Friday, October 25, 2013

Dating Historical Bible Events – Progress Update

Recently, we’ve been working on a series of articles tentatively entitled “The Bible in History” emphasizing the historicity of the Bible; that is to say that the events portrayed as literal episodes really happened and the associated characters were real people that physically existed, as opposed to being myths and legends as critics like to charge. Because these biblical narratives are real, we can date them along the historical timeline along with extra-biblical secular events. Unlike modern historical books however, events in the Bible are not tied to a chronological calendar dating system. Still, there is enough internal (within the Scriptures) and external evidence to date most characters and events with reasonable accuracy.

At the moment, the series will consist of a main article, currently in progress and subtitled simply as “Dating Bible Events”. This article will discuss various methods and challenges of establishing a Biblical timeline within our modern calendar system. There will also be several spin-off articles on subjects such as the date of the Exodus and Conquest and the life of Christ, both in progress.

Part of the series has already been completed and uploaded. We first mention the article Biblical Genealogies - Interpretation Challenges and Bible Inerrancy Issues. This was uploaded to our Bible Genre section in May, but it also contributes. It was written prior to the “Dating Bible Events” series, but contains much info that contributes to the current articles.

A major challenge we face in translating the dates of Bible events is the various calendar systems themselves, so we composed a Calendar Systems series consisting of an introduction and five parts that we uploaded last week. This sub-series not only examines the various calendar and dating systems, but provides much background on the various political and historical backgrounds for the various nations and time periods in which they developed.

The introduction contains a table of contents with links to all chapters. In part 1, we examine the basic types of calendars and dating systems along with their common components. In Part 2 we explore the political and historical context of Israel, Egypt, Babylon, the Roman Empire and other major nations in which the various calendar systems developed during the biblical era and the early church period.

If you think that “BC” stands for “Before Christ” and “AD” for “After Death”, and thus wondered how the years between Christ’s Incarnation and Crucifixion are dated, you might want to check out Part 3. Here, we discuss the origin and significance of our modern dating system (aka Anno Domini system). In part 4, we look at the historical events that led to its acceptance by Christendom in the midst of the church-state power struggles between the papacy and the Roman political leaders from the eighth to the fourteenth centuries. We then consider the development of alternative naming conventions to the Anno Domini system by unbelievers.

In our fifth and final installment, we focus on the historical events that led to the development and adoption of our modern Gregorian calendar system to replace the Julian calendar. We also summarize the methods and process of converting dates between different calendar systems and add some final thoughts on the Anno Domini system as it relates to the Christian era.


  1. Greetings brothers, my name is Peter, I've been searching for correlations between world history and the biblical record. Thank you for posting “The Bible in History”, as it ties in with my desire to date history along with bible history. Incidentally I think that history really is meant to be His Story.

  2. Well said Peter. Thanks for your comment.


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