months; and after him Jehoiakim, 11 years. Then another Jehoiakim, 3 months 10 days; and after him Zedekiah, 11 years. And after these kings, the people, continuing in their sins, and not repenting, the king of Babylon, named Nebuchadnezzar, came up into Judæa, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah. He transferred the people of the Jews to Babylon, and destroyed the temple which Solomon had built. And in the Babylonian banishment the people passed 70 years. Until the sojourning in the land of Babylon, there are therefore, in all, 4954 years 6 months and 10 days. And according as God had, by the prophet Jeremiah, foretold that the people should be led captive to Babylon, in like manner He signified beforehand that they should also return into their own land after 70 years. These 70 years then being accomplished, Cyrus becomes king of the Persians, who, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, issued a decree in the second year of his reign, enjoining by his edict that all Jews who were in his kingdom should return to their own country, and rebuild their temple to God, which the fore-mentioned king of Babylon had demolished. Moreover, Cyrus, in compliance with the instructions of God, gave orders to his own bodyguards, Sabessar and Mithridates, that the vessels which had been taken out of the temple of Judæa by Nebuchadnezzar should be restored, and placed again in the temple. In the second year, therefore, of Darius are fulfilled the 70 years which were foretold by Jeremiah.


Chapter XXVI.--Contrast Between Hebrew and Greek Writings.

Hence one can see how our sacred writings are shown to be more ancient and true than those of the Greeks and Egyptians, or any other historians. For Herodotus and Thucydides, as also Xenophon, and most other historians, began their relations from about the reign of Cyrus and Darius, not being able to speak with accuracy of prior and ancient times. For what great matters did they disclose if they spoke of Darius and Cyrus, barbarian kings, or of the Greeks Zopyrus and Hippias, or of the wars of the Athenians and Lacedæmonians, or the deeds of Xerxes or of Pausanias, who ran the risk of starving to death in the temple of Minerva, or the history of Themistocles and the Peloponnesian war, or of Alcibiades and Thrasybulus? For my purpose is not to furnish mere matter of much talk, but to throw light upon the number of years from the foundation of the world, and to condemn the empty labour and trifling of these authors, because there have neither been twenty thousand times ten thousand years from the flood to the present time, as Plato said, affirming that there had been so many years; nor yet 15 times 10,375 years, as we have already mentioned Apollonius the Egyptian gave out; nor is the world uncreated, nor is there a spontaneous production of all things, as Pythagoras and the rest dreamed; but, being indeed created, it is also governed by the providence of God, who made all things; and the whole course of time and the years are made plain to those who wish to obey the truth. [688] Lest, then, I seem to have made things plain up to the time of Cyrus, and to neglect the subsequent periods, as if through inability to exhibit them, I will endeavour, by God's help, to give an account, according to my ability, of the course of the subsequent times.


[688] [Usher notes this as affirmed in general terms only, and qualified afterwards, in cap. xxix, infra, note i, p. 121.]


Chapter XXVII.--Roman Chronology to the Death of M. Aurelius.

When Cyrus, then, had reigned twenty-nine years, and had been slain by Tomyris in the country of the Massagetæ, this being in the 62d Olympiad, then the Romans began to increase in power, God strengthening them, Rome having been founded by Romulus, the reputed child of Mars and Ilia, in the 7th Olympiad, on the 21st day of April, the year being then reckoned as consisting of ten months. Cyrus, then, having died, as we have already said, in the 62d Olympiad, this date falls 220 A.U.C., in which year also Tarquinius, surnamed Superbus, reigned over the Romans, who was the first who banished Romans and corrupted the youth, and made eunuchs of the citizens, and, moreover, first defiled virgins, and then gave them in marriage. On this account he was fitly called Superbus in the Roman language, and that is translated "the Proud." For he first decreed that those who saluted him should have their salute acknowledged by some one else. He reigned twenty-five years. After him yearly consuls were introduced, tribunes also and ediles for 453 years, whose names we consider it long and superfluous to recount. For if any one is anxious to learn them, he will ascertain them from the tables which Chryserus the nomenclator compiled: he was a freedman of Aurelius Verus, who composed a very lucid record of all things, both names and dates, from the rounding of Rome to the death of his own patron, the Emperor Verus. The annual magistrates ruled the Romans, as we say, for 453 years. Afterwards those who are called emperors began in this order: first, Caius Julius, who reigned 3 years 4 months 6 days; then Augustus, 56 years 4 months 1 day; Tiberius, 22 years; then another Caius, 3 years 8 months 7 days; Claudius, 23 years 8 months 24 days; Nero, 13 years 6 months 58 days; Galba, 2 years 7 months 6 days; Otho, 3 months 5 days; Vitellius, 6 months 22 days; Vespasian, 9 years 11 months 22 days; Titus, 2 years 22 days; Domitian, 15 years 5 months 6 days; Nerva, 1 year 4 months 10 days; Trajan, 19 years 6 months 16 days; Adrian, 20 years 10 months 28 days; Antoninus, 22 years 7 months 6 days; Verus, 19 years 10 days. The time therefore of the Cæsars to the death of the Emperor Verus is 237 years 5 days. From the death of Cyrus, therefore, and the reign of Tarquinius Superbus, to the death of the Emperor Verus, the whole time amounts to 744 years.


Chapter XXVIII.--Leading Chronological Epochs.

And from the foundation of the world the whole time is thus traced, so far as its main epochs are concerned. From the creation of the world to the deluge were 2242 years. And from the deluge to the time when Abraham our forefather begat a son, 1036 years. And from Isaac, Abraham's son, to the time when the people dwelt with Moses in the desert, 660 years. And from the death of Moses and the rule of Joshua the son of Nun, to the death of the patriarch David, 498 years. And from the death of David and the reign of Solomon to the sojourning of the people in the land of Babylon, 518 years 6 months 10 days. And from the government of Cyrus to the death of the Emperor Aurelius Verus, 744 years. All the years from the creation of the world amount to a total of 5698 years, and the odd months and days. [689]


[689] [As Verus died a.d. 169, the computation of our author makes the creation, b.c. 5529. Hales, who says b.c. 5411, inspires us with great respect for Theophilus, by the degree of accuracy he attained, using (the LXX.) the same authority as his base. Slight variations in the copies used in his day might have led, one would think, to greater discrepancies.]


Also, see:
Sequential Life of Jesus, from the Gospels

Chronology of Jesus' Life (Catholic Article)

Early Documents Regarding the History of Jesus' Life

Miracles Performed by Jesus

OT Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus

Sequence of all important in Christianity

Date of Birth of Jesus, by several Analytical Methods


The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in December 1997.

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