Evidence for an Early Dating of the Four Gospels

By James M. Rochford

Unfortunately, the gospels don’t contain timestamps telling us when they were written. Instead, historians and commentators inductively piece together evidence from inside and outside these books to determine their date. To give a baseline comparison, the majority of NT scholars date the gospels sometime between these ranges below:[1]

Mark: AD 60-75

Matthew: AD 65-85

Luke: AD 65-95

John: 75-100

These standard dates could very well be true, and surely many Christian scholars hold to these dates. It’s also good to remember that even if we accept these later dates, the Gospels were still written far earlier than other ancient biographies. For instance, the Roman emperor Tiberius died just a few years after Jesus (AD 37), and Tacitus and Suetonius wouldn’t write a biography of him for 70-80 years (AD 110-120). Likewise, Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, and Arrian of Nicomedia (AD 130) and Lucian (AD 100) didn’t write a biography for over 400 years! Thus, if we are skeptical of Jesus, then we need to be even more skeptical of these great figures in history. And this would effectively place us back in the Dark Ages when it comes to history!

Such a view is far too skeptical. Roman historian A.N. Sherwin-White has shown that it takes many generations for legendary development to erase the historical core of an event. He studied the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus to measure the rate at which legends develop. He found that it would take more than two generations before the historical core of an event could be eliminated.[2] When applying his findings to the NT, he said that it is “unbelievable”[3] to take these as mere legends. While exaggerations and embellishments can creep in over time, his point is that it takes a long time for these to replace the historically central events themselves.

That being said, we still hold the conviction that there is a very good evidential case for an early dating of the Gospels. We will develop our case by beginning with the maximum late dates, and then moving step by step to a very early dating for these biographies of Jesus of Nazareth.

Early manuscript evidence

NT scholars almost without exception agree that the synoptic Gospels (e.g. Matthew, Mark, and Luke) predate the gospel of John. Even though John claims to be an eyewitness (Jn. 19:35), it wasn’t uncommon for earlier generations of critics to date John as late as AD 150. They claimed that “John” was actually written by his disciples—called the “Johannine School” in Alexandria, Egypt. Indeed, critic F. C. Baur dated Acts and Mark to roughly AD 150, and he dated John to AD 160-170.[4]

No one dates John this late anymore. One reason for rejecting such a critical view is that we actually possess a fragment of John that dates to ~AD 125! The John Rylands Fragment (P52)[5] is quite small—only 2.5 by 3.5 inches—and it contains John 18:31-33, 37-38.[6]

In addition, we have several manuscripts that date Matthew and Luke quite early. Since most scholars believe that Matthew and Luke wrote after Mark, then means that Mark would need to be dated even earlier.

Virtually everyone agrees that Mark wrote first, Matthew and Luke borrowed from Mark, and last of all, John wrote his gospel. So, if we can determine a fixed date John, this means that the synoptic Gospels must’ve been written even earlier. Since we have an existing manuscript of John that dates to ~AD 125, this must mean that John wrote his gospel in the first century AD. These additional manuscripts of Matthew and Luke only add to the case that the gospels date to the first century AD.

Early citations from the Church Fathers

Historians refer to the early Christian leaders, thinkers, and writers as the Church Fathers. Their writings only confirm what we have already seen: The gospels already existed by the end of the first century AD, and indeed, the Church Fathers were already citing their biographies of Jesus’ life. Consider several examples:

The Didache (AD 95) is most likely the earliest extra-biblical manuscript.[7] In 8.2, the Didache quotes from Matthew’s version[8] of the Lord’s Prayer (Mt. 6:5, 9-13).

Clement of Rome (AD 95)[9] dates very early as well, because he mentions the Temple still standing (ch.41). And Clement cites Matthew (1 Clement 13.2) and the other Synoptic Gospels (1 Clement 24.5; 46.8).

The Epistle of Barnabas (AD 100)[10] cites Matthew 22:14 (4.14). Indeed the language is “nearly identical Greek.”[11]

Ignatius (AD 100)[12] cites the gospel of Matthew several times in his letters (Ephesians, 14.2; Smyrnaeans 6.1; Polycarp 2.2), as well as John 3:8 (Philadelphia 7:1).

Polycarp (~AD 120-135)[13] cites Matthew (2.3; 7.2; 12.3), Mark (5.2), and Luke (2.3).

Tatian (Assyria, AD 173) created his Diatessaron that harmonized the four gospels (dia means “through” and tessaron means “four”). Again, this shows that the Gospels were known and in use to the point that Syriac Christians were writing harmonies of them.

Again, this would place the Gospels at least within the first century AD. None of this is controversial at this point. Indeed Bart Ehrman states that “most scholars”[14] agree on a first century dating of the four gospels.

But can we date the Gospels even earlier?

Early dating for the Book of Acts

Whoever wrote Luke also wrote Acts. In fact, virtually no one “would dispute this basic observation.”[15] Just look at the introduction of each book, and notice the similarities between the two.

Comparison of Luke-Acts



1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4            so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Since Acts is the sequel to Luke, then this must mean that Luke predates Acts. And if Mark predates both Luke and Matthew, then this would date Mark even earlier. Hence, if we can date Acts early, then we can date Luke earlier, and we get the date for Mark thrown in for free.

Arguments for dating Acts ~AD 62

Several lines of evidence date Acts early—roughly around AD 62.[16] Classicist Colin J. Hemer became a researcher of NT history toward the end of his life, and he details several lines of evidence for dating the Book of Acts to ~AD 62.[17] Consider several lines of evidence:

First, the book of Acts doesn’t record the Jewish War or the Fall of Jerusalem (AD 66-70). The Romans completely decimated the city of Jerusalem in an absolute bloodbath. Josephus states that the Roman army killed 1.1 million Jews, and they took 200,000 captive as slaves.[18] The starvation during the Siege of Jerusalem was so horrific that parents cooked children for food![19] This three year period was an absolute nightmare.

And yet, Luke didn’t write a word about it in the book of Acts! To put this in perspective, this would be similar to a reporter failing to mention World War II, while he was on assignment in Paris in the early 1940s.

Second, the book of Acts doesn’t record Emperor Nero’s persecution of the Christians in Rome (AD 64). Nero began a horrific persecution of Christians after the great fire in Rome, crucifying Christians and burning them alive by the thousands.[20] But yet again, Luke didn’t mention a word about this in his book. Luke recorded other persecutions (Acts 8:1; 11:19), but he didn’t mention this one, which was one of the worst of its kind. Indeed, a late date for Acts seems utterly out of character with Luke’s picture of the Romans being so friendly and positive to Christianity, which would make no sense after Nero’s campaign.

Third, the book of Acts doesn’t record the death of Peter (AD 67), Paul (AD 67), or James (AD 62). Luke had no problem recording the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:58) or James of Zebedee (Acts 12:2). And yet, Luke writes nothing about Peter, Paul, and James. These were the three central leaders of the early church, but Luke doesn’t even hint at their deaths:

(1) Peter. Emperor Nero crucified Peter in Rome in ~AD 67.[21]

(2) Paul. Emperor Nero beheaded Paul in Rome in ~AD 67.[22]

(3) James—the half-brother of Jesus. The Roman historian Josephus records that the Sanhedrin had James stoned to death.[23] Later Christian authors add that James was “thrown from the pinnacle of the temple” and “beaten to death with a club.”[24]

Josephus recorded the death of James, but Luke didn’t. Various Christian authors recorded the death of Peter and Paul, but again, Luke didn’t even hint at it.

Fourth, Acts presents theological disputes that would only be issues before AD 70. For instance, Acts 15 centers on the question of whether Gentiles should be circumcised. But after AD 70, most Jewish Christians were sadly gone, and Gentile-centered Christianity grew exponentially. Indeed, the gospels are thoroughly Jewish, but Judaism and Christianity departed radically after AD 70.

Fifth, Acts emphasizes the legal protection of Christianity under Judaism. Before the Jewish War (AD 66), Judaism was a legal religion. But after? The Romans revoked these privileges. Why then does Acts spill so much ink to demonstrate that Christianity is a legal religion like Judaism (see Acts 18-28), if it was written after Judaism had lost this protection in AD 66 as a result of the Jewish War? Furthermore, why does Jesus heal the Roman centurion’s servant? (Lk. 7:1-10; Mt. 8:5-13) Why does a Roman save Paul’s life? (Acts 21:28) Finally, why does a Roman centurion identify Jesus as “the Son of God” (Mk. 15:39)?

Why did Luke fail to mention all of these cataclysmic events? At this point, the answer is surely obvious: These events hadn’t happened yet! To put this in perspective, this would be like a modern biographer writing an account of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King or JFK, but failing to mention their assassinations!

Of course, this is an argument from silence, but it is a conspicuous silence or deafening silence. That is, we should expect to read about these events, but we do not. This strongly suggests that Luke finished the Book of Acts before any of these events occurred. Josephus ended his massive work The Antiquities of the Jews because the account went up “to [his] very day” (Antiquities, 20.267). In the same way, Luke put down his quill pen and parchment, because the story was over. This is why we would date Acts to roughly AD 62.

Implications for dating Luke and Mark

If Acts dates to AD 62, then this would place Luke earlier. After all, Acts records a tremendous amount of history, and Luke would have needed to travel hundreds of miles to interview his witnesses. Moreover, Luke’s gospel is the longest of the gospels, and this would’ve taken a considerable amount of time to write. Conservatively, we could date the writing of Luke’s gospel sometime in the late 50s AD.

Luke states that he took much of his materials from earlier sources (Lk. 1:2). As a matter of fact, Luke copied 88% of Mark’s gospel into his own,[25] and whenever Luke is mentioned in the NT, Mark is mentioned in the same context (Phile. 23-24; Col. 4:10-11, 14; 2 Tim. 4:11). This means that Luke and Mark knew one another, and that Mark’s gospel predated Luke’s gospel. Thus if Luke dates to the late 50s AD, then how early should we date Mark? John Wenham dates Mark to the mid-40’s AD,[26] and even critic James G. Crossley (co-founder of the highly skeptical Jesus Seminar) dates the book to the late 30’s or early 40’s AD.[27]

Early citations from the apostle Paul

Paul makes allusions to the gospels and even cites them verbatim at times. Since we can date Paul’s letters fairly accurately, this gives further evidence for an early date of the Gospels. At the very minimum, this means that Paul had access to the sayings and deeds of Jesus early on. However, we would argue that this implies that the gospels were already in circulation.

1 Corinthians

Even critical scholars agree that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. Indeed, among critics of the NT “few have contested the claim,”[28] and the “authenticity of the epistle is universally recognized.”[29] Furthermore, the “Gallio Stone” dates the beginning of Gallio’s office in Corinth to the early summer of AD 51.[30] This serves as a timestamp, dating 1 Corinthians sometime in the mid-fifties AD, which is a date for the letter that has “wide agreement.”[31] This means that Paul wrote the following verses in ~AD 55.

(1 Cor. 7:10) “To the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband.”

When Paul refers to “the Lord,” he is referring to the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 2:8; 4:5; 7:12; 7:25; 9:5). Jesus, of course, spoke about the subject of divorce in a number of places in the Gospels (Mt. 5:32; 19:9; Mk. 10:11; Lk. 16:18). This seems to be a strong allusion to the notion that Paul has a copy of at least one of the Gospels. Otherwise, how could he claim to know Jesus’ stance on divorce? This is especially true in light of verse 12, where does not claim to know Jesus’ views on unbelieving spouses.

(1 Cor. 9:14) “The Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.”

Again, in context, Paul uses the expression “the Lord” to refer to the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 9:5). The concept of being paid for our work as vocational pastors comes from both Matthew and Luke (Mt. 10:10; Lk. 10:7).

(1 Cor. 11:23) For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

The synoptic Gospels all record this saying of Jesus from the Last Supper (Mt. 26:26-28; Mk. 14:22-24; Lk. 22:17-20). However, Paul’s citation is “closest to Luke’s account.”[32] For one, Paul and Luke both mention the breaking of the bread, and both record, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24; Lk. 22:19). Second, Paul and Luke both mention that Jesus’ body is “for you” (1 Cor. 11:24; Lk. 22:19). Third, Paul and Luke both associate the “cup” with the “new covenant” (1 Cor. 11:25; Lk. 22:20).

By contrast, Matthew and Mark both use the word “bless,” rather than “given thanks” (eucharisteō). Furthermore, Matthew and Mark both include Jesus’ imperative to “take,” while Paul and Luke simply state, “This is my body.”

1 Timothy

(1 Tim. 5:18) The Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

Again, Paul cites from the gospel according to Luke (“The laborer is worthy of his wages.”). Indeed the Greek is “exactly paralleled”[33] and is an “exact replication”[34] of Luke 10:7, while the parallel passage in Matthew 10:10 is slightly different.

(Lk. 10:7) axios gar ho ergatēs tou misthou autou

(1 Tim. 5:18) axios ho ergatēs tou misthou autou

The reader may not have noticed an unintended “coincidence” in these citations above: The Church Fathers state that Luke wrote under Paul’s supervision,[35] and in his letters, Paul regularly quotes from Luke’s gospel—not Matthew or Mark. This further vindicates the idea that Luke wrote his gospel early, and he did so alongside Paul.

Some critics avoid this evidence by claiming that a fake author (i.e. pseudepigraphic author) wrote 1 Timothy, and he wrote this long after Luke’s gospel was in circulation. However, the arguments denying Paul’s authorship are unconvincing (see Introduction to 1 & 2 Timothy for our analysis).

OBJECTION: “The Gospels couldn’t have been written before AD 70, because Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple.”

Jesus’ predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jewish Temple.

Regarding the Jewish Temple, Jesus said that it would become “desolate” (Mt. 23:38), and he said, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” (Mt. 24:2 NLT)

Regarding the city of Jerusalem, Jesus predicted that the city would be “set… on fire” (Mt. 22:7). Jesus forewarned his disciples, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near… Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles” (Lk. 21:20, 24 NLT).

NT critics argue that we cannot possibly date the Gospels before AD 70, because there was no way that Jesus could have made such predictions. However, this argument doesn’t carry much weight.

First, this is really an unjustified philosophical objection—not a historical one. After all, if God exists and Jesus was who he claimed to be, then predicting these events four decades in advance would be no more difficult than predicting sunny weather in Los Angeles. Critics of the NT could be right that God doesn’t exist, but do they ever offer good evidence for this claim? For instance, in the introduction to a critical commentary on the Gospels, do we ever see a chapter that philosophically argues that God cannot predict the future? Of course not. Why then should we treat their assumptions seriously?

Moreover, the philosophy of religion isn’t their area of expertise. This would be like asking a meteorologist for her professional opinion on car transmissions; or asking an actor for his professional opinion on jet propulsion. While they might be insightful (and even accurate) in their views, they are simply out of their area of expertise! If we are supposed to take their claims seriously, they would need to offer evidence to support them—just like anyone else. Critical commentaries, however, abound with the assumption of anti-supernaturalism without offering any reasons to support it. If we are going to listen to their assertions and assumptions, then we need to hear their arguments.

Second, the NT authors never record the fulfillment of this prediction. Luke records the fulfillment of Agabus’ prediction of a famine under Emperor Claudius (Acts 11:28), but he never mentions the fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction about the Temple! This is truly astounding to consider that Luke would record the fulfillment of a no-name, but neglect mentioning on of Jesus’ most famous predictions to this time period.

Third, Bible-believing Jews held that God would destroy the Temple if the nation was unfaithful. According to the blessings and cursings of the Law (Lev. 26; Deut. 28), there was a historical tradition that disobedience would result in the destruction of the Temple (Jer. 7). This is why other faithful Jews were predicting the destruction of the Temple as early as AD 66 (Jewish War 6.301). Therefore, it isn’t hard to believe that a faithful Jewish rabbi like Jesus would hold the same view. Under this view, these predictions would be based on theological convictions, rather than personally inspired prophecies.

Fourth, Christian history teaches that many Christians followed Jesus’ prediction and escaped Jerusalem with their lives. For instance, Epiphanius (4th c.) wrote, “The Nazoraean sect exists in Beroea… Pella, and in Bashan… That is where the sect began, when all the disciples were living in Pella after they moved from Jerusalem, since Christ told them to leave Jerusalem and withdraw because it was about to be besieged” (Panarion 29:7:7-8). Likewise, Eusebius (4th c.) stated, “The people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella” (Church History, 3.5.3). These statements fit with the idea that the Gospels existed before the Jewish War (AD 66-70), and therefore, this is why the Christians in Jerusalem escaped before the war became brutal.

Fifth, if the Gospels truly wrote these “predictions” after the fact (ex eventu), then we would expect them to be more precise. J.A.T. Robinson, who himself was a critical scholar, points out that Matthew’s statement about how the king “set their city on fire” is not good evidence for a post-70 date (Mt. 22:7). After all, argues Robinson, the city was not burned in AD 70, the Temple was.[36] Additionally, Jesus told his disciples to “pray that it may not happen in the winter” (Mk. 13:18). However, Titus destroyed the Temple in the summer (July/August AD 70; Mishnah Taanith 4.6). Likewise, Jesus told his disciples to “flee to the mountains” (Lk. 21:21). Yet, historically, Eusebius and Epiphanius tell us that the Christians fled to Pella, which is topically lower than Jerusalem.

Why did it take so long for the Gospels to be written?

We have argued thus far that the dating for the Gospels was quite early. In fact, even if we are wrong about our evidence for the early dating, the late dating of the Gospels is still within the first-century AD and far sooner than other ancient sources. However, this still leaves the question: Why did the disciples of Jesus wait to compose written accounts for decades? Why didn’t they start to write these immediately?

One common answer to this question is that the disciples believed in the imminence of Jesus. That is, they believed that he would return at any moment. Consequently, they didn’t think that written records would be necessary. However, this doesn’t seem to fit with what we see in other religious communities who believe in an imminent end of the world. For instance, the Qumran community believed that the Messiah would come soon to rule and reign, and they wrote a voluminous amount of literature. Moreover, in our modern age, Christians who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church write volume upon volume.

In our estimation, a better answer to this question is that the early Christians began writing Gospels when (1) the first eyewitnesses began to die, (2) the apostles couldn’t keep up with rapid numerical growth, and (3) this took painstaking research (Lk. 1:1-4). After all, imagine if you showed up to listen to me teach through Mark, but then you heard that Peter was teaching down the street on the life of Christ… Which person would you listen to? Surely, you wouldn’t have a choice, because I myself would be down the street listening to Peter!

In the same way, the need to write Gospels increased when these eyewitnesses began to die off, or when it became impossible for them to teach in person.


We don’t claim to have the final word on the dating of the gospels. This subject is surely up for debate. However, based on the manuscript evidence, the citation from the Church Fathers, the dating of the Book of Acts, and the early citations from Paul, we think there is good evidence for an early dating of the Gospels. While we can’t say with certainty, we would offer these general dates for the Gospels below:

Date of Matthew

In Matthew 22:23, we read the present tense to describe the Sadduccees (“[those] who say there is no resurrection”). Those who date Matthew after AD 70 will have difficulty with this passage, because the Sadducees virtually disappeared after the Jewish Revolt (AD 66) and the Destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70). (see also Acts 23:8)

We would date Matthew to the 60s AD. Irenaeus (AD 180) stated that Matthew wrote his Gospel “while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome” (Against Heresies 3.1.1; cf. Church History 5.8.2). This would place the writing of his gospel around the mid-sixties AD (AD 61-68?).

Date of Mark

Due to the evidence listed above for the date of Acts (~AD 62) and Markan Priority, we would date Mark in the late 40s or early 50s AD. In addition to that evidence, Papias (AD 130) states that “Mark became Peter’s interpreter, [and] he wrote down accurately, although not in order, all that he remembered of what was said or done by the Lord” (Church History 3.39.15). If Nero executed Peter in AD 67, then Mark’s gospel would pre-date this time. While Irenaeus (AD 180) states that Mark “handed down” his gospel after the martyrdom of Peter (Against Heresies, 3.1.2; cf. Church History 5.8.3), this could simply mean that Mark widely disseminated his gospel after their deaths.

Date of Luke

Again, based on the evidence listed above for the date of Acts (~AD 62), we would date Luke in the mid to late 50s AD. In addition, several sources state that Luke wrote under Paul’s supervision (Muratorian Fragment, Irenaeus Against Heresies 3.1.1; Origen Church History 6.25.4). Since Paul died under Nero in AD 67, this would place the writing of Luke before this time.

Date of John

This leaves us with John. This gospel is quite difficult to date. D.A. Carson holds to a tentative date of AD 80 to 85—though he states that any date from AD 55 to 95 is possible.[37] Likewise, J. Ramsey Michaels dates the gospel to the second half of the first century (AD 50-100), though he leans toward a date after AD 70.[38] Following the work of J.A.T. Robinson, Leon Morris dates the gospel of John before AD 70—perhaps as early as the AD 50’s or 60’s.[39] We aren’t exactly sure when to date John, but as you can see, we are in good company!

Further Reading

John Wenham, Redating Matthew, Mark, and Luke (InterVarsity Press, 1992).

Colin J. Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2001).

John A.T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976).

[1] Mark D. Roberts, Can We Trust the Gospels? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), p.58.

[2] A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1963), pp. 188-91.

[3] A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1963), pp. 189.

[4] Older scholars dated John very late: O. Holtzman and A. Julicher (AD 100-125), T. Keim and P. W. Schmiedel (AD 130-140), G. Volkmar and E. Schwartz (AD 140-155), and F. C. Bauer and Bruno Bauer (AD 160-170). See James Moffatt, An Introduction to the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1918), 580-581.

[5] Manuscripts that begin with a “P” refer to papyrus manuscripts, and the raised number denotes the order in which they were discovered. Therefore, P52 would refer to the 52nd papyrus manuscript. Furthermore, papyrus paper is made from reeds that grow along the Nile River in Egypt. This is, incidentally, why so many of our earliest manuscripts come from Egypt.

[6] In the 1930s, C.H. Roberts discovered this fragment in a papyri collection at the John Rylands Library in England, where archaeologists had transported it from Egypt. Paleographers (paleo meaning “old” and graphe meaning “writing”) have dated this fragment to ~AD 125. Bart Ehrman & Daniel Wallace in Dialogue (Robert B. Stewart ed.), The Reliability of the New Testament (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2011), pp.18-19.

[7] The Didache was edited and redacted considerably. However, Kurt Niederwimmer writes that the material dates “most likely toward the end of the [first] century.” Kurt Niederwimmer, The Didache: A Commentary: Hermeneia Commentary (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1998), p.52.

Clayton Jefford dates the material in the Didache anywhere from AD 80-110. Clayton Jefford, Reading the Apostolic Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), p.29.

[8] Niederwimmer states that it is “clear… that the text of the prayer as we now have it agrees strongly with the one handed on by Matthew.” However, he rejects the idea that the Didachist was quoting from Matthew’s Gospel. Instead, he asserts that they both had a “common liturgical tradition.” Kurt Niederwimmer, The Didache: A Commentary: Hermeneia Commentary (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1998), p.136.

[9] Jefford dates the letter anywhere from AD 65-110, though he slightly favors AD 81-96 (under Emperor Domitian). Clayton Jefford, Reading the Apostolic Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), p.109.

[10] Scholars date the letter anywhere from AD 70 to 135—though “most scholars” date it closer to AD 100. Clayton Jefford, Reading the Apostolic Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), p.1.

[11] Michael Kruger, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Wheaton, IL. Crossway, 2012), p.219.

[12] Eusebius places the death of Ignatius during the reign of Emperor Trajan (AD 98-117; Ecclesiastical History, 3.33-36), specifically AD 108. Since he wrote en route to Rome to face death, these letters can be dated sometime shortly before then.

[13] Clayton Jefford, Reading the Apostolic Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), p.77.

[14] Ehrman dates Mark around 70, Matthew and Luke around 85, and John around 95 AD. Bart Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (New York: HarperOne, 2009), p.145.

[15] Richard Longenecker, The Acts of the Apostles: Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), p.238.

[16] Paul arrived in Rome in AD 60, because the procurators switch from Felix to Festus (Acts 25:1, 13-14), and we know that Paul was there for two years later.

[17] Colin J. Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2001) 101.

[18] Josephus, Jewish War, 6.5.271-73; 6.9.420; 7.5.118; 7.5.138; 7.5.154.

[19] Josephus, Jewish War, 6.3.201-213.

[20] Tacitus, Annals, 15.44.

[21] See 1 Clement 5:4-5; Tertullian, Against Heretics, 36; cf. Church History, 2:25.5; Caius & Dionysius of Corinth, 2:25.8. Origen (AD 250) is where we first read about the dubious account that Peter was crucified upside down: “Having come to Rome, [Peter] was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way” Origen’s third volume of his Commentary on Genesis, cited in Eusebius, Church History, 3.1.2. Later traditions repeat this claim, but this is its origination.

[22] See 1 Clement 5:4-5; Tertullian, Church History, 2:25.5; Caius & Dionysius of Corinth, 2:25.8. Origen, third volume of his Commentary on Genesis, cited in Eusebius, Church History, 3.1.2.

[23] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 20:197-203.

[24] Clement of Alexandria and Hegesippus in Eusebius, Church History, 2.23.

[25] Robert H. Stein, The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1994), p.48.

[26] John Wenham, Redating Matthew, Mark, and Luke (InterVarsity Press, 1992).

[27] James G. Crossley, The Date of Mark’s Gospel: Insight from the Law in Earliest Christianity (T & T Clark, 2004).

[28] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament. Second ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 419.

[29] Hans Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians: a commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975), 2.

[30] See for example, Hans Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians: a commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975), 13.

Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians: an introduction and commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 35.

  1. Harold Mare, 1 Corinthians: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans through Galatians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), 177.

[31] Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians: an introduction and commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 35.

Craig Blomberg, From Pentecost to Patmos: an Introduction to Acts through Revelation (Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2006), 164.

  1. Harold Mare, 1 Corinthians: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans through Galatians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), 180.

[32] Mark Taylor, 1 Corinthians: NAC (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2014), p.271.

See Fee’s discussion in Gordon Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987), pp.545-547.

[33] Donald Guthrie, Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), p.119.

[34] P.H. Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006), p.366.

[35] See the Muratorian Fragment (AD 170); Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.1.1; Origen, Church History 6.25.4.

[36] Robinson also argues that this is stock language for a parable—not a strict prediction at all. John A.T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976), pp.20-21.

[37] D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), p.82, 85.

[38] J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), p.38.

[39] Leon Morris, The Gospel according to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995), pp.29-30.