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Thread: Chronology/Timeline of the gospels

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Zürich, Switzerland

    Chronology/Timeline of the gospels

    Hi Everyone

    I attempted to create a chronology or timeline of the 4 gospel accounts. What I first thought to be an easy task turns out a difficult one. Has anyone seen such a timeline and/or could provide me a link (with explanatory notes as to why (s)he thinks the timeline _must_ have happend this way)?

    Currently, I am struggling with the order of the temptation of christ and the marriage in Cana, which of both was first.

    I'd be happy to receive any insight on this matter.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Bourbonnais, Illinois
    I looked up "harmony of the gospels and came up with this;

  3. #3

    Re: Chronology/Timeline of the gospels


    Although I know that I am about 2 years late, I thought I'd share some recent hardships that I've recently overcome with respect to trying to make a Gospel chronology. I do hope that you've finished your chronology Zurich, I am almost done with what I think is the chronological order, and (if anyone is interested) I'll post a link on here as soon as it's completely finished, which should be within a week. but well here are some recent insights that I think I have gained:

    Firstly, the Changing Water into Wine in Cana occurred after the Temptation of Christ. Basically, John gives us a solid chronological framework which the other 3 Synoptics have rearranged and fairly obscured (this is coming from a complete belief in the doctrine of Infallibility btw). Jesus starts his ministry by being baptized by John, then immediately leaves for the 40 days of Wilderness during which time He is tempted by the Devil. He returns as per John 1:19ff. and that's where Peter and Andrew become his disciples. He comes back to Galilee with Peter and Andrew and gets the rest of his disciples. Shortly afterwards he returns to Jerusalem for the Passover (The Passover of 28 AD) and Cleanses the Temple and does miracles and has his authority questioned there (John 2//Mark 11 and parallels). He returns to Galilee after baptizing alongside John the Baptist until John is imprisoned (Mark 1:14 and parallels). He passes through Samaria (basically John 3 and 4 occur after this) and comes to Galilee and goes (in my opinion directly) to Cana where he heals the Official's son. Afterwards he relocates to Capernaum and starts preaching the good news (Mark 1:15) and healing multitudes of people.

    The order of the miracles in Mark 1-5//Luke 4-11 as compared with Matthew 4-13 is fairly confused, but without going into too many details (I'll have a full explanation in the link I give later, if anyone would want to know), first Jesus cures the man with an impure spirit in Mark 1:21ff. and then goes to Simon's house and cures his mother-in-law. After which he does various miracles, the Sermon on the Mount, healing a man with leprosy, and so on, finishing with "A Dead girl and a Sick woman" (Mark 5 and parallels). Then comes to rejection at Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6//MT 14:1ff.). Jesus sends the Twelve to preach to various towns and goes to the feast mention in John 5. After he comes back, the feeding of the 5000 happens and the Walking on Water. The Passover of 29 AD (the second passover of Jesus' ministry) passes by in all 4 Gospels without any details. Jesus does some miracles and teaching (such as 'Clean and Unclean' Mark 7:1ff., Mat. 15:1ff.) between Passover of 29 AD and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) in John 7:1ff. After a few other things he goes to Hannukah in December of 29 AD as per John 10:22ff. and after he is again persecuted he goes to "Bethany beyond the Jordan" as per John 10:40 (Mark 10:1 and parallels).

    This explains what countless scholars have called Markan and Lukan geographical errors. Because Luke has Jesus walk "between" Galilee and Samaria "on his way to" Jerusalem (Luke 9:51, 17:11), he is actually on his way back from Caesarea Philippi (Peter's Confession of Christ) after having come from Hannukah in Jerusalem, December 29 AD, headed for the region across the Jordan (Mark 10:1, John 10:40). This explains why Jesus passes through Jericho on his way "to" Jerusalem after coming from Galilee. After this, everything is pretty self-explanatory: Jesus heals Lazarus and withdraws to Ephraim until the Passover of 30 (John 11). He starts heading toward Jerusalem and is anointed by Mary, Lazarus' sister 6 days before the Passover. The Triumphal Entry, then teachings (Matthew 21-26 and parallels), and then he is anointed (just his feet) by a sinful woman at Simon the Pharisee's (or as Mark/MT have it 'the Leper') house. He is betrayed by Judas on the Passover (or the day before; I can't remember exactly what I wrote; Mark 14:12 has a different reckoning since not all groups in Jerusalem agreed on what day the Passover was, since the lamb was not killed before the Passover) and rises 3 days later on Sunday, April 9, 30 AD.

    But really, I explain this more in the link that I'll post to a (temporary) blog I have up. It has been a pain but mostly a pleasure of putting this together. If you don't believe me just look at Mark 1:40-6:6a compared with Matthew 4:23-13:58 :p . but well, this is so far a summary of a unified chronology with Matthew, Mark, Luke and especially John (who is easier to unify with Mark than Matthew, believe it or not!). Any comments or questions are much appreciated

  4. #4

    Re: Chronology/Timeline of the gospels

    As promised here is the chronology I've put together (with not a few headaches too! ) :


    The Pre-existence of Christ (JN 1:1-18)
    John the Baptist Prepares the Way (MT 3:1-12//MK 1:4-8//LK 3:7-20//JN 1:19-28)
    The Baptism of Jesus (MT 3:13-17//MK 1:9-11//LK 3:21-23a//JN 1:29-34)
    John the Baptist's Testimony (JN 1:35-42)
    Calling of the First Disciples (MT4:18-22//MK 1:16-20//LK 5:1-11//JN 1:43-51)
    Water Into Wine at Cana (JN 2:1-12)
    The Temple Cleansing (MT 21:12-13//MK 11:15-18//LK 19:45-48//JN 2:13-25)
    Jesus Teaches Nicodemus (JN 3:1-20)
    John Testifies Again About Jesus (JN 3:21-36)
    Jesus is Tested in the Wilderness (MT 4:1-11//MK 1:12-13//LK 4:1-13)
    Jesus with the Samaritan Woman and Samaria (JN 4:1-42)
    Jesus Comes Back to Galilee in Fame (MT 4:12//MK 1:14a//LK 4:14//JN 4:43-45)
    Jesus Heals an Official's Son (JN 4:46-54)
    The Beginning of Preaching (MT 4:13-17, 23-25//MK 1:14b-15//LK 4:15)
    Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit (MK1:21-28// LK 4:31-37)
    Jesus Heals Many (MT 8:14-17//MK 1:29-34//LK 4:38-41)
    Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place (MK 1:35-39//LK 4:42-44)
    The Calling of Matthew (MT 9:9-13//MK 2:13-17//LK 5:27-32)
    Lord of the Sabbath (MT 12:1-8//MK 2:23-28//LK 6:1-5)
    Jesus Heals on the Sabbath (MT 12:9-14//MK 3:1-6//LK 6:6-11)
    God's Chosen Servant (MT 12:15-21)
    Crowds Follow Jesus (MT 4:23-25//MK 3:7-12)
    Jesus Appoints the Twelve (MK 3:13-19//LK 6:12-16)
    The Sermon on the Mount (MT 5:1-7:29//LK 6:17-49)
    Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy (MT 8:1-4//MK 1:40-45//LK 5:12-16)
    The Faith of the Centurion (MT 8:5-13//LK 7:1-10)
    Beelzebub, the Sign of Jonah, and Jesus' Mother and Brothers (MT 9:27-34, 12:22-50//16:1-4//MK 3:20-35//LK 11:14-28, 11:29-32, 8:19-21)
    The Parable of the Sower (MT 13:1-23//MK 4:1-20//LK 8:1-15)
    A Lamp on a Stand (MK 4:21-25//LK 8:16-18)
    The Parable of the Weeds (MT 13:24-30)
    The Parable of the Growing Seed (MK 4:26-29)
    The Parable of the Mustard Seed (MT 13:31-32//MK 4:30-34//LK 13:18-19)
    The Parable of the Yeast (MT 13:33-35//LK 13:20-21)
    The Parable of the Weeds Explained (MT 13:36-43)
    The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl (MT 13:44-46)
    The Parable of the Net (MT 13:47-52)
    The Cost of Following Jesus (MT 8:18-22//LK 9:57-62)
    Jesus Calms the Storm (MT 8:23-27//MK 4:35-41//LK 8:22-25)
    Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man (MT 8:28-34//MK 5:1-20//LK 8:26-39)
    Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man (MT 9:1-8//MK 2:1-12//LK 5:17-26)
    Jesus Questioned About Fasting (MT 9:14-17//MK 2:18-22//LK 5:33-39)
    Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman (MT 9:18-26//MK 5:21-43//LK 8:40-56)
    The Rejection at Nazareth (MT 13:53-58//MK 6:1-6a//LK 4:14-30)
    Jesus Goes Throughout Galilee Healing and Teaching (MT 9:35-38//MK 6:6b//LK 4:16-30)
    Raising of the Son of a Widow of Nain (LK 7:11-17)
    Jesus Sends out the Twelve (MT 10:1-42//MK 6:7-13//LK 9:1-6)
    The Healing at the Pool of Siloam (JN 5:1-47)
    Jesus and John the Baptist (MT 11:1-19//LK 7:18-35)
    Woe on Unrepentant Towns (MT 11:20-24)
    The Father Revealed in the Son (MT 11:25-30)
    John the Baptist Beheaded (MT 14:1-12//MK 6:14-29//LK 9:7-9)
    Feeding of the 5000 (MT 14:13-21//MK 6:30-44//LK 9:10-17//JN 6:1-15)
    Jesus Walks on Water (MT 14:22-36//MK 6:45-56//JN 6:16-24)
    Jesus the Bread of Life (JN 6:25-71)
    Clean and Unclean (MT 15:1-20//MK 7:1-23)
    Jesus Heals a Syrophoenician Woman's Daughter (MT 15:21-28//MK 7:24-30)
    Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man (MK 7:31-37)
    Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand (MT 15:29-39//MK 8:1-13)
    The Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod (MT 16:5-12//MK 8:14-21)
    Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida (MK 8:22-26)
    Jesus Goes to the Festival of Tabernacles (JN 7:1-8:59)
    Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind (JN 9:1-10:21)
    Jesus Goes to the Festival of Dedication (JN 10:22-39)
    Peter's Confession of Christ (MT 16:13-28//MK 8:27-9:1//LK 9:18-27)
    The Transfiguration (MT 17:1-13//MK 9:2-13//LK 9:28-36)
    Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Impure Spirit (MT 17:14-20[21]//MK 9:14-29//LK 9:37-43a)
    Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time (MT 17:22-23//MK 9:30-32//LK 9:43b-48)
    The Temple Tax (MT 17:24-27)
    The Greatest in the Kingdom of God (MT 18:1-5//MK 9:33-37)
    Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us (MK 9:38-41//LK 9:49-50)
    Causing to Stumble (MT 18:6-9//MK 9:42-50)
    The Parable of the Wandering Sheep (MT 18:10-14)
    Dealing With Sin in the Church (MT 18:15-17,20)
    The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (MT 18:21-35)
    Samaritan Opposition (LK 9:51-56)
    Jesus Sends out the Seventy-Two (LK 10:1-24)
    Jesus Heals Ten Men with Leprosy (LK 17:11-19)
    Jesus Goes to the Jordan and Teaches/Miracles (MT 19:1//MK 10:1//JN 10:40-42)
    Divorce (MT 19:2-12//MK 10:2-12)
    The Little Children and Jesus (MT 19:13-15//MK 10:13-16//LK 18:15-17)
    The Death of Lazarus (JN 11:1-16)
    The Rich and the Kingdom of God (MT 19:16-30//MK 10:17-31//LK 18:18-30)
    The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (MT 20:1-16)
    Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time (MT 20:17-19//MK 10:32-34//LK 18:31-34)
    The Request of James and John's Mother (MT 20:20-28//MK 10:35-45)
    Blind Bartimaeus and Another Receive Their Sight (MT 20:29-34//MK 10:46-52//LK 18:35-43)
    Zacchaeus the Tax Collector (LK 19:1-10)
    The Raising of Lazarus (JN 11:17-57)
    The Parable of the Ten Minas (LK 19:11-27)
    Jesus Anointed at Bethany (MT 21:1a//MK 11:1a//LK 19:28-29a//JN 12:1-11)
    The Triumphal Entry (MT 21:1b-11//MK 11:1b-11//LK 19:29b-44//JN 12:14-15,12-13,16-19)
    Jesus Predicts His Death Yet Again (JN 12:20-36)
    Jesus Curses a Fig Tree (MK 11:12-14, 19-25[26]) <- I haven't put the parallels in MT and LK here or below; rough draft
    The Authority of Jesus Questioned (MK 11:27-33)
    The Parable of the Tenants (MK 12:1-12)
    Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar (MK 12:13-17)
    Marriage at the Resurrection (MK 12:18-27)
    Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews (MK 12:37-50)
    The Greatest Commandment (MK 12:28-34)
    Whose Son Is the Messiah? (MK 12:35-37)
    Warning Against the Teachers of the Law (MK 12:38-40)
    The Widow’s Offering (MK 12:41-44)
    The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times (MT 24//MK 13:1-31//LK 21)
    The Day and Hour Unknown (MK 13:32-37)
    Jesus' Feet Anointed at Bethany (MK 14:1-11) <- LK 7:37ff. belongs here.
    The Last Supper (MK 14:12-26//JN 13:1-30)
    Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial (MK 14:27-31//JN 13:31-38)
    Sayings By Jesus (JN 14:1-17:26)
    Gethsemane (MK 14:32-42//JN 18:1)
    Jesus Arrested (MK 14:43-52//JN 18:2-14)
    Peter's First Denial (MK 14:66-68//JN 18:15-18)
    The High Priest Questions Jesus (MK 14:53-65//JN 18:19-24)
    Peter's Second and Third Denials (MK 14:69-72//JN 18:25-27)
    The Death of Judas (MT 27:1-10) <-- LK parallels omitted below
    Jesus Before Pilate (MT 27:11-31//MK 15:1-20//JN 18:28-19:16)
    The Crucifixion of Jesus (MT 27:32-44//MK 15:21-32//JN 19:17-27)
    The Death of Jesus (MT 27:45-56//MK 15:33-41//JN 19:28-37)
    The Burial of Jesus (MT 27:57-61//MK 15:42-47//JN 19:38-42)
    The Guard at the Tomb (MT 27:62-66)
    The Resurrection (MT 28:1-20//MK 16:1-8//LK 24:1-53//JN 20:1-21:25)

    -The famous Temple cleansing has indeed been placed in the beginning of Jesus' ministry, on his first Passover in 28 AD as per the comment of the Jews that the Temple complex had been in-building for 46 years. Josephus writes that Herod the Great began this project in 20 BC, but that it took him about a year and a half to gather the materials so 19 BC. Calculating 46 years from that we reach (19 BC -> 1 AD = 19 years, plus 27) 28 AD.
    -The Wilderness is placed not on the same day as Jesus' baptism but when Jesus and his disciples go to baptize on the Jordan in John 3:21-36. This is because in John 1:29, 1:43 and throughout there is no time for the wilderness due to "the next day" all the way up till Cana.
    -There are also 3 major things that sort of bother me (not with the chronology but in and of themselves):
    1. I desperately wanted to equate John 4:44 with the rejection at Nazareth mentioned in MT 13//MK 6:1-6a and LK 4. The support for this was that Luke has this placed immediately after Jesus' return from the Jordan. The problem was that this meant interpreting John 4:44 which talks about this in the past tense as a summary the Evangelist was making for the future of his narrative but with retrospect (writing much later of course). This was difficult, but not impossible. Then Mark 6:1-6 talks about miracles Jesus had done. These cannot be the same miracles MT 4:23-25 (and parallels) talks about because this precedes the second sign in Galilee Jesus did in John 4:46ff. with the official's son; not exactly the second if you have a multitude in between. I decided those could be the miracles Jesus had done in Jerusalem, the ones the Galileans had seen (JN 4:45). However, Mark talks about miracles heard about not seen. Finally, Luke's account mentions the specific place of Capernaum, where Jesus did many of his miracles, and that put an end to this theory. So Jesus had apparently made numerous allusions to "a prophet without honor in his hometown" not just in Nazareth, but about Galilee, and Israel and the Jews as a whole (not impossible, and far easier to accept than the alternate, above theory).

    2. I was plagued by the fact that I could not equate the anointing of Jesus' feet in Mark 14 and his head by Martha in John 12:1ff. What really made it suggestible is the verbatim usage of "broke a jar of a pint of nard" in Mark (and parallels) and John. But John's dating is 6 days before the Passover and Mark's account says it was 2. I've seen various ways trying to get out of the "six days" in John, but they are not correct, the timeline is tied. Not only this, but the two anointments occur in different houses: one in Martha and Mary's, the other in Simon the Pharisee's (as per Luke). So two anointings was the only choice, one that's again, not impossible, but more likely than the alternative.

    3. But none of these is as bad as "Jesus' Authority Being Questioned" in John 2:18-25 versus MK 11:27-33//MT 21:23-27//LK 20:1-8. It is practically begging to be equated. Bultmann himself said that John overtook the Synoptics and formed his own version of it, that's how similar they are. But Bultmann's supposition is ungrounded as Jesus' authority was questioned many times (e.g. MT 16:1-4). What really prevents this from being easily merged is the fact that John and his baptism are both spoken of as past (was John's baptism of heaven or of earth... for the people are persuaded John was a prophet) and the Greek supports this (en/einas, the past for he/she/it was of eimi instead of the present esti(n)). But Jesus' authority was questioned many other times (MT 16:1-4 and parallels) and so the Synoptics may have added their narrative after the Temple Cleansing whereas it happened on another occasion (as Luke 20:1 and the other accounts imply; after teaching them many days).

    John's overall timeline is in general preferred. The Synoptics following Mark use a structure that does not have Jesus enter or preach/heal Jerusalem until the Passover of his death, yet see Luke 4:44, 13:31-35. This therefore necessitated the placement of the Temple cleansing at the end of the Synoptics' Gospels, but in all three it is isolated (in the middle of the fig tree narrative) and disjointed from the story.

    But in general, this is the chronology that more or less one would see from the four Gospels. I have omitted a lot of verses in some cases, mainly from Luke who has chapters 14-16 mainly teachings and these aren't part of a chronology, and can be placed accordingly. I explain this a lot more in a detailed verse-by-verse analysis and I'm about 1/4 finished with putting all Gospels in a verse-by-verse format (similar to Tatian's Diatessaron but with the infancy narratives and genealogies unlike him), with extensive explanations as to what I put where and the text mixture of the Gospels I've made and why. I'll have that before the end of the month I'm sure, and (in case anyone is even interested hehe :-p ) I'll post a link

  5. #5

    Re: Chronology/Timeline of the gospels

    There's a certain assumption made about the timing of the Savior's ministry which makes the Gospel chronology confusing.

    Have you ever wondered what the Savior meant when he read from Isaiah describing the "Year of Favor of the LORD"? Or how all those crowds of people were able to follow him around, as if they had a year's vacation? Did you know that AD 28 was a Jubilee year? And that the Synoptic Gospels only describe a time frame of less than one year?

    Isn't it strange that the Gospels, even though they were written from four different viewpoints, all seem to have huge gaps of time, all in the same places? Or perhaps the standard 3.5 year chronology is incorrect? Is John 6:4 Passover? Or the Day of Trumpets?

    By starting with the chronology in the Gospel of John, and noting Yahushua’s (Yeshua's, Jesus’) attendance at the Feasts, and correlating this to the other three Gospels, we discover that his public ministry was about one year long.

    Further investigation reveals that the entire length, including the 40 days fast in the wilderness and 50 days until Pentecost, is exactly 490 days.

    See for a detailed Harmony of the Gospels, and a complete ministry with no significant gaps.

  6. #6

    Re: Chronology/Timeline of the gospels

    Truth be told, there really is no way to harmonize John's gospel with the other three. This is why they are called the "synoptics" (ie. seen together), as they are very similar...and in some instances identical, to each other. John's gospel is altogether different, and can't really be "seen together" with the other three. Jesus' proclamation and message are altogether different as well. Most of New Testament scholarship (even conservative scholars) recognize John's as more a theological statement than historical chronology.

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