Ordering and chronology of the Epistles of Paul

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This is our interpretation of the time and place of writing of each of the epistles of Paul of Tarsus. However this is only meant to serve as a summary, and in many cases there is further evidence to support our conclusions, which we have presented in our commentaries for each of the epistles of Paul or in our commentary on the Book of Acts. Bear in mind that some dates may be off by one year, such as the date for the council of Jerusalem, which may have been in 49, or that of Paul’s arrival in Corinth, which may have been in 51. These possibilities and others are discussed in the notes to each presentation.

- William Finck

Part 1, from the Travelling Epistles and early chapters of Acts:

  • Acts chapter 2: First Christian Pentecost, 32 AD
  • Acts chapter 9: Conversion of Paul of Tarsus, 35 AD
  • Acts chapter 9: Visit of Paul as a Christian to Jerusalem, 37 or 38 AD
  • Acts chapter 9: Paul sent to Tarsus, 38 AD
  • Acts chapter 11: Paul retrieved from Tarsus to Antioch by Barnabas, before 44 AD
  • Acts chapter 12: Arrest and release of Peter, and the execution of the younger James, no earlier than 41 AD but no later than 44 AD
  • Acts chapters 11 to 15: Paul’s ministry with Barnabas began before 44 AD and ended in 48 or 49 AD, after the Council of Jerusalem.
  • Acts chapter 15: Council of Jerusalem, 48 AD
  • Acts chapter 18: Paul arrives in Corinth, 50 (or 51) AD
  • Epistles 1 and 2 Thessalonians were written from Corinth in 50 or 51 AD.
  • Acts chapter 18: Paul arrives in Antioch, 52 AD
  • Epistle to the Galatians is written from Antioch in 52 AD.
  • Acts chapter 18, Paul arrives in Galatia, and walks through Anatolia to Ephesus, 52-53 AD
  • Acts chapter 19: Beginning of Paul’s three year ministry in Ephesus, 53 AD
  • Epistle 1 Corinthians was written from Ephesus some time shortly before the Pentecost of 56 AD
  • Acts chapters 19 and 20: Paul departs from Ephesus, enroute to Corinth via the Troad and Macedonia, 56 AD
  • Epistles to Titus and 1 Timothy were written from the Troad, or perhaps from Macedonia, shortly after the Pentecost of 56 AD
  • Acts chapter 20: Paul wintered in Nicopolis of Epirus, north of Corinth, 56-57 AD
  • Epistle 2 Corinthians was written from Nicopolis during the winter of 56-57 AD
  • Acts chapter 20: Second ministry of Paul in Corinth, 57 AD
  • Acts chapter 20: Paul in the Troad with Timothy, Luke and others, 57 AD
  • Epistle to the Romans was written from the Troad in 57 AD

Part 2, from the Prison Epistles and the later chapters of Acts:

  • Acts chapter 21: Paul arrested in the temple at Jerusalem around Pentecost, 57 AD
  • Epistle to the Hebrews was written by Paul in 57 AD or shortly thereafter, in defense of his positions and the differences outlined in the words of James in Acts 21:18-22.
  • Acts chapter 24: Felix left office and left Paul bound two years after his arrest, 59 AD
  • Acts chapters 26 and 27: Paul was heard by Festus, and then by both Festus and Herod Agrippa II, 59-60 AD
  • Acts chapter 27: Paul sent to Rome and being shipwrecked had wintered on Malta, 60-61 AD
  • Acts chapter 28: Paul arrived in Rome, where he lived for two years, from 61 AD
  • Epistle to the Ephesians is written, perhaps 61 or 62 AD
  • Paul defends the faith before Nero in Rome, perhaps 61 or 62 AD
  • Epistle 2 Timothy written wherein Paul asked Timothy to come to Rome, perhaps 61 or 62 AD
  • Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, who was a Colossian, were all written after Timothy joined Paul in Rome, perhaps 62 or 63 AD
  • Josephus, Antiquities, Book 20 (20:200): After the death of Festus, James the brother of Yahshua Christ, the same James whom Paul saw in Jerusalem in Acts chapter 21, was murdered by certain Sadducees in Jerusalem shortly before Lucceius Albinus arrived to assume office of Procurator of Judaea, 62 AD
  • Acts chapter 28: Paul executed by Nero in Rome, 63 AD