The Dating of the New Testament/The Chronology of Acts


I spent about 4 hours more than I anticipated reconciling the cronological dating of the books of the Bible to the chronological timeline of Acts. I used quite a few sources, but unfortunately didn’t note them done and completed this work a few months ago (at least one source was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Christianity).

I just realised that I’m missing a chapter by chapter comparison to Acts. That’d be the cherry on the cake. I’ll get around to it in the next few weeks.

The reason why I’m publishing this now is that I’ve recently being chatting to Jeff Gage from Free Grace Baptist Church in Boksburg. He is a fascinating guy, a real treat to chat to. He’s a Preterist; but who am I to judge :). Anyway he dates Revelation in like 30 – 60 something AD and I really wanted to bed down my own dating; hence the efforts.

Got an opinion on the dating of the books of the New Testament? I’m sure I’d love to hear them.

The Dating of the New Testament The Chronology of Acts
Date Book Date Event Recorded in Acts
44? Saint James the Great: According to ancient local tradition, on 2 January of the year AD 40, the Virgin Mary appeared to James on a Pilar on the bank of the Ebro River at Caesaraugusta, while he was preaching the Gospel in Spain. Following that vision, St James returned to Judea, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44 during a Passover (Nisan 15) (Acts 12:1-3).
44 Death of Herod Agrippa I (JA19.8.2, Acts 12:20-23)
AD 45-55

Galatians 45-49? Mission of Barnabas and Paul, (Acts 13:1-14:28), to Cyprus, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (there they were called “gods … in human form”), then return to Syrian Antioch. Map1
49 Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus,[6] he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome. (referenced in Acts 18:2)[7]
AD 50

1 Thessalonians 50? Council of Jerusalem and the “Apostolic Decree”, Acts 15:1-35, same as Galatians 2:1-10?, which is followed by the Incident at Antioch[8] at which Paul publicly accused Peter of “Judaizing” (2:11-21), see also Circumcision controversy in early Christianity
AD 50

2 Thessalonians 50-53? Paul’s 2nd mission, (Acts 15:36-18:22), split with Barnabas, to Phrygia, Galatia, Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, “he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken”, then return to Antioch; 1 Thessalonians, Galatians written? Map2
AD 50-200

James
53-57? Paul’s 3rd mission, (Acts 18:23-22:30), to Galatia, Phrygia, Corinth, Ephesus, Macedonia, Greece, and Jerusalem where James the Just challenged him about rumor of teaching antinomianism (21:21), he addressed a crowd in their language (most likely Aramaic), Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Philippians written? Map3
55? Egyptian Prophet (allusion to Moses) and 30,000 unarmed Jews doing The Exodus reenactment massacred by Procurator Antonius Felix (JW2.13.5, JA20.8.6, Acts 21:38)
AD 56

Philemon
AD 57

Corinthians
AD 57–58

Romans
AD 57–62

Philippians
58? Paul arrested, accused of being a revolutionary, “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes”, teaching resurrection of the dead, imprisoned in Caesarea (Acts 23-26)
59? Paul shipwrecked on Malta, there he was called a god (Acts 28:6)
AD 60+

Colossians 60? Paul in Rome: greeted by many “brothers” (NRSV: “believers”), three days later called together the Jewish leaders, who hadn’t received any word from Judea about him, but were curious about “this sect”, which everywhere is spoken against; he tried to convince them from the “Law and Prophets”, with partial success, said the Gentiles would listen and spent two years proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching the “Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:15-31); Epistle to Philemon written?
AD 60-70

Gospel of Mark
AD 60-85

Gospel of Matthew
AD 60-90

Gospel of Luke
AD 60-90

Acts
AD 60-96

First Peter
AD 60-100

Timothy
AD 60-100

Titus
AD 60-130

Second Peter
AD 65

Ephesians
AD 66-90

Jude
AD 68-100

Revelation
AD 80-90

Hebrews
AD 80-95

Gospel of John
AD 90-100

Epistles of John
As a jpg The Dating of the New Testament and The Chronology of Acts
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9 thoughts on “The Dating of the New Testament/The Chronology of Acts

  1. As far as the evidence for the date Revelation goes, the internal evidence for its being pre-fall of Jerusalem or post- basically cancels one another out. What swings the decision, for me, towards a post-90 date is the external evidence – Irenaeus in specific.

    • I’m Pre-Trib, Pre-Mil; so I obviously default to a later dating. It was however so interesting to listen to the arguments from the “other camp”. Added to that I really respect Jeff (do you know him? I can’t remember, are you part of Sola 5?).

      My next post, as an outcome of the conversation will be related to hermeneutics. I’m preaching this week on Galatians 4:21 – 31; Jeff’s take regarding rules for interpretation – beyond just unfulfilled prophecy – were well worth pondering.

  2. I’m with you all the way until you hit the dating of Luke. I see you really put some years in there 60-90.That gives me the impression you still investigating.

    I think if you believe Peter to be the writer of Peter you can safely put it before 68AD. (I also believe 2 Peter was written by Peter.)

    Your range on Timothy and Titus can also be guided by the time of Pauls death, Acts will also be able to help you with that dating. Pauls time of death(Acts does not mention the exsicusion of Paul so it was written before that) and will also be able to get to a closer cut off time for the book of Acts.

    • Hey Tommie, My mom just sent me a mail to query my ranged dating of Revelation. I guess I’m going to need to create a few more columns (e.g. Preterist dating, Pre-Trib/Pre-Mil dating… through to Liberal dating). May be a very interesting exercise.

      Thanks for the thought provoking comment.

  3. Mark,
    I’ve been referencing a table in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Volume 2, Page 431. (occurs right after the book of Acts) For several years now, I read Acts together with the Epistles in chronological order. In other words I pause in the Book of Acts and go read the Epistle that Paul would have been writing at about that time in the storyline.

    This has really helped cement in my mind the sequence of events and development of thought as the Gospel progresses from Jerusalem out and then westward towards Rome.

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