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When the Books of the Bible Were Written

Two Tables

J.M. Diener

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The information in these tables is based on The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (ed. Frank E. Gaebelin; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1981; 12 Vols.). The Old Testament dates assume the early Exodus date of 1446 for the pre-monarchic period. The dates for the period of the monarchy and following are based on the chronology worked out by Edwin Thiele. The New Testament dates assume the completion of the canon at the end of the first century A.D. and Matthean primacy for the authorship of the Gospels. Download and print the 3-page PDF file* and keep a copy of it in the front of your Bible for easy reference or bookmark this page for quick access.

Old Testament

Date (B.C.) Book Writer(s) Notes





Moses Heb. Torah: instruction or Gk: Pentateuch: five books. Traditionally attributed to Moses. Other OT books (Josh. 1:7; 8:31; 1Ki. 2:3; 2Ki. 14:6; Ezr. 6:18; Neh. 13:1; Mal. 4:4), Jesus Christ (Mk. 7:10; 12:6; Jn. 5:46) and NT authors (Lk. 2:22; Ac. 3:22; Rom. 10:5) support this view.
1406 Deuteronomy Moses, Joshua (?) See Deu. 1:1. Chapter 34 was likely written by someone other than Moses; style and vocabulary makes Joshua most likely.
1370 Joshua Joshua, Phineas (?) See Jos. 8:32; 24:26. Commentators think that the final verses of the book were written by another person, likely the high priest Phineas.
1085-971 Judges Unknown Jewish tradition attributes the book to Samuel. Style and vocabulary suggest it was written in the Davidic period.
1085-971 Ruth Unknown Jewish tradition attributes the book to Samuel. Style and vocabulary is similar to Judges, thus suggesting it was written in the Davidic period.
1030-931 Samuel Samuel, Nathan, Gad The writers of the book are traditionally identified using 1Ch. 29:29.
1030-931 Job Unknown The poetic parts of the book are very ancient (2 millennium B.C.), but the introduction (Job 1-2) and conclusion (Job 42:7-17) are written in the language and vocabulary of the Davidic or Solomonic era, suggesting the poetry was edited and completed during that time.
971-686 Proverbs Solomon, Agur, Lemuel See Pr. 1:1; 30:1; 31:1. While most of the proverbs come from Solomon’s pen, the final form of the book was produced by editors during Hezekiah’s reign (see. Pr. 25:1).
around 940 Ecclesiastes Solomon Compare. Ecc. 1:1 and autobiographical information in Ecc. 1:1 – 2:9.
around 940 Song of Songs Solomon See Son. 1:1.
800-700 Joel Joel See Joe. 1:1. There is not enough clear information in the book to determine an exact date.
792-752 Amos Amos See Amo. 1:1
782-722 Hosea Hosea See Hos. 1:1
745-630 Jonah Jonah (?) While Jonah lived the events in the book and likely passed them on, the third-person form of the book and the past tense in Jnh. 3:3 suggest that it was written after the fall of Niniveh in 631 B.C.
739-686 Isaiah Isaiah See Isa. 1:1.
733-701 Micah Micah See Mic. 1:1
663-626 Nahum Nahum See Nah. 1:1. The year that best aligns with the description of Assyria in the book is 645 B.C. (P.A. Verhoef).
636-627 Zephaniah Zephaniah See Zep. 1:1
627-574 Kings Jeremiah, Ezra Jeremiah is suggested as the author, because the style of Kings is similar to the style in Jeremiah. The style of the passage in 2Ki. 25:27-30 is very similar to Ezra and Chronicles, so Ezra is accepted as the author.
626-590 Habakkuk Habakkuk See Hab. 1:1. The exact date of the book cannot be clearly determined from its content.
605-580 Jeremiah Jeremiah, Baruch See Jer 1:1. Baruch was Jeremiah’s scribe (see. Jer. 36:4; 45:1). According to Jer. 36:1, Jeremiah began writing his book in 605 B.C.
597-573 Ezekiel Ezekiel See Eze. 1:3 and first-person accounts in the book. Ezekiel was very careful in dating his visions (e.g. Eze. 1:1; 8:1; 20:1; 24:1; 29:17).
586 Lamentations Jeremiah The Septuagint (first century B.C.) cites Jeremiah as the author.
586 Obadiah Obadiah See Oba. 1:1. The date of Obadiah is very unclear. Some commentators place it in the 8th century B.C. However, the content of the book fits better with the date cited.
550-530 Daniel Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar The second half of the book (Dan. 8:1; 9:2) was clearly written by Daniel, therefore the first half is attributed to him. The fourth chapter is a missive written by Nebuchadnezzar (see Dan 4:1).
520 Haggai Haggai See Hag. 1:1; compare Ezr. 5:1. For dating see Hag. 1:1,15; 2:1
520-480 Zechariah Zechariah See Zec. 1:1; compare Ezr. 5:1. Zechariah dates many of his visions (e.g. Zec.. 1:1,7; 6:9;7:1)
515-415 (?) Malachi Malachi See Mal. 1:1. The author’s identity is disputed, because the name “Malachi” means “my messenger”. Some think Ezra, Zechariah, or Mordechai might have written it. It is clear that the book is post-Exilic.
474-450 Esther Unknown Mordechai is suggested to be the author.
450-400 Chronicles Ezra Chronicles is clearly the work of one author. Ezra is accepted both due to Jewish tradition and the style of Chronicles being very similar to that of the book of Ezra.
440 Ezra Ezra See first-person expressions in Ezr. 8ff.
440-400 (?) Psalms

David, Sons of Korah,

Asaph, Solomon, Henan the Ezrahite, Ethan the Ezrahite, Moses, and many other anonymous authors


The Psalms are a compilation. It is unclear when the compilation was completed. The oldest Psalm (Ps. 90) is attributed to Moses, which would have to be written before 1406 B.C. David began writing in the 1030s. The other Psalms would have been written in the following centuries. The final form of the book was completed sometime after the return from the Exile to Babylon and before the ministry of John the Baptist, though most likely before the 400 years of silence. Jesus cites it as one of the major parts of the Bible (see Lk. 24:44).
430 Nehemiah Nehemiah See Neh. 1:1


New Testament

Date (A.D.) Book Writer(s) Notes
45-50 James James, son of Joseph See Jas. 1:1. James is assumed to be the son of Mary and Joseph, thus the half-brother of Jesus Christ
48-52 Galatians Paul See Gal. 1:1-2. The early date assumes the addressees were the south Galatian churches Iconium, Lystra, Derbe and Antioch. The late date assumes the addressees are unnamed north Galatian churches Paul founded during his second journey.
50 1 Thessalonians Paul, Timothy See 1Th. 1:1. Written in Corinth.
50 2 Thessalonians Paul, Timothy Se 2Th. 1:1. Written in Corinth.
55 1 Corinthians Paul See 1Co. 1:1. Written in Ephesus.
56 2 Corinthians Paul See 2Co. 1:1. Written while in Macedonia.
57 Romans Paul See Rom. 1:1. Most likely written while Paul was in Corinth.
58-60 Ephesians Paul See Eph. 1:1. Either written in Caesarea or Rome. Most likely written at the same time as Colossians and Philemon.
58-60 Philemon Paul, Timothy See Phm 1:1-2. Either written in Caesarea or Rome. Most likely written at the same time as Ephesians and Colossians.
58-60 Colossians Paul, Timoteos See Col. 1:1-2. Either written in Caesarea or Rome. Most likely written at the same time as Ephesians and Philemon.
60-65 Jude Jude, son of Joseph See Jude 1:1. The author calls himself “the brother of James”. The general view is that this James is the same who wrote the letter of James. The church fathers write that Jude is a half-brother of Jesus (a son of Mary and Joseph).
60-66 Matthew Matthew Levi Synoptic Gospel. The early church gave this Gospel primacy. Matthew is attributed as author by the church fathers.
61-64 Luke Luke Synoptic Gospel. Luke is attributed as author by the church fathers. Luke was Paul’s companion (see Ac. 16:10; 20:5; 21:1; 27:1; Col. 4:14; Phm. 1:24; 2Ti. 4:11). This is supported by Gospel of Luke and Acts having the same writing style and the first-person accounts in Acts. Luke states that Acts is his second book (Ac. 1:1-2), thus the Gospel must have been written first.
61 Philippians Paul, Timothy See Php. 1:1. Written in Rome
62-64 1 Peter Simon Peter, Silas See 1Pe. 1:1. Written in Rome. According to 1Pe. 5:12 Peter uses Silas (“Silvanus”, see Ac. 15:40) as his scribe.
63-64 Acts Luke This book is the continuation of the Gospel of Luke according to Ac. 1:1-2. Some commentators think that this was written in Paul’s defense for his trial before Caesar.
62-66 1 Timothy Paul See 1Ti. 1:1. Written while in Macedonia (see 1Ti. 1:3)
63 Titus Paul See Tit. 1:1. Place of writing is unknown, though Corinth is suggested.
64-67 Mark John Mark, Simon Peter Synoptic Gospel. John Mark is mentioned as Paul’s companion in Ac 12:12; 13:15,13; 15:37-39. The church fathers state that Mark wrote down what he heard from Simon Peter, thus requiring the Gospel to have been completed before Peter’s martyrdom at the hands of Nero.
64-68 2 Peter Simon Petrus See 2Pe. 1:1. Authorship is disputed because it was added to the canon at a very late date. The given dates assume Peter’s authorship.
66-70 Hebrews Unknown The author is unknown, though Paul, Barnabas (Ac. 4:36-37; 13:2ff), Apollos (Ac. 18:24-28), and Priscilla (Ac. 18:18) are suggested.
67 2 Timothy Paul See 2Ti. 1:1-2. Written in Rome
70-96 Revelation John son of Zebedee See Rev. 1:1,2,4-6. The earliest writings of the church fathers paired with the internal evidence of the book support the authorship of John.
85-90 1 John John son of Zebedee The letters attributed to John do not name an author. The testimony of the church fathers and the similarity of the language to John’s Gospel support the authorship claim.
85-90 John John son of Zebedee The church fathers state that Jesus’ disciple John son of Zebedee wrote the fourth Gospel. This is supported by the content of the Gospel itself. Some commentators think it was written in the A.D. 60s or 70s.
90 2 John John son of Zebedee  
90 3 John John son of Zebedee  



Gaebelin, Frank E., ed. The Expositor's Bible Commentary. 12 vols. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1981.

Merrill, Eugene H. Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1996.

Thiele, Edwin R. The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1994.

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How to cite this document (MLA):

Diener, J.M. “When the Books of the Bible Were Written”. J.M. Diener’s Writings. 2021. <>. Accessed: Today’s date.

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