Chronology of Paul’s Ministry

St. Paul

There is much debate about the specifics of Paul’s life, but the general order given below is basically correct. The one key change would be that some scholars put the prison letters (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon) during Paul’s first imprisonment at Caesarea or at an unmentioned imprisonment in Ephesus. Still other scholars argue that Philippians was written from a different place than the other three. But the general consensus is that all the prison letters were written from the same place and that place was Rome. All the dates are approximate.

Paul did not write his first letter (at least the first letter we have) until 15 years after his conversion.  Acts ends with Paul under house arrest in Rome. He eventually got out and ministered for another 2-3 years. Paul and Peter were both martyred under Nero with Paul being beheaded and Peter crucified upside down. Acts 9-21:17 covers over twenty years of early church history. While 21:27-28:31 covers between 4-5 years with most of the text describing Paul’s interviews with various parties. It is generally understood that Festus replaced Felix in 59 AD.  This is one of more sure dates in Paul’s life. Thus Acts 25 takes place in 59 AD.

The dates were gleaned from D.A. Carson’s An Introduction to the New Testament and F.F. Bruce’s Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free.

Date Event Reference
28-30 Public Ministry of Jesus Gospels
33 or 34 Conversion of Paul Acts 9
37 Paul’s 1st Visit to Jerusalem Acts 9:26ff
37-45 Ministry in Tarsus and Cilicia Acts 9:30 and 11:25
46 Paul’s 2nd Visit to Jerusalem Acts 11:30
47-49 Paul’s 1st Missionary Journey with Barnabas Acts 13:1-14:26
48 Letter to the Galatians Written
49 Apostolic Council Acts 15
50 1st and 2nd Thessalonians written from Corinth Acts 17:1-18:1
49-51 Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey with Silas Acts 15:40-18:22
55 & 56 I and 2nd Corinthians Written
57 Letter to the Romans Written
52-57 Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey Acts 18:23-21:17
57-59 Trial and Imprisonment in Caesarea Acts 21:27-26:32
59-60 Travel to Rome Acts 27:1-28:16
60-62 Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon Written
60-62 Paul under House Arrest in Rome Acts 28:30-31
62-64 I and II Timothy and Titus Written
62-64 Ministry in the East, possibly Ephesus and Crete or Spain I Tim 1:3 & Titus 1:5
 64 or 65 Death Under Nero