Certainty in these dates is not to be had, the notes of time in the Acts being few and vague. It is only by connecting those events of secular history which it records, and the dates of which are otherwise tolerably known to us -- such as the famine under Claudius Cæsar (Ac 11:28), the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by the same emperor (Ac 18:2), and the entrance of Porcius Festus upon his procuratorship (Ac 24:27), with the intervals specified between some occurrences in the apostle's life and others (such as Ac 20:31; 24:27; 28:30; and Ga 1:1-2:21) -- that we can thread our way through the difficulties that surround the chronology of the apostle's life, and approximate to certainty. Immense research has been brought to bear upon the subject, but, as might be expected, the learned are greatly divided. Every year has been fixed upon as the probable date of the apostle's conversion from A.D.31 [Bengel] to A.D.42 [Eusebius]. But the weight of authority is in favor of dates ranging between 35 and 40, a difference of not more than five years; and the largest number of authorities is in favor of the year 37 or 38. Taking the former of these, to which opinion largely inclines, the following Table will be useful to the student of apostolic history:
A.D.37 Paul's Conversion Ac 9:1.
A.D.40 First Visit to Jerusalem Ac 9:26; Ga 1:18.
A.D.42-44 First Residence at Antioch Ac 11:25-30.
A.D.44 Second Visit to Jerusalem Ac 11:30; 12:25.
A.D.45-47 First Missionary Journey Ac 13:2; 14:26. A.D.47-51 Second Residence at Antioch Ac 14:28.
Third Visit to Jerusalem Ac 15:2-30; Ga 2:1-10.
(on which see Notes)
A.D.51,53, or 54 Second Missionary Journey Ac 15:36, 40; 18:22. A.D.53 or 54 Fourth Visit to Jerusalem Ac 18:21, 22. Third Residence at Antioch Ac 18:22, 23.
A.D.54-58 Third Missionary Journey Ac 18:23; 21:15. A.D.58 Fifth Visit to Jerusalem
Arrest and Imprisonment at Cæsarea Ac 21:15; 23:35. A.D.60 (Autumn) --
A.D.61 (Spring) Voyage to and Arrival in Rome Ac 27:1; 28:16. A.D.63 Release from Imprisonment
At Crete, Colosse, Macedonia, Corinth, Nicopolis, Dalmatia, Troas Ac 28:30.
1 & 2 Tim.1:1-4:22 and Tit.
A.D.63-65, or 66, or possibly as late as A.D.66-68 Martyrdom at Rome