Chronology of the Apostolic Age and the Development of the New Testament Canon

A chronology is now appropriate in order to present a sequence of events both biblical and extra-biblical which affect the canon of the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament. It is said that no two scripture scholars will agree on one apostolic chronology. Hence what is presented here is acceptable to some but not universally. It serves to give points of reference for the events that took place and their consequences.
Preaching of John the Baptist 27
Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church 30
Stephen is stoned to death. 36/37
The conversion of Paul
Paul's first missionary journey 45/49
Council of Jerusalem 50
Paul's second missionary journey 50/52
51 1 and 2 Thessalonians written
Paul's third missionary journey 53/58
54-57 Galatians written
57 1 and 2 Corinthians written
58 Romans written
The voyage to Rome 59/60
Paul's first Roman imprisonment 61-63 Philemon written
Colossians written
Ephesians written
Philippians written
James written
65 Mark written
1 Timothy written
Titus written
The Apostle James is martyred
Paul taken to Rome 63/64
Peter in Rome 64 1 Peter written
Paul's second imprisonment and death 67 2 Timothy written
Peter's death; Linus is Bishop of Rome Hebrews written
The destruction of Jerusalem 68-70
70s Matthew written;
Luke and Acts written
Anacletus is Bishop of Rome 78
70s/90s Jude written
90s John written
1, 2, and 3 John written
Revelation written
Clement is Bishop of Rome 92-101 1 Clement written
John's death at Ephesus 98


Council of Rabbis at Jamnia 99-100 Palestinian Canon in Hebrew
First Christian Canon of the Old Testament c. 100 Alexandrian Canon in Greek
100-125 2 Peter written
Didache written
Melito, Bishop of Sardis c. 170 Produced the first known Christian attempt at an Old Testament canon. His list uses the Septuagint order of books but contains only the Old Testament protocanonicals minus Esther.
Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons 185 Developed a New Testament Canon (without 3 John, James or 2 Peter)
c. 200 Muratorian Fragment contained a canon similar to Trent
Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea c. 325 History of the Church written; referred to James, Jude,2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John as "disputed, yet similar to most."
Council of Laodicea c. 360 List of books similar to Trent's canon.
Pope Damasus 382 Decree listing the books of Trent's canon.
Council of Rome 382 Prompted Pope Damasus' Decree.
Council of Hippo (North Africa) 393 Approved a list of OT and NT Canon (same as later Trent)
Council of Carthage (North Africa) 397 Approved a list of OT and NT Canon (same as later Trent)
Exuperius, Bishop of Toulouse 405 Wrote to Pope Innocent I requesting a list of canonical books. Pope Innocent listed the Trent canon.

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By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-2004, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Last Updated: July 17, 2004