Chronology of Acts One Through Seven

05 Mar

I had always assumed the interval between Jesus’ ascension into heaven and Stephen’s death at the end of Acts 7 was about three to four years, and most of my commentaries agree. However, recently I have run across the opinion that Stephen’s death and the ensuing persecution of the Hellenist Messianic Jews was only a matter of months. The argument is that there aren’t any time indicators to prevent such an understanding, so why not just a few months? I don’t mean to misrepresent the understanding, but, although I have seen the understanding presented, I haven’t seen it defended, and I wonder if it could be.

On the other hand I could probably say the same for the understanding I hold. I have the support of several commentaries to which I could make reference, but none of them say why the interval between Acts 1 and 8 is three to four years. Therefore, I would like to take the time to see what is there in these beginning chapters of Acts that would offer support one way or the other. To be perfectly honest, however, I have made a cursory read with a view of identifying events which would point to the passing of time, and I have, tentatively, concluded there are more indicators supporting the opinion that the interval is a period of years rather than a few months. However, if I have misjudged the text, it ought to become evident that I am overly presumptuous in interpreting these indicators, and others who read it and are disposed to comment should be able to argue conclusively against what I’ve concluded. Anyway, this is how it is supposed to work!

In my next few blogs I hope to bring out this evidence that I presume supports my point of view and we’ll see where it leads. I am thinking it should take about four to six blogs to present my case, but anyone willing may chime in at any interval to help me see any error I may have made or any point that needs further consideration.

The timeframe I am working with is that Jesus died on the Passover of 31 CE and Stephen’s death which triggered the expulsion of the Hellenist Messianic Jews from Jerusalem in Acts 8 and following occurred probably late in 34 CE. With this as my canvas, let’s see what sort of scene can be painted, and will it be believable?


Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Chronology


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4 responses to “Chronology of Acts One Through Seven

  1. Liz Trupp

    January 24, 2015 at 11:50

    Thank you so much for all the writing you have done about Acts. I am teaching a class on Acts currently myself (for 2 yrs and we are only up to Chapter 12!) and do lots of reading. Just recently I found your site and have really been blessed by your thoughts; it makes Acts come alive. Have you made an actual timeline graph with where you believe the events in Acts transpired? I have difficulty keeping track and need a visual graph to look at, but don’t seem to see any link to one.

    • Eddie

      January 25, 2015 at 05:58

      Greetings Liz, and thanks for your encouraging remarks and for reading my blog. I don’t have a graph showing the details, but I do have a three part study that shows how I believe Luke put Acts together. It seems to have been written in 6 parts covering three major themes–at least this is how I perceive it was done. You can find most of my studies in Acts HERE and the three part study can be found in the first three links. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’d be happy to help out in any way I can.

      Lord bless you and those who study with you in your Acts study.

      P.S. — I do have a mini graph HERE, covering the time Paul is first mentioned in Acts until the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. I have another graph covering Paul’s journeys after the Jerusalem council HERE. I forgot about these posts. I found them after a short search. Please remember that these are my thoughts about my study in the book of Acts. I may be wrong in some of the dates etc. It is the closest to the truth that I am able to figure out. Lord bless.

  2. Leti Barnes

    May 4, 2014 at 23:47

    Have you posted follow up research on this item? Thanks.

    • Eddie

      May 5, 2014 at 08:19

      Greetings Leti, and thank you for reading my blog. I have done a little more work on this subject. If you have the time and are interested you can find what I’ve written HERE, in the 1st seven blogs. I did do a later study of Acts and it can be found HERE. While I didn’t do the study to prove a timeline, the passage of time can be inferred from my studies in Acts 2 through 6 in those postings.

      I believe I need to caution you about one thing. Not many people use the term “research” when it comes to my studies. I have read some scholarly works on Acts, but if I have given you the impression that I am a scholar, I need to tell you that I am not. I am a Sunday school teacher who likes to write about what he reads and nothing more than this should be inferred from my writing.

      Lord bless you and have a good day.


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