Timeline of New Testament Era Events

Here’s a very rough sketch version of my own timeline of New Testament era events, blending Scripture with related Jewish and Roman history. Everything you see here is under construction and therefore subject to change. Feel free to comment, critique, and question whatever you like. If my own attempts to reconstruct the first-century story have taught me anything thus far, it’s how little I really know the New Testament. Nevertheless I’m enjoying the discovery, and I hope you will too!

(NOTE: Though nearly all the dates given are approximate, events highlighted in bold letters signify landmark dates that are for the most part undisputed by historians. Major portions of the timeline are built around these dates.)

19 BC
-HEROD THE GREAT BEGINS REBUILDING THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM

9 BC
-ARETUS IV BECOMES RULER OF NABATEA

8 BC
-CEASAR AUGUSTUS ORDERS CENSUS (Luke 2:1,2)

7 BC
-Zechariah is visited by the angel Gabriel while performing his priestly duties in the temple (Luke 1:5-23), probably late in the year

6 BC
-Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel in Nazareth (Luke 1:26-38); she departs to visit her cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56)
-John the Baptist born to Elizabeth and Zechariah, probably late in the year

5 BC
-Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-20) and circumcised eight days later (Luke 2:21)
-Wise men from the east visit Jesus and his parents, some months after his birth (Matthew 2:1-12)
-Being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, Joseph takes his family and departs for Nazareth a different way then they came (Matthew 2:12)
-Being warned a second time while on their way back, Joseph flees with his family into Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod (Matthew 2:13-15), who orders the slaughter of all male infants under two years old in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18)

4 BC
-HEROD DIES IN MARCH; SON ARCHELAUS IS APPOINTED RULER OVER JUDEA & SAMARIA AT PASSOVER CELEBRATION IN APRIL, ANTIPAS OVER GALILEE AND PEREA, PHILIP OVER GAULANITIS
-An angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him it’s ok to go home (Matthew 2:19,20)
-Fearing Archelaus, and being warned again in a dream, Joseph, Mary and Jesus return to Nazareth (Matthew 2:21-23)

6 AD
-ARCHELAUS DEPOSED BY AUGUSTUS AND EXILED TO GAUL; PALESTINE BEGINS TO BE GOVERNED BY ROMAN PROCURATORS

7 AD
-Jesus attends first Passover in Jerusalem with family at age 12 (Luke 2:41-51)

12 AD
-TIBERIUS BEGINS 2-YEAR CO-REGENCY WITH AUGUSTUS

14 AD
-CEASAR AUGUSTUS DIES IN ROME; TIBERIUS BEGINS FIRST YEAR OF HIS REIGN

19 AD
-TIBERIUS CEASAR BRIEFLY BANISHES ALL JEWS FROM ROME

26 AD
-PONTIUS PILATE APPOINTED 5TH PROCURATOR OF JUDEA, INCLUDING SAMARIA

27 AD

28 AD
-John the Baptist begins his public ministry in the “fifteenth year” of Tiberius’ reign, baptizes all spring and summer preparing the way for Jesus (Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18; John 1:19-28)
-LATE AUTUMN: Jesus comes to be baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21,22), then goes into the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12,13; Luke 4:1-13)

29 AD
-EARLY SPRING: Jewish leaders question John about his identity while he is baptizing at Bethany(?), Jesus’ disciples begin to follow him in the days following (John 1:19-51)
-Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee, revealing his glory for the first time and causing his disciples to believe in him; afterward resorts to Capernaum for a few days with family (John 2:1-12)
-APRIL: Jesus goes to Jerusalem for Passover and clears the temple; many people-including Nicodemus, who visits Jesus by night (John 3:1-21)-believe in him (John 2:13-25)
-Jesus and disciples baptize in Judea while John is in Aenon near Salim (John 3:22-36)
-Jesus travels through Samaria en route to Galilee, meets woman at well (John 4:1-42)
-Herod Antipas divorces his Nabatean wife, the daughter of King Aretas, and takes his brother Philip’s wife Herodias; John the Baptist is imprisoned for criticizing Herod’s actions (Luke 3:19,20)
-Jesus’ disciples go back to working after John’s imprisonment (?)
-Jesus returns to Nazareth, where he is turned out of the synagogue and almost thrown off a cliff (Luke 4:14-30)
-Jesus goes to Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee, where he formally calls Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow him (John 4:43-45; Matthew 4:12-22; Mark 1:14-20; Luke 5:1-11), casts an unclean spirit out of a man in the synagogue (Mark 1:21-28;Luke 4:31-37), and heals Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever, along with many others of their afflictions (Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41)
-Jesus travels throughout Galilee healing the sick and demon-possessed, great multitudes begin to follow him (Matthew 4:23-25; Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44)
-Jesus heals leper, fame grows so great he is no longer able to enter the cities but stays in the wilderness (Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16)

30 AD

31 AD

32 AD

33 AD
-APRIL: Jesus is crucified, buried, and rises on the third day
-Jesus appears to His disciples over a period of forty days, telling them about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3); instructing them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, He ascends back to heaven in their sight (Acts 1:4-11)
-JUNE: Pentecost (Acts 2); believers sell their possessions and begin to live with all things in common
-Peter and John heal lame man outside temple (Acts 3)

34 AD
-PHILIP THE TETRARCH DIES
-Ananias and Sapphira are struck dead for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11)
-Many signs and wonders done by apostles; people from surrounding towns come to Jerusalem to be healed (Acts 5:12-16)

35 AD
-VITELLIUS, ROMAN GOVERNOR OF SYRIA, TAKES HIS FOUR LEGIONS TO SETTLE A CONFLICT IN PARTHIA; ARETAS ATTACKS AND TAKES PEREA, PART OF HEROD ANTIPAS’ TERRITORY (AS REVENGE FOR HEROD DIVORCING HIS DAUGHTER?)
-Conflict in church over food distribution, seven men chosen to bear the responsibility (Acts 6:1-7)
-Stephen arrested and stoned; persecution breaks out against the church in Jerusalem that same day, led by Saul; believers scattered (Acts 6:8-8:1)
-Philip goes to Samaria and preaches Christ (Acts 8:4-13); apostles come for follow-up visit and preach in villages on their way back to Jerusalem (Acts 8:14-25)

36 AD
-CAIAPHAS DEPOSED FROM HIGH PRIESTHOOD
-PONTIUS PILATE RECALLED TO ROME FOR MISCONDUCT
-Paul encounters Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9)
-Paul preaches Christ in the synagogues of Damascus and spends time with the disciples there (Acts 9:19-22), but is soon forced out by a plot made by the Jews to kill him (Acts 9:23-25), so he departs for Arabia (Nabatea) where he spends the next three years (Galatians 1:17)

37 AD
-JEWISH HISTORIAN JOSEPHUS BORN IN JERUSALEM
-VITELLIUS MARCHES SOUTH, ARETAS WITHDRAWS FROM PEREA
-MARCH: TIBERIUS DIES, CALIGULA BECOMES EMPEROR
-HEROD AGRIPPA I BEGINS RULE OVER GAULANITIS

38 AD

39 AD
-HEROD ANTIPAS BANISHED; GALILEE GIVEN TO HEROD AGRIPPA I
-Paul returns to Damascus from Arabia, where the governor under King Aretas pursues him and places guards outside the city gates in an attempt to capture him; Paul becomes aware of their plot and the disciples let him down in a basket through a window in the city wall at night (2 Corinthians 11:32,33)
-Paul visits Peter in Jerusalem for fifteen days, also sees James the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:18,19); during this time he stirs up trouble among the Hellenists, so the brothers take him down to Caesarea and put him on a ship for Tarsus (Acts 9:28-30)
-Still unknown by face to the churches in Judea, Paul travels into the regions of Syria and Cilicia (Galatians 1:21-24); in the wake of his absence, believers in Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoy a time of peace (Acts 9:31)

40 AD
-KING ARETAS DIES
-EMPEROR CALIGULA ORDERS STATUE OF HIMSELF PLACED IN JEWISH TEMPLE; HEROD AGRIPPA I PERSUADES HIM OTHERWISE

41 AD
-ROMAN ARMY DECLARES CLAUDIUS EMPEROR AFTER CALIGULA IS ASSASINATED; CLAUDIUS GIVES JUDEA TO HEROD AGRIPPA I
-OCTOBER: AGRIPPA READS FROM DEUTERONOMY AT JEWISH FEAST OF TABERNACLES

42 AD
-News of the church in Antioch reaches Jerusalem, Barnabas is sent to check things out (Acts 11:22-24)
-Paul has experience of being caught up to the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2)
-Barnabas goes to Tarsus looking for Saul, then brings him back to Antioch where they teach in the church for a year (Acts 11:25,26); during this time Paul stays in the home of Simon of Cyrene, where he is cared for by Simon’s wife as a mother would her own son (Romans 16:13)

43 AD
-Disciples are called Christians for the first time in Antioch (Acts 11:26)
-Titus becomes a believer in Antioch through Paul’s ministry (Titus 1:4)
-Certain prophets come to Antioch from Jerusalem and one of them-Agabus-predicts a famine, so the church determines to send relief to the saints in Judea (Acts 11:27-30)

44 AD
-Paul and Barnabas arrive at Jerusalem early in the year with relief money from Antioch (Acts 11:27-30)
-James the brother of John is put to death by Herod (Acts 12:1,2)
-Herod arrests Peter, intending to execute him too, but an angel delivers him from prison (Acts 12:3-18)
-HEROD AGRIPPA I DIES (Acts 12:23)
-After completing their mission Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch, bringing John Mark with them (Acts 12:25)

45 AD
-Early in the year a severe famine strikes Judea, lasting about four years

46 AD
-Prayer meeting at Antioch where Barnabas and Saul are separated for the work of the Lord (Acts 13:1-3)
-SERGIUS PAULUS BECOMES PROCONSUL IN CYPRUS

47 AD
-Taking John Mark as their assistant, Paul and Barnabas leave Antioch for Seleucia, where they set sail for Cyprus, Barnabas’ homeland (Acts 13:4); starting in Salamis, they travel west as far across Cyprus as Paphos, where Paul and Barnabas receive the “forty lashes minus one” (2 Corinthians 11:24) and gain an audience with the proconsul Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:5-12)
-Paul and Barnabas are shipwrecked en route to Perga in Pamphylia (2 Corinthians 11:25), then face constant danger from robbers in the Taurus mountains (2 Corinthians 11:26); on arrival Mark decides to return to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13)
-Paul and Barnabas go to Antioch of Pisidia, where they are beaten with rods and expelled from the city (Acts 13:14-52; 2 Corinthians 11:25), and then on to Iconium, where they are nearly stoned (Acts 14:1-7)

48 AD
-Paul heals lame man in Lystra, city residents worship Paul and Barnabas as gods (Acts 14:8-18)
-Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrive from Lystra, drag Paul outside the city and stone him (Acts 14:19,20; 2 Corinthians 11:25)
-From Lystra Paul and Barnabas go to Derbe, then retrace their steps through each city, ordaining elders in the churches as they go (Acts 14:20-23)
-Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch and report to the church all that God did through their ministry (Acts 14:26-28)

49 AD
-CLAUDIUS CEASAR EXPELS ALL JEWS FROM ROME
-Aquila and Priscilla move from Rome to Corinth
-Peter visits the church in Antioch, has such a great time he looks just like a Gentile (Galatians 2:11,14)
-Late in the year, some men come to Antioch from Jerusalem and begin teaching the brothers and sisters that they must be circumcised to be saved (Acts 15:1)
-Fearing his Jewish brothers, Peter “plays the hypocrite” and stops eating with the Gentiles, while the other Jews-“even Barnabas”(!)-follow him in his hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-13)
-Paul rebukes Peter in front of entire church (Galatians 2:14-21), Peter returns to Jerusalem shortly thereafter
-Barnabas comes to his senses and joins Paul in disputing with these men and their gospel of circumcision (Acts 15:2)

50 AD
-Paul travels to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus to meet with the apostles and elders over the circumcision issue (Acts 15:2-3; Galatians 2:1)
-Paul meets privately with the apostles and elders, outlining the gospel he preaches among the Gentiles (Acts 15:4; Galatians 2:2) and showing Titus as an example that a Gentile can be saved without being circumcised (Galatians 2:3)
-“False brothers” of the “sect of the Pharisees” oppose Paul’s message, so a general council is held to consider the matter (Acts 15:5-29; Galatians 2:4)
-Elders and apostles give Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, urging them to “remember the poor” as they go to Gentiles (Galatians 2:10)
-Judas and Silas chosen to accompany Paul back to Antioch where they stay for a while and encourage the church (Acts 15:30-33)
-Certain men from Jerusalem depart for Galatia with a letter of commendation from James (Galatians 2:12), where they undermine Paul’s authority and attempt to bring the churches under Jewish law; many of the disciples are drawn so far away they begin to observe Jewish holy days (Galatians 4:10,11)
-Paul receives word that the Judaizers have been to Galatia and have “troubled” the faith of the churches there (Galatians 1:6-9)
-Paul writes Galatians, Titus delivers it
-Paul and Barnabas separate over their disagreement concerning John Mark; Silas becomes Paul’s traveling companion while Barnabas and Mark go back to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-41)
-Paul travels through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches (Acts 15:41), Silas joins him from Jerusalem at some point along the way 
-Timothy joins Paul’s company in Lystra (Acts 16:1-3), where Paul and elders lay hands on him, prophecies are spoken and spiritual gifts imparted to him (1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6)
-Paul delivers the Jerusalem letter to all the Galatian churches along the way of their journey (Acts 16:4,5), while the Holy Spirit forbids him to preach in certain places (Acts 16:6,7)
-Luke joins Paul’s company in Troas, where Paul has vision of Macedonian man asking for help (Acts 16:8-10)
-Phillipi: Lydia and household believe, Paul casts spirit out of slave-girl and is imprisoned with Silas (beaten with rods again-2 Corinthians 11:25), earthquake destroys jail, jailor and household believe (Acts 16:11-40)

51 AD
-IUNIUS GALLIO BEGINS RULE AS PROCONSUL IN ACHAIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)
-Sometime during this era James writes a letter to the Jewish believers dispersed throughout Palestine
-Having left Luke in Philippi, Paul and company arrive in Thessalonica, where they are only able to stay for about a month before being expelled through the instigation of the Jews (Acts 17:1-9)
-Brothers send Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, where they receive a better reception until Jews from Thessalonica come stirring up trouble (Acts 17:10-14)
-Silas and Timothy remain to strengthen the church while some brothers escort Paul to Athens, go back with instructions for them to come to Paul as soon as possible (Acts 17:14,15)
-Paul reasons with Jews in the synagogue and preaches in the marketplace while waiting for Silas and Timothy (Acts 17:16,17); when they arrive, Paul attempts to return to Thessalonica but is “hindered by Satan” (1 Thessalonians 2:18) in that the legal ban against him prevents him from re-entering the city, so he sends Timothy back to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:1-3) and Silas to Philippi
-Paul preaches Christ to a crowd of Stoic and Epicurean philosophers on Mars’ Hill, few believe (Acts 17:18-34)
-Paul arrives in Corinth determined to declare nothing but Christ and the cross (1 Corinthians 2:2)
-Paul meets Aquila and Priscilla, stays with them and works as a tentmaker (Acts 18:1-4)
-Silas and Timothy return from Macedonia with good news from Thessalonica and a financial gift from Philippi (2 Corinthians 11:9); Paul devotes all his energy to preaching (Acts 18:5)
-Jews oppose gospel, Paul leaves synagogue and begins preaching next door in home of Justus (Acts 18:6,7)
-Crispus, ruler of the synagogue, believes (Acts 18:8); Paul baptizes Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas, the first to come to Christ in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:14-16; 16:15); Gaius becomes host to the church (Romans 16:23)
-God speaks to Paul in a vision, tells him it is safe to remain in Corinth (Acts 18:9,10), which he does for next year and a half (Acts 18:11); during this time Paul takes no money from anyone in the church (1 Corinthians 9:15)
-Paul writes 1 Thessalonians while in Corinth, Silas and Timothy (?) deliver it
-In Thessalonica a letter is circulated, supposedly from Paul, saying that the “day of the Lord” has already come (2 Thessalonians 2:2), in lieu of which certain brothers are quitting their jobs and taking advantage of the hospitality of others, waiting on the Lord’s imminent return (2 Thessalonians 3:6,7,11,12)
-Paul writes 2 Thessalonians from Corinth, only a few months after the first, Silas and Timothy (?) deliver it

52 AD
-ANTONIUS FELIX BECOMES GOVERNOR OF JUDEA AND GALILEE
-Jews bring Paul before Gallio, beat Sosthenes in front of tribunal (Acts 18:12-17)
-EARLY AUTUMN: Priscilla and Aquila accompany Paul to Ephesus, where they make preparations to host the church (1 Corinthians 16:19) while Paul spends a short time preaching in the synagogues (Acts 18:18-21)
-Landing in Caesarea, Paul visits the church in Jerusalem where he talks with Peter about situation in Corinth, then returns to Antioch to spend the winter (Acts 18:22)

53 AD
-SPRING: Paul travels throughout Galatia and Phrygia strengthening the disciples (Acts 18:23) and instructing them about a collection for the Jerusalem saints (1 Corinthians 16:1); meanwhile a man named Apollos comes to Ephesus and preaches in the synagogue; Aquila and Priscilla take him aside and tell him about Christ (Acts 18:24-26)
-Brothers and sisters in Ephesus send Apollos to Corinth with a letter of commendation, where he stays a while and is a great help to the church (Acts 18:27,28)
-EARLY SUMMER(?): Paul arrives back in Ephesus and leads twelve followers of John the Baptist to Christ, then spends three months speaking in the synagogue where he receives a mixed response (Acts 19:1-9)
-EARLY AUTUMN(?): Paul begins daily meetings with the disciples in the school of Tyrannus, sending them out to preach in the surrounding areas as part of their training; this continues for the next two years (Acts 19:9,10), during which time Paul supports his young co-workers by his own hand (Acts 20:34) (Through the ministry of Paul’s young co-workers during this time, churches come into being in the cities of Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia, Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, among others)
-Two Ephesian brothers-Tychicus and Trophimus-join Paul’s company of trainees
-Apollos returns to Ephesus and meets with Paul (1 Corinthians 16:12)
-Paul writes a letter to the Corinthians in which he urges them not to keep company with fornicators, among other things (1 Corinthians 5:9)

54 AD
-Peter (1 Corinthians 1:12; 9:5) and Barnabas(1 Corinthians 9:6 ?) visit Corinth
-Paul meets two men from Colossae-Philemon and Epaphras-both of whom come to Christ while in Ephesus (Philemon 19; Colossians 4:12)
-OCTOBER: CLAUDIUS CEASAR POISONED BY HIS WIFE, NERO BECOMES EMPEROR
-Paul begins making contact with believers in various churches, formulating a plan for them to move to Rome together (Romans 16)
-In Corinth, a man in the church commits incest with his father’s wife (1 Corinthians 5:1), certain saints are taking others to court before unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:1-8), some of the brothers are committing fornication with the temple prostitutes, a common practice among city residents (1 Corinthians 6:15-18), and certain richer members of the Body are mistreating their poorer brothers and sisters in the observance of the Lord’s Supper, eating ahead of them and even getting drunk at the meeting (1 Corinthians 11:20-22)

55 AD
-Sons of Sceva attempt to exorcise evil spirit, instead are overcome themselves; great revival follows (Acts 19:11-20)
-SPRING: Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (of the house of Chloe?) visit Paul from Corinth, report on certain problems in the church and bring a letter full of questions; Paul is refreshed by their visit (1 Corinthians 1:11; 16:17,18)
-Paul sends Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia, instructing Timothy to visit Corinth and remind them of “his ways in Christ” (Acts 19:21,22; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10,11)
-Paul writes his first letter to the Corinthians sometime in spring, sending it back with Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus; afterward he sends Timothy to remind them of “his ways in Christ” (1 Corinthians 4:17)
-Timothy returns to Ephesus with troubling news about the church in Corinth, opposition to Paul and continued division
-Paul makes a “sorrowful” visit to Corinth in which nothing good is accomplished (2 Corinthians 1:23-2:1); rather than visit them again in sorrow, he writes a very “severe” letter with many tears and much anguish of heart, Titus and “the brother” deliver it (2 Corinthians 2:3-5; 12:18) with instructions to meet Paul in Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12,13)
-SUMMER: Riot in Ephesus in late summer, Gaius and Aristarchus nearly killed (Acts 19:23-41)
-Paul leaves Ephesus, travels throughout Macedonia encouraging the churches (Acts 20:1,2)
-Paul arrives in Troas, has great opportunity to preach, but does not find Titus like expected, goes on to Macedonia hoping to find him there (2 Corinthians 2:12,13)
-Sometime during this era Mark writes his gospel

56 AD
-Paul arrives in Philippi (?) greatly distressed, until Titus finally shows up and brings encouraging report about Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 7:5-9)
-Paul tells the church in Philippi all about the Corinthians’ willingness to give to the saints in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 9:2)
-ROMAN HISTORIAN TACITUS IS BORN
-Paul writes second letter to the Corinthians from Philippi (Acts 20:2), Titus delivers it along with a brother “famous among the churches for his preaching of the gospel” (2 Corinthians 8:17,18)
-Paul arrives in Corinth, where he spends the winter (Acts 20:3)

57 AD
-IN ROME, NERO COMPELS SENATORS TO FIGHT IN STADIUM
-Tertius transcribes Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 16:22), Phoebe from church in Cenchrea delivers it (Rom. 16:1,2)
-Paul becomes aware of plot made against him by the Jews, leaves on foot for Troas with Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timothy, Tychicus, & Trophimus while Luke and others go by sea and arrive five days later (Acts 20:3-6)
-Paul & company spend seven days in Troas (Acts 20:7-12)
-Paul walks to Assos by himself, boards with others there and departs for Mitylene, then Chios, Samos, and finally Miletus, where Paul meets with Ephesian elders (Paul is in a hurry to get to Jerusalem for Pentecost) (Acts 20:13-38)
-Paul arrives in Jerusalem and delivers money from Gentile churches to elders; they ask him to pay the expenses of four men with a vow so the Jews will see that Paul still honors the law (Acts 21:17-25)
-Paul arrested in the temple at Jerusalem (Acts 21:27-22:30), imprisoned for the next two years in Caesarea

58 AD
-Felix calls for Paul from time to time, hoping Paul will offer him a bribe (Acts 24:26)

59 AD
-PORCIUS FESTUS BECOMES GOVERNOR OF JUDEA AND GALILEE
-NERO ORDERS DEATH OF HIS OWN MOTHER, AGRIPPINA
-Paul stands trial before Festus and Jewish rulers, appeals to Caesar (Acts 25:1-12)
-Paul stands before Agrippa II, recounts his testimony (Acts 25:13-26:32)
-Under Roman guard, Paul and company set sail for Italy, probably in early October; after being delayed by contrary winds they are caught in a Euroclydon and shipwrecked on island of Malta (Acts 27:1-44), where Paul ministers for next three months (Acts 28:1-10)

60 AD
-Paul and company set sail from Malta in early spring and arrive in Puteoli; brothers from Rome walk all the way to Appii Forum and Three Inns to meet them (Acts 28:11-15)
-Paul meets Onesimus, a run-away slave from Colossae, whom he leads to Christ (Philemon 10)
-Paul writes a letter to Philemon, Onesimus delivers it
-Paul writes a letter to the Colossians, Tychicus delivers it along with Onesimus (Col. 4:7,8)
-Paul writes a (circular?) letter to the Ephesians (Laodiceans?), Tychicus delivers it (Eph. 6:21,22)

61 AD
-Epaphras arrives with a gift for Paul from Philippian saints (Philippians 4:18)
-Epaphras gets sick, almost dies before recovering (Philippians 2:25-27)
-Paul writes a letter to the Philippians, Epaphras delivers it (Philippians 2:25-29)
Luke writes his gospel and the book of Acts

62 AD
-PORCIUS FESTUS DIES, NERO SENDS ALBINUS TO REPLACE HIM
-WHILE ALBINUS IS STILL EN ROUTE TO JUDEA, ANANUS THE HIGH PRIEST BRINGS JAMES THE APOSTLE BEFORE SANHEDRIN AND HAS HIM STONED TO DEATH (Josephus)
-ANANUS IS DEPOSED FROM HIGH PRIESTHOOD DUE TO PUBLIC OUTCRY OVER JAMES’ DEATH

63 AD

64 AD
-NERO BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF GOLDEN PALACE
-GREAT FIRE IN ROME RAGES FOR NINE DAYS; NERO BLAMES CHRISTIANS AND SLAUGHTERS NEARLY ALL OF THEM (Tacitus)
-Aquila and Prisiclla leave the city in time to not be killed and return to Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:19)
-Peter executed in Rome (crucified upside down, according to tradition)

65 AD
-NERO FORCES SENECA, HIS FORMER ADVISOR, TO KILL HIMSELF

66 AD
-NERO ORDERS 20,000 JEWS EXPELLED FROM CAEASAREA ON A SINGLE DAY
-ELEAZAR REFUSES TO OFFER SACRIFICE FOR EMPEROR AT TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM (Josephus); OUTBREAK OF JEWISH REVOLT AGAINST ROME
-Sometime during this era are written the letter to the Hebrews, the letter of Jude, and the gospel of Matthew
67 AD
-NERO ORDERS GENERAL DOMITIUS CORBULO TO COMMIT SUICIDE
-JOSEPHUS CAPTURED BY ROMAN FORCES BUT SPARED BY VESPASIAN

68 AD
-NERO COMMITS SUICIDE IN ITALY WHILE BEING PURSUED BY ROMAN ARMIES

69 AD
-TROOPS IN CEASAREA HAIL VESPASIAN AS EMPEROR

70 AD
-JERUSALEM DESTROYED BY ARMIES OF TITUS; JEWS FORBIDDEN TO LIVE THERE

71 AD

72 AD

73 AD

74 AD
-MASADA FALLS TO ROMANS; JEWISH DEFENDERS COMMIT SUICIDE

75 AD
-VESSELS FROM JERUSALEM TEMPLE DISPLAYED IN ROME
-JOSEPHUS PUBLISHES THE JEWISH WAR

76 AD

77 AD

78 AD

79 AD
-TITUS BECOMES EMPEROR

80 AD
-DEDICATION OF COLISEUM IN ROME

81 AD
-DOMITIAN BECOMES EMPEROR

93 AD
-JOSEPHUS PUBLISHES ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS

94 AD
-Clement writes letter from Rome to the church in Corinth, first time the word “laymen” is used

95 AD
-DOMITIAN ACCUSES SOME HIGH-RANKING PEOPLE OF ATHEISM, PERSECUTES CHRISTIANS

96 AD
-CLEMENT DIES
-DOMITIAN ASSASSINATED BY CLOSE ASSOCIATES; NERVA BECOMES EMPEROR

98 AD
-TRAJAN BECOMES EMPEROR

107 AD
-IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH MARTYRED IN ROME

111 AD
-EMPEROR TRAJAN CORRESPONDS WITH GOVERNOR PLINY ABOUT CHRISTIANS (Pliny’s chief concern seems to be that the temples are being abandoned and the sacred rites neglected, and that fodder for the sacrificial animals is no longer being bought and sold)

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15 responses to “Timeline of New Testament Era Events

  • Bonnie Sasher

    good job, Josh! I only have two suggestions…. small ones. When did “AD” begin? Jews consider time as “CE” “common era” but they do that because they have time since Adam and don’t recognize Jesus. Never really thought about that time keeping before 🙂 “They were first called Christian in Antioch” – this was not a complimentary term – it was insulting and mocking. The believers called themselves “The Way”. Not that it really matters in your context though. Great job!

    • lawdawg23

      Hey Bonnie. To be honest I’m not too familiar with the origin of the BC/AD dating system. I know most scholars/historians agree that Christ’s birth did not fall exactly as it should, that is, right at the dividing point between the two. And that there is technically no “0” year.

  • Bill

    Not bad, brother. Not bad at all! 😉

    Still wrestling with the ‘pastorals’ I see. And Paul did sail to Rome at some point, right? And die? 😉 But on Paul’s conversion, how could Pontius Pilate – who served in Judea – have possibly intercepted hidden letters not to be deployed until entering Damascus? Beyond that, even if Acts 9 did belong in 36, you can’t just space Acts 5-8 into the intervening years. Why put A&S’ land sale in one year as opposed to another? And why would Stephen’s stoning go a whole year before Paul’s conversion? (Btw, how did you get Aretas dead in 40, btw? Or that the famine ran four years, from 45 on?)

    Mostly great data, though of course I’d think so. 😉

  • lawdawg23

    What can I say? I learn from the greats. 🙂

    Your view on Acts 1-8 is intriguing, and I think I want to buy into it, it’s just that I’m not personally convinced yet. Which may be simply because I’ve not considered/researched it enough yet. Like I said, there are a lot of blanks here that are still in the process of being filled.

    I read that about Aretas just recently, in the NKJV Chronological I think. Regarding the famine, let me go back and check, maybe I just put it in the wrong year by accident. Just checked, and the famine thing is straight from your own timeline. First one. Maybe that info is outdated?

    I’m definitely not wrestling with the pastorals in the sense that I think they were “pastorals.” I recently read some second century writings where it was said Paul did make a journey to Spain. Do you think that is purely tradition and not to be counted on as fact? I’m conflicted when I come to the “church fathers” because I find a lot of good, reliable stuff, and then some that is not so good and reliable.

  • Bill

    I see that now, about the famine, on my ’95 version. If it’s any consolation, I don’t remember where *I* got that from. (!) I think the main years of the famine were 46-47, and the petitioners in Acts suggest that a shortage was creeping up early, but it was probably overboard of me to suggest “severe famine strikes” in early 45. Unless I’ve forgotten another source on that… which just goes to show why I need to publish something with footnotes someday. (Sigh.) When I’m sponsored full time, perhaps. (!)

    Yes, I meant you’re wrestling with where to ‘put’ them. The NT itself gives us zero reason to believe Paul ever got west of Italy, and the issue you have with the fathers fits with their general reputation… which, honestly, is why I don’t read them at all, not that that’s to my credit. Mathematically, I can’t see squeezing in Spain, mainly because I think Paul died not long after the fire in 64, but even if the traditional chronology were correct, I don’t think you could shoe horn Spain in, logistically. Not with a crow bar.

    On Acts 1-8, my whole view arose from looking at Paul’s conversion. I never once sat down to block out the action of Acts 1-8. I just concluded the Damascus road belonged in early 34. Bowersock convinced me of that. But from there, the implied actions of chapter 9 suggest Stephen could not have been stoned after autumn. That’s really all I can argue chronologically about that.

  • lawdawg23

    By the way, what are you referring to with Pontius Pilate and the hidden letters?

  • Bill

    It’s your 36 AD. Where’d you get that date for Paul’s conversion? I think some have argued the Sanhedrin wouldn’t have sent Paul to Damascus until after Pilate was gone. But not you, I now suppose. Anyway, my point above was that it’s a bad argument.

  • lawdawg23

    I knew what you were referring to, I just didn’t know the reasoning behind it. Why do some suppose that the Sanhedrin wouldn’t have sent Paul to Damascus till after Pilate was gone? I’m only going with the traditional view here so far; I don’t have any concrete reason for it.

  • Bill

    Ah. Kay. 😉

    Actually, the more common argument is that Stephen was most likely to be rashly ‘executed’ after Pilate was gone (b/c the locals had no authority for capital punishment, as shown by the plot to get Pilate to kill Jesus). Personally, I think the Jews who killed Stephen were upset enough to stone him no matter *who* found out later on. It wasn’t a local government ‘execution’, it was a mob lynching. The powerful folks had plausible deniability.

    The related Damascus question is about whether Paul’s threatened extraditions would have been legal & official or not. Personally, I think those letters were primarily intended to scare folks into compliance, because no way could the Sanhedrin expect little ol’ Paul to personally drag hundreds of Damascene Jews all the way back to Jerusalem. If that’s true, the whole point is moot.

  • thebigpicmin

    Wow, Good Stuff. Wondering if you might have some thoughts on my attempts at a Prophecy Timeline:

    http://thebigpicmin.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/phrophesy-timeline/

  • Loretta Lilly

    Well this is just awesome. You have done a great job in helping this senior to learn more about the Bible. Thank you so much.

  • Building a timeline « Reconstructing the First Century Story

    […] tie the whole story together. You may have noticed there’s a much larger timeline over at my other blog, but the plan is to transfer all the information from that one over to here since this is the site […]

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