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The Length of Jesus' Ministry

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by kathleenmariekg, Feb 21, 2021 at 6:36 PM.

  1. kathleenmariekg

    kathleenmariekg Active Member

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    The Old Scofield Bible lists Jesus' ministry as being seven years. What other Bible teachers use a 7 year timeline?

    Are all or any of the gospels in chronological order?

    Do you use a timeline for the gospels?
     
  2. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I was not aware that anyone used a 7-year timeline. Most people seem to think between 3 to 4 years. One evidence, for example, is that Jesus attended three yearly Passovers. That is, at least 3 are mentioned in the gospel of John (John 2:13; John 6:4; John 11:55-57).
    No, the events are not necessarily always recorded in chronological order. One evidence would be some things being in different order in different gospels.
    I do not have one that I have developed that suits my thinking. (Some day I hope to have done so.) I sometimes compare different harmonies of the Gospels for their chronological thoughts.
     
    #2 rlvaughn, Feb 21, 2021 at 7:58 PM
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021 at 8:55 PM
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  3. PeacefulLove

    PeacefulLove New Member

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    I have always understood that Jesus' ministry on earth was somewhere around 3-ish years. Regarding a chronology, another one I haven't quite thought about. Boy I sound seriously dumb.
     
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  4. kathleenmariekg

    kathleenmariekg Active Member

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    No! Not dumb! I was only recently introduced to the idea that the 3 1/2 year timeline is not universal.

    I would like to settle into something that is consistent, even if not "right".

    Scofield says this" The four Gospels ... Taken together, they set forth, not a biography but a personality. ... It may be well to respect the divine reticencies. But he does go on to list a date at the top of every page.

    Some other authors are a lot more slippery about what they say, adding dates where it serves them best to defend a pet doctrine, but entirely avoiding dating where the layman is most confused about how to link the dates that they did list. Dates can be important in the theologies of prophesy and dispensation application.

    I have only learned enough to be very confused.
     
  5. PeacefulLove

    PeacefulLove New Member

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    To be honest, things like chronology of Jesus' ministry through the 4 Gospels isn't all that incredibly important to me. I've seen many folks get stuck on the non-essentials like this and tend to focus on those things instead of the centrality of salvation.
     
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  6. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    then I would give up using this Bible, as he is VERY wrong for his length of Jesus' earthly Ministry! Data from the Four Gospels shows 4 years at the most
     
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  7. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    I think the exact duration of Christ's public ministry is not presented in scripture, thus the claims from 18 months to 3 1/2 years represent the speculation of men. Here is a link to one such effort:
    What was the length of Jesus' public ministry?
     
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  8. kathleenmariekg

    kathleenmariekg Active Member

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    The 7 year ministry timeline is not unique to Scofield; I am curious how widespread it was and is. I have also skimmed scholarly articles that suggest a timeline shorter than 3 1/2 years and some of the arguments apply to longer as well as shorter timelines. As Scofield says explicitly, and other study notes authors imply through their silence, the Bible does not clearly list these dates.

    Study Bibles are big business. The dates listed are often chosen with an eye on sales. Current layman have come to expect a 3 1/2 year timeline, and tolerate fractured and nonexistent timelines, especially in the books that they do not read anyway. My studies have only taken me far enough to know that dating all areas of the Bible, and coming to a complete conclusion without contradictions, is not as easy as I thought.

    I was just hoping that someone knew more about the body of scholarship that suggests a 7 year ministry and could save me some research time. This is not a Scofield invention.
     
  9. kathleenmariekg

    kathleenmariekg Active Member

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    I think the 7 years comes from scholars that hold to both John the Baptist in 26 AD and the crucifixion in 33 AD, instead of choosing one of them to be wrong, to squeeze the ministry into a shorter period?

    What was the length of Jesus' public ministry?
    The Bible does not tell us the exact number of days Jesus Christ served in public ministry. However, a close look at the chronological data revealed in the Gospels allows us to carefully reconstruct a timeline with a good degree of accuracy.

    To begin, Luke noted that the ministry of John the Baptist began in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar's reign, which was the year AD 26. Jesus began to minister shortly after this time at approximately the age of 30 (or perhaps "early 30s"; Luke 3:23). His crucifixion took place in either AD 30 or 33, indicating that His public ministry took place within the AD 26—33 timeframe.

    More specifically, scholars note that if Jesus began His public ministry between mid to late AD 26 and died in the spring of AD 30, His ministry would have been a total of 3½ years (including His resurrection, 40 days of appearances, and ascension). Others who argue for the crucifixion taking place in AD 33 argue that Jesus did not begin His ministry until AD 29, calculating the starting date of Tiberius Caesar's reign based upon the death of his predecessor Augustus Caesar in AD 14, meaning that the ministry of John the Baptist began in AD 29. In either case, a public ministry of about 3½ years is still the conclusion.
     
  10. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Recently, I started a thread about some chapters in the Gospels not being in chronicle order. will see if I can find out

    Salty

    PS (hint -hint) if some one else can find it......
     
  11. kathleenmariekg

    kathleenmariekg Active Member

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    I think I found it. I am reading it now.
    The Chronology of the Bible
     
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  12. kathleenmariekg

    kathleenmariekg Active Member

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    Googling "crucifixion 33 ad" brings up things that were not coming up before.

    People can think what they want about Wiki articles themselves, but this article links to a LOT of SOURCES.
    Chronology of Jesus - Wikipedia
     
  13. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing this it looks quite useful
     
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  14. kathleenmariekg

    kathleenmariekg Active Member

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    There are perks to being almost legally blind. LOL. I was able to download the text to this book for free.
    Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ
    By: Harold W. Hoehner ZONDERVAN / 1978
    Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ

    Hoener's Birth and Crucifixion dates: "Conclusion. Having considered some of these chronological notes, it seems the evidence would lead one to conclude that Christ’s birth occurred sometime in late 5 B.C. or early 4 B.C. ... The present author thinks that Christ’s ministry was at least three years in duration and that Christ’s crucifixion was in A.D. 33"

    Hoehner is less convinced of a ministry commencement date, but this is his conclusion: "Therefore, it is concluded that Christ’s ministry began sometime in the summer or autumn of A.D. 29."

    "Since the gospel writers never specifically state the duration of Christ’s public ministry, there have been differences of interpretation regarding the sequences and duration of His ministry. ... Scholars have calculated its duration from three or four months1 to sometime between ten and twenty years.2"
    1Ch. Guigneburt, Jesus, trans. by S. H. Hooke (London, 1935), p. 211. For a ministry of four to seven months, see Hans Windisch, "Die Dauer der öffentlichen Wirksamkeit Jesu nach den vier Evangelisten," Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, XII (1911), 141-75.
    2Irenaeus Adversus Haereses ii. 22. 5-6.
     
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  15. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again for the info. Hoehner is very good, I had a copy of this book some 30 years ago
     
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  16. kathleenmariekg

    kathleenmariekg Active Member

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    Now added to the above, a google of "John the Baptist 26 AD." shows how someone might settle upon a 7 year ministry for Christ.
     
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  17. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    That maybe so but if that is true they are in error... Jesus Christ ministry started the day after John baptized him as scripture states... Brother Glen:)

    John 1:35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

    1:36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

    1:37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

    I forgot to add for 3 to 4 years... There is also something in scripture a type and shadow if you will on the age of 30... Joseph served Pharaoh at the age of 30 and David became King at the age of 30... There is more in the OT, relating to Jesus Christ than some think... As the saying goes the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed!

    Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

    24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

    24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
     
    #17 tyndale1946, Feb 22, 2021 at 12:39 PM
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021 at 1:05 PM
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  18. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    3 years in length!
     
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  19. kathleenmariekg

    kathleenmariekg Active Member

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    Scofield dates at the top of the page are not keyed to any specific verse. It looks like these are his conclusions:

    Birth 5 BC
    Visit of the Magi 4 BC
    Baptism and temptation 26 BC
    Crucifixion 33 BC

    While the 3 1/2 year length of ministry is not set in stone, most study notes authors use 3 1/2 as a default, and therefore either drop the 26/27 date for John or drop the 33 date for the crucifixion. It is not heresy to consider the idea that Jesus had a longer ministry starting in 26/27 and ending in 33, clinging to both of these popular dates at the same time.

    EDIT: Sorry. Different gospels were less clear than others.
     
    #19 kathleenmariekg, Feb 22, 2021 at 1:03 PM
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021 at 1:09 PM
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