Bible time

The Bible and time: How scripture affects the way we reference dates and time

Conventional wisdom dictates that B.C. and A.D. relate to the birth of Jesus Christ.

B.C. = Before Christ
A.D. = Anno Domini (In the year of the Lord).

However careful examination of scripture produces some discrepancy:

  • It has been determined that Jesus Christ could not have been born any later than 4 B.C. because King Herod was in power at the time (Matthew 2:1) and according to secular records King Herod died in 4 B.C.
  • However, Luke 2:1-2 offers us what looks like a convincing piece of historical detail when he tells us that Jesus was born at the time of the census of Quirinius, which took place in A.D. 6. Thus we have Jesus born no later than 4 B.C., and at the same time no earlier than A.D. 6. The gospels are littered with such inconsistencies.

So according to the Bible as cross-referenced with all known historical documents, Jesus was born between 4 A.D. and 6 A.D., and not 1 A.D.

Nowadays, most respected scientists and others in the scientific and historical community use a different nomenclature when referring to ancient dates:

B.C.E. = Before Common Era
C.E. = Common Era

1 A.D. = 1 C.E.

1 B.C. = 1 B.C.E.

The periods related to the same dates in time but in order to not pander to one particular religion over any other, a more uniform naming convention is used in science and other areas.

Last updated by Nelson Feb 12, 2009.

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