Timeline of Early Christian Events




Apostolic and Pre-Nicene Eras


AD 29-33: Jesus is crucified, rises again, and the church begins at Pentecost.


33-100: Apostolic era; independent churches spread around the Roman empire and beyond.


100-303: Church expands beyond empire; suffering persecution fuels more growth. The church becomes more organized, and the clergy becomes more important and powerful.


Great Persecution and Rise of Constantine to Power


AD 303-311: Galerius leads two Augusti and two Caesars in the Great Persecution of Christians.


311: Galerius signs the Edict of Toleration, ending persecution, and admits failure.


311: Galerius dies from a disease that Christians attribute to the judgment of God.


312: Constantine has a vision of a Christian symbol similar to the cross, and inscribes the symbol on the shields of soldiers, and defeats Maxentius to unite the western empire. 


Events Leading to Council of Nicaea


AD 268-312: Lucian, an elder in Antioch, heads a theological school that trained early leaders of Arianism. Lucian dies as a martyr in communion with the church in 312.


318: Arius, an elder in Alexandria, tells Bishop Alexander the Son did not exist before God in the beginning. 


321: Arius is excommunicated by the council of bishops and moves to Nicomedia, where he is welcomed by Eusebius. 


321-325: Arius and Eusebius teach their doctrine to sailors, merchants, and children, and write letters to other bishops trying to spread the Arian belief.


324: Constantine defeats and then executes Licinius, and unites the entire Roman Empire under his rule.


325: Constantine offers transportation to all bishops to come to Nicaea for a council to resolve the Arian controversy. 


Council of Nicaea and Afterward


AD 325: Council of Nicaea is held in the summer. Arius is banished along with Theonas and Secundus.


325-326: Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea are banished (probably).


328: Eusebius and Theognis write a letter of recantation, stating Arius also has been received back from exile. Constantine restores them to their cleric positions.


328-335: Constantine orders the church in Alexandria to talk with Arius; Athanasius refuses.


335: Council of Tyre, led by Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea, attempts to convict Athanasius of various crimes but fails. Constantine calls major bishops to Constantinople, then expels Athanasius.


336: A council in Jerusalem restores Arius but he dies on the way to Constantinople for his first communion and his banishment. Supporters say he was poisoned; opponents say he was judged by God.


337: Constantine is baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia, dies several days later, and leaves the empire to his three sons: Constantine II, Constans, and Constantius. Constantine II sends Athanasius back to Alexandria.


337-361: Constantius, emperor in the east, embraces Arianism, installs Arian bishops in many cities of the east, resulting in general pandemonium.


339: Eusebius of Caesarea, known as the father of church history, dies.


341: Constantius brings Eusebius from Nicomedia to Constantinople. Eusebius calls a council in Antioch to affirm a new creed and expel Athanasius from Alexandria. Western bishops reject the creed.


343: A council is called in Sardica to reconcile east and west. A controversy over Paul and Athanasius, rejected from their sees, causes the eastern bishops to hold their own council in Philippopolis. Sardica confirms homoousios, but it is rejected in Philippopolis, and east and west are completely divided.


347-348: Constans threatens Constantius with civil war if he does not reinstall Paul and Athanasius as bishops. Constantius agrees and orders their cities to support them. 


348: (Approximate date) Athanasius calls a council in Jerusalem, and two leading Arian bishops--Ursacius and Valens--temporarily embrace the Nicene Creed. Athanasius then alienates most eastern bishops and Constantius by appointing elders in other jurisdictions.


350-361: Constantius overthrows Magnentius, then tries to spread Arianism in the west. He removes bishops in the west and the east, replacing them with bishops espousing Arian opinions.


356: Liberius, bishop of Rome, is banished, and Athanasius is forced to flee Alexandria for his life.


358: Liberius is restored to his position after signing a creed with Arian sentiments under duress.


359: Council of Ariminum is held in the west and Council of Seleucia in the east. Both councils approve an Arian creed, but numerous bishops, especially in the west, object. Jerome later mourns that at this point, "The world groaned and was astonished to find itself Arian."


361: Constantius dies, and Julian the Apostate becomes emperor in the east. He embraces paganism and recalls all the

bishops Constantius banished, perhaps hoping the Christians will battle each other into extinction, He also introduces persecution against Christians. 


363: Julian is killed in battle with the Persians, and Jovian becomes emperor. Jovian supports the Nicene Creed without violence, bringing growing peace to the east, but he dies of illness after seven months. The Acacian sect of Arians embraces the Nicene Creed. 


364: Valens becomes emperor in the east, embraces Arianism, persecutes the Nicene churches, and attempts to install Arian bishops in all eastern churches. Valentinian I becomes emperor in the west and holds to the Nicene Creed. 


375: Barbarian Goths kill Valentinian, emperor in the west.


375: Gratian, a nephew of Valens, becomes emperor in the west and supports the Nicene Creed. 


375: Valens defeats the Goths, gives them mercy, and they embrace Christianity, becoming Arians. Barbarian tribes remain Arians for at least a century.


378: Valens is slain in another battle with the Goths.


378-381: Gratian recalls all banished Nicene bishops in the east, but allows various sects to worship unmolested in their own churches.


379: Gratian appoints Theodosius as emperor in the east to replace Valens.


381: Theodosius calls a council in Constantinople to affirm a modified Nicene Creed. 150 bishops arrive from the east, plus Macedonian bishops whom the emperor wished to convert--but they refuse and leave the meeting. This council becomes remembered as the "Second Ecumenical Council of the Church."


383: Theodosius requests a defense of the faith from all four major sects. After much prayer and consideration, he decides on the homoousian party. This event ended the Arian controversy and constituted the final victory for the Nicene Creed. Arianism does not disappear but is considered unorthodox and outside the faith of the church.  


(Source: Adapted from Decoding Nicea, a book by Paul F. Pavao, published by The Greatest Stories Ever Told, 2011)





New Testament Timeline

All dates are approximate



6 BC Birth of John the Baptist Luke 1,
John 1:6
6 BC Augustus Taxes the Roman Empire Luke 2
5 BC Birth of Jesus Matthew 1,
Mark 1,
Luke 2:6,
John 1:14
5 BC Visit of the Magi Matthew 2
5 BC Escape to Egypt Matthew 2:13
4 BC Slaughter of Infants Matthew 2:16
4 BC Return to Nazareth Matthew 2:23
8 AD The Boy Jesus at the Temple Luke 2:41
26 AD John the Baptist Prepares the Way Matthew 3,
Mark 1:4,
Luke 3,
John 1:15
26 AD The Baptism of Jesus Matthew 3:13,
Mark 1:9,
Luke 3:21
27 AD Temptation of Jesus Matthew 4,
Mark 1:12,
Luke 4
27 AD Jesus Calls his First Disciples Matthew 4:18,
Mark 1:16,
Luke 5
27 AD Wedding at Cana John 2
27 AD Jesus Teaches Nicodemus John 3
27 AD Jesus Testifies to the Samaritan Woman John 4
27 AD Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5 - 7
28 AD Instructions on Prayer Luke 11
28 AD Jesus Ministers in Galilee Matthew 8,
Mark 2,
Luke 4:14
28 AD The Pool of Bethesda John 5
28 AD Jesus Lord of the Sabbath Matthew 12,
Mark 3,
Luke 6
28 AD Jesus Answers John's Disciples Matthew 11,
Luke 7
28 AD Jesus Speaks Many Parables Matthew 13,
Mark 4,
Luke 8
28 AD Jesus Heals a Demoniac Matthew 8:28,
Mark 5,
Luke 8:26
28 AD Jesus Heals a Paralytic Matthew 9
29 AD Jesus Sends out His Twelve Apostles Matthew 10,
Mark 6
29 AD John the Baptist Beheaded Matthew 14,
Mark 6:14
29 AD Jesus Feeds the 5,000 Matthew 14:15,
Mark 6:30,
Luke 9,
John 6
29 AD Teachings on Clean and Unclean Matthew 15,
Mark 7
29 AD Peter's Confession of Christ Matthew 16,
Mark 8,
Luke 9:18
29 AD The Transfiguration Matthew 17,
Mark 9,
Luke 9:28
29 AD Greatest and Least in the Kingdom Matthew 18
29 AD Jesus Sends out the Seventy-two Luke 10
29 AD Jesus Teaches at the Feast of Tabernacles John 7
29 AD The Woman Caught in Adultery John 8
29 AD Jesus Affirms He is the Son of God John 9
29 AD The Shepherd and His Flock John 10
30 AD Jesus Speaks More Parables Luke 12 - 16
30 AD Jesus Cleanses the Ten Lepers Luke 17
30 AD Jesus Raises Lazarus John 11
30 AD Final Journey to Jerusalem Matthew 19, 20,
Mark 10,
Luke 18
30 AD The Triumphal Entry Matthew 21,
Mark 11,
Luke 19,
John 12
30 AD Closing Ministry in Jerusalem Matthew 22 - 25,
Mark 12, 13,
Luke 20, 21
30 AD Thursday Before Passover Matthew 26,
Mark 14,
Luke 22,
John 13
30 AD Jesus Comforts His Disciples John 14
30 AD Jesus the True Vine John 15
30 AD Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit John 16
30 AD Jesus' Intercessory prayers John 17
30 AD Jesus' Betrayal, Trial, Crucifixion Matthew 27,
Mark 15,
Luke 23,
John 18, 19
30 AD Jesus' Resurrection Matthew 28,
Mark 16,
Luke 24,
John 20, 21
30 AD The Ascension Acts 1
30 AD Matthias Chosen by Lot Acts 1:12
30 AD The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost Acts 2
30 AD Peter Heals and Preaches Acts 3
30 AD Peter and John Arrested and Released; Acts 4
30 AD Believers Share All Acts 4:32
30 AD Deaths of Ananias and Sapphira Acts 5
30 AD Apostles Preach and Heal Acts 5:11
31 AD Stephen's Speech, Stoning and Death Acts 6, 7
31 AD Saul Persecutes the Church Acts 8
31 AD Philip in Samaria Acts 8:3
31 AD Simon the Sorcerer Acts 8:9
31 AD Philip and the Ethiopian Acts 8:26
34 AD Saul's Conversion Acts 9
37 AD Peter Preaches to the Gentiles Acts 10, 11
42 AD Barnabas was Sent to Antioch Acts 11:22
42 AD Peter Led from Prison by the Angel Acts 12
44 AD Herod Agrippa Dies Acts 12:20
45 AD James Writes his Letter James 1 - 5
48 AD Paul's First Missionary Journey Acts 13
48 AD Paul preaches in Pisidian Antioch Acts 13:14
48 AD Paul and Barnabas in Iconium Acts 14
48 AD Paul and Barnabas in Lystra and Derbe Acts 14:8
48 AD Paul and Barnabas Return to Syrian Antioch Acts 14:21
48 AD Return to Syrian Antioch Acts 14:24
48 AD The Council at Jerusalem Acts 15
49 AD Paul's Second Missionary Journey Acts 15:36
49 AD Paul in Philippi Acts 16
49 AD Paul in Thessalonica, Berea, Athens Acts 17
51 AD Paul in Corinth Acts 18
51 AD Paul writes to the Thessalonians 1 Thess. 1 - 5
52 AD Paul writes again to the Thessalonians 2 Thess. 1 - 3
54 AD Paul in Ephesus Acts 19
54 AD Paul writes to the Corinthians 1 Corinthians 1 - 16
54 AD Paul writes to the Galatians Galatians 1 - 6
57 AD Paul in Macedonia and Greece Acts 20
57 AD Paul writes to the Romans Romans 1 - 16
57 AD Paul writes again to the Corinthians 2 Corinthians 1 - 13
59 AD Paul Returns to Jerusalem Acts 21 - 23
60 AD Paul imprisoned in Caesarea Acts 24
62 AD Paul Before Festus Acts 25
62 AD Paul Before Agrippa Acts 26
62 AD Paul Sails for Rome Acts 27
62 AD The Shipwreck Acts 27:13
62 AD Paul Ashore at Malta Acts 28
62 AD Paul Preaches at Rome Acts 28:11
62 AD Paul writes to the Ephesians Ephesians 1 - 6
62 AD Paul writes to the Philippians Philippians 1 - 4
62 AD Paul writes to the Colossians Colossians 1 - 4
62 AD Paul writes to Philemon Philemon 1
63 AD Paul writes to Timothy 1 Timothy 1 - 6
64 AD Peter writes his First Letter 1 Peter 1 - 5
66 AD Paul writes to Titus Titus 1 - 3
67 AD Paul writes Again to Timothy 2 Timothy 1 - 4
67 AD Peter writes his Second Letter 2 Peter 1 - 3
68 AD Letter to the Hebrews Hebrews 1 - 13
68 AD Jude writes his Letter Jude 1
90 AD John writes his First Letter 1 John 1 - 5
92 AD John writes his Second Letter 2 John 1
94 AD John writes his Third Letter 3 John 1
95 AD John's Revelation on Patmos

Revelation 1 - 22


(Source: Bible Hub. Rich Valkanet, Discovery Bible & Biblos)


All Dates are Approximate. Timeline based on traditionally accepted timeframes and general consensus of a variety of sources, including Wilmington's Guide to the BibleA Survey of Israel's History (Wood), The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (Thiele), ESV Study BibleThe Treasury of Scripture KnowledgeInternational Standard Bible Encyclopedia, and Easton's Bible Dictionary.