New Testament Timeline

The following chart provides a detailed New Testament timeline. Most of the dates can be determined precisely by correlating biblical events with extensive historical documents and archaeological evidence. Dates with an asterisk denote approximate or alternative dates. The extensive external confirmation of New Testament dates and events encourages great confidence in the truth and historicity of both the Old and New Testaments.

5 b.c.*Jesus is born in Bethlehem.
4 b.c.Jesus’ family flees to Egypt to escape from Herod’s plan to kill Jesus (Matt. 2:13–18); Herod dies; Judas (of Sepphoris) and others rebel, requiring the Syrian Governor Varus to intervene throughout Palestine; Sepphoris, a city four miles from Nazareth, is destroyed by Roman soldiers; Judea, Samaria, and Idumea are given to Herod’s son, Archelaus; Galilee and Perea are given to his son Antipas; Jesus’ family, after returning from Egypt, resides in Nazareth (Matt. 2:19–23), a small village in southern Galilee.
a.d. 6Archelaus is exiled for incompetence; Judea becomes a Roman province; Judas the Galilean (of Gamla) leads a revolt against the tax census; the governor of Syria, Quirinius (a.d. 6–7), appoints Annas high priest (6–15).
8*Jesus (age 12) interacts with the teachers in the temple (Luke 2:41–50).
8*–28/30Jesus works as a carpenter in Nazareth (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3) and probably in neighboring villages and Sepphoris, which was being rebuilt.
28–29*John the Baptist begins his ministry around the Jordan River (John 1:19).
28–30*Jesus begins his ministry in Judea, but soon focuses his efforts in Galilee. In Jerusalem, Pharisees (like Gamaliel) train disciples (like Paul) in their tradition. They send a delegation to Galilee, but the delegation rejects Jesus’ teaching. In Alexandria, Philo (20 b.c.a.d. 50) attempts to unify Greek philosophy with Hebrew Scripture.
33 (or 30)Jesus returns to Judea, is crucified, and resurrected. James the brother of Jesus becomes a believer after witnessing the resurrected Jesus (1 Cor. 15:7; Acts 12:17). Jesus ascends to the Father’s right hand (Acts 1). Jesus’ first followers receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and begin to proclaim the gospel (Acts 2).
33/34*Paul witnesses the resurrected Lord on the way to Damascus and is commissioned as an apostle to the nations (Acts 9; Gal. 1:15–16).
34–37Paul ministers in Damascus and Arabia (Acts 9:19–22; 26:20; Gal. 1:16–18).
36Pilate loses his position for incompetence.
36/37*Paul meets with Peter in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26–30; Gal. 1:18).
37–45Paul ministers in Syria, Tarsus, and Cilicia (Acts 9:30; Gal. 1:21).
38*Peter witnesses to Cornelius (Acts 10).
39Antipas is exiled.
40–45*James writes his letter to believers outside Palestine (see James 1:1).
41–44Agrippa, Herod the Great’s grandson, rules Palestine; he kills James the brother of John (Acts 12:2) and imprisons Peter (Acts 12:3).
42–44Paul receives his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7).
44Peter leaves Jerusalem; Agrippa is killed by an “angel of the Lord” (Acts 12:23).
44–46Theudas persuades many Jews to sell their possessions and follow him into the wilderness where he claimed he would miraculously divide the Jordan River; Roman procurator Fadus dispatches his cavalry and beheads the would-be messiah.
44–47*Paul’s Second Visit to Jerusalem; time of famine (Acts 11:27–30; Gal. 2:1–10).
46–47Paul’s First Missionary Journey (with Barnabas) from Antioch to Cyprus, Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, and Lystra (Acts 13:4–14:26).
46–48Roman procurator Tiberius Alexander crucifies two sons (Jacob and Simon) of Judas the Galilean.
48*Paul writes Galatians, perhaps from Antioch (see Acts 14:26–28).
48–49*Paul and Peter return to Jerusalem for the Apostolic Council, which, with the assistance of James, frees Gentile believers from the requirement of circumcision in opposition to Pharisaic believers (Acts 15:1–29); Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch (Acts 15:30) but split over a dispute about John Mark (Acts 15:36–40).
48/49–51*Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (with Silas) from Antioch to Syria, Cilicia, southern Galatia, Macedonia, notably Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea; and then on to Achaia, notably Athens and Corinth (Acts 15:36–18:22).
49Claudius expels Jews from Rome because of conflicts about Jesus (Acts 18:2); Paul befriends two refugees, Priscilla and Aquila, in Corinth (Acts 18:2–3).
49–51*Paul writes 12 Thessalonians from Corinth (Acts 18:1, 11; also compare Acts 18:5 with 1 Thess. 1:8).
51Paul appears before Gallio, proconsul of Achaia (Acts 18:12–17).
50–54*Peter comes to Rome.
52–57*Paul’s Third Missionary Journey from Antioch to Galatia, Phrygia, Ephesus, Macedonia, Greece (Acts 18:23–21:17).
52–55Paul ministers in Ephesus (Acts 19:1–20).
53–55*Mark writes his Gospel, containing Peter’s memories of Jesus; perhaps within a decade, Matthew publishes his Gospel, which relies on Mark and other sources. Paul writes 1 Corinthians from Ephesus (Acts 19:10).
54Claudius dies (edict exiling Jews repealed); Priscilla and Aquila return to Rome and host a church in their home (see Rom. 16:3–5).
54–68Nero reigns.
55–56*Paul writes 2 Corinthians from Macedonia (Acts 20:1, 3; 2 Cor. 1:16; 2:13; 7:5; 8:1; 9:2, 4; see 1 Cor. 16:5).
57*Paul winters in Corinth and writes Romans (Acts 20:3; see Rom. 16:1–2; also see Rom. 16:23 with 1 Cor. 1:14); travels to Je­­ru­salem (Acts 21:1–16), visits with James the brother of Jesus (Acts 21:17–26), and is arrested (Acts 21:27–36; 22:22–29).
57–59Paul is imprisoned and transferred to Caesarea (Acts 23:23–24, 33–34).
60Paul begins voyage to Rome (Acts 27:1–2); he is shipwrecked for three months on the island of Malta (Acts 27:39–28:10).
60–70*Letter to the Hebrews is written.
62James the brother of the Lord is executed by the Sadducean high priest Ananus.
62–63*Peter writes his first letter (1 Peter) from Rome (1 Pet. 5:13).
62*Paul arrives in Rome and remains under house arrest (Acts 28:16–31); he writes Ephesians (see verses for Colossians), Philippians (Phil. 1:7, 13, 17; 4:22), Colossians (Col. 4:3, 10, 18; see Acts 27:2 with Col. 4:10), Philemon (see Philem. 23 with Col. 1:7; Philem. 2 with Col. 4:17; Philem. 24 with Col. 4:10; also see Col. 4:9). Luke, Paul’s physician and companion (see Col. 4:14), writes Luke and Acts.
62–64Paul is released, extends his mission (probably reaching Spain), writes 1 Timothy from Macedonia (see 1 Tim. 1:3) and Titus from Nicopolis (Titus 3:12); he is rearrested in Rome (2 Tim. 1:16–17).
63–64Work on the temple complex is completed.
64 (July 19)Fire in Rome; Nero blames and kills many Christians.
64–67*Peter writes his second letter ( 2 Peter). Jude writes his letter. Paul writes 2 Timothy (see 2 Tim. 4:6–8). Paul and Peter are martyred in Rome.
66First Jewish-Roman War begins with a riot between Greeks and Jews at Caesarea; Roman procurator Gesius Florus (a.d. 64–66) is murdered and a Roman garrison wiped out; Menahem, son or grandson of Judas the Galilean, murders the high priest Ananias and seizes control of the temple; Nero dispatches Vespasian with three legions.
67*Romans destroy the Qumran community, who beforehand hid the so-called Dead Sea Scrolls in nearby caves; the church in Jerusalem flees to Pella (Matt. 24:15–16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20–22); John migrates to Ephesus with Mary, Jesus’ mother.
68Nero commits suicide; year of the three emperors.
69Rebellion quelled in Galilee and Samaria; Vespasian summoned back to Rome to become emperor.
70 (Aug. 30)Titus, Vespasian’s son, after a five-month siege of Jerusalem, destroys the temple after desecrating it; the temple’s menorah, Torah, and veil are removed and later put on display in a victory parade in Rome; the influence of the Sadducees ends; the Pharisee Johanan ben Zakkai escapes and convinces the Romans to allow him and others to settle in Jamnia, where they found a school.
73 (May 2)*Before Roman general Silva breaches the fortress atop Masada following a two-year siege, 936 Jewish rebels commit suicide.
75Titus has an affair with the Jewish princess Berenice, sister of Agrippa II (Acts 25:13, 23), whom he later abandons because of the scandal.
77Pliny the Elder writes Natural History.
77–78Josephus publishes Jewish War in Rome.
79Pompeii and Herculaneum are destroyed by eruption of Vesuvius; Pliny the Elder dies attempting to investigate.
81The Arch of Titus, celebrating his destruction of the temple, is erected in Rome.
81–96Domitian, Titus’s brother, persecutes Christians among the Roman nobility, including his own relatives Clemens and Domitilla.
85–95*John writes his letters (1–3 John), probably in Ephesus.
89–95*John writes his Gospel, probably in Ephesus.
93–94Josephus publishes Jewish Antiquities in Rome.
94Domitian exiles philosophers from Rome.
95*Amidst persecution, Clement, a leader in the Roman church, writes his Letter to the Corinthians (1 Clement) appealing for peace between the young men and elders.
95–96*Exiled by Domitian to Patmos, John writes Revelation (Rev. 1:9).
96–98Nerva, the first of five “good” emperors, ends official persecution.

* denotes approximate date; / signifies either/or