Dating Saul of Tarsus

The date of Paul's conversion, as suggested in the "infallible inerrant Bible" indicates he saw the risen Christ before Christ even died. Using Acts and Gal together, the following is arrived:

(1)Paul's conversion (Acts 9:3ff, Gal 1:16)---------31 AD.
(2)1st visit to Jerusalem (Acts 9:26,Gal 1:18). This was 3 years
after conversion (Gal 1:18)-------------------------------34 AD.
(3)2nd visit to Jerusalem (Acts l5:2-4, Gal 2:1-10). 14 years after
lst Jerusalem visit-------------------------------------48 AD.
(4)Paul visits the churches (through Syria and Cilicia to Derbe and
Lystra, through Phrygia and Galatia to Troas and Macedonia, through
Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica (3 weeks-Acts 17:2), to
Beroea, then Athens and onto Corinth (Acts 15:40-18:1).
Say 1 year---------------49 AD.

(NB. This is known as "Paul's second missionary journey").

(5)Paul arrives in Corinth (Acts 18:1); after l.5 years (Acts 18:11) he then appears before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia (Acts 18:12-16) (NB. Paul leaves Corinth in Acts 18:18)---------------Summer 51 AD.

NOTES:- (N1). With regard to (5), an inscription from Delphi includes a letter from the emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) and in this there is a ref to Gallio as proconsul; the date is the 26th acclamation of Claudius and as the 22nd, 23rd and 24th were all made in 52 AD and the 27th was before August 52 AD - the 26th would therefore be in Spring/Summer 52.

The term of office as a proconsul was just one year - beginning in the late Spring or early Summer; therefore as Gallio's time is factually known, the Acts story in chapter 18 can be located in Spring/Summer 51 or 52 - most likely 51. Therefore in dating Paul's life up to Acts 18, it leads up to this specific date as it is absolutely definite. No one disputes this.

(N2)In 18:2, Paul meets two Jews who had been expelled from Rome; this edict of banishment was in 49 AD and supports the date given in (4).

(N3)Taking Acts and Gal as being accurate, yet more problems arise:-

(a)Is the 3 years of Gal 1:18 to be dated from Paul's conversion or his returning to Damascus ? (b)How long did the missionary work in (4) take ? The above includes a year. (c)When does the 14 years in Gal 2:1 begin - his conversion (his starting point in the passage) or the 1st Jerusalem visit mentioned just before ?

Therefore, it appears from the above table that Paul's conversion took place in the year after Christ died and yet much was supposed to have occurred between these events, ie. all that is included in Acts 1:1 - 9:1.

Furthermore the minimum times possible have been allowed in the above so there cannot be any accusation that it has been formulated in a way to presuppose anything, or deliberately cause problems.

For example, in (4) - it would be most unlikely all this travelling could be done in just one year. If it was (say) two years because there is a fixed point (ie. (5).) as 51 AD which is known to be correct and can't be altered, the starting point has to be moved back to fit in the extra year into the schedule and Paul's conversion is then dated as 30 AD. However that would mean Paul was converted by seeing the risen Christ before he even died. The same applies with Gal 1:18 - if the 3 years begins from Paul returning to Damascus and not the conversion, there would have to be time also included for Paul's antics in Arabia (Gal 1:17) and being included in the time before 51 AD would again would push Paul's conversion back to something like 29 AD. In fact some Christians do state Jesus' death was 33 AD and this would mean Paul was converted by seeing the risen Christ (ie. 29 AD) before Christ had even started his three-year ministry (30 AD) let alone had died and risen.

Dating Paul's conversion as 31 AD and Christ's death in 30 AD creates many problems, ie. it is known that the Jewish Passover (8th April - the Jewish 15 Nisan) fell on a Saturday in the year 30 AD; but the Synoptics make it clear that Jesus was crucified on the Passover but the following day was Saturday and they therefore date the Passover as a Friday. The Passover began on Thursday evening (the Jewish day begins the previous evening) and ended Friday evening - ie. Mark 14:l2 to 15:42. In sum, the different narratives cannot be reconciled and appear to be divorced from historical fact.

It should also be mentioned that with regard to working out when Paul was converted, that whilst just 1 year for Paul's 2nd missionary journey was given, others say it was longer, eg. the evangelical New International Version (Bible) in its schedule of Paul's life says it was 2 years (ie. this then makes Paul's conversion 30 AD). Furthermore they date the time between Christ's ascension and Paul's conversion (ie. Acts l:l-9:l) as SEVEN YEARS. If this figure was used above then it would make Paul's conversion remain as 31 AD (this cannot be changed or made later), but Christ's death/ascension would be 7 years earlier, ie. in 23 AD. However, this cannot be so as Luke (3:1) states that Christ's ministry began in the fifteenth year of Tiberius and as there is no doubt about the time of his rule, the l5th year is definitely 28-29 AD.

Therefore using the information that the Bible itself supplies, the accounts given of Christ's death and/or Paul's conversion, etc, are shown to be ficticious. Furthermore one question that must be asked is why the New Test writers appear to have this amazing difficulty in locating Jesus in achronological setting if he really existed ?