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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.)BookWriter(s)Notes





MosesHeb. 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.
1406DeuteronomyMoses, Joshua (?)See Deu. 1:1. Chapter 34 was likely written by someone other than Moses; style and vocabulary makes Joshua most likely.
1370JoshuaJoshua, 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.
1085-971JudgesUnknownJewish tradition attributes the book to Samuel. Style and vocabulary suggest it was written in the Davidic period.
1085-971RuthUnknownJewish tradition attributes the book to Samuel. Style and vocabulary is similar to Judges, thus suggesting it was written in the Davidic period.
1030-931SamuelSamuel, Nathan, GadThe writers of the book are traditionally identified using 1Ch. 29:29.
1030-931JobUnknownThe 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.
971-686ProverbsSolomon, Agur, LemuelSee 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 940EcclesiastesSolomonCompare. Ecc. 1:1 and autobiographical information in Ecc. 1:1 – 2:9.
around 940Song of SongsSolomonSee Son. 1:1.
800-700JoelJoelSee Joe. 1:1. There is not enough clear information in the book to determine an exact date.
792-752AmosAmosSee Amo. 1:1
782-722HoseaHoseaSee Hos. 1:1
745-630JonahJonah (?)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.
739-686IsaiahIsaiahSee Isa. 1:1.
733-701MicahMicahSee Mic. 1:1
663-626NahumNahumSee Nah. 1:1. The year that best aligns with the description of Assyria in the book is 645 B.C. (P.A. Verhoef).
636-627ZephaniahZephaniahSee Zep. 1:1
627-574KingsJeremiah, EzraJeremiah 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.
626-590HabakkukHabakkukSee Hab. 1:1. The exact date of the book cannot be clearly determined from its content.
605-580JeremiahJeremiah, BaruchSee 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.
597-573EzekielEzekielSee 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).
586LamentationsJeremiahThe Septuagint (first century B.C.) cites Jeremiah as the author.
586ObadiahObadiahSee 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.
550-530DanielDaniel, NebuchadnezzarThe 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).
520HaggaiHaggaiSee Hag. 1:1; compare Ezr. 5:1. For dating see Hag. 1:1,15; 2:1
520-480ZechariahZechariahSee 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 (?)MalachiMalachiSee 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.
474-450EstherUnknownMordechai is suggested to be the author.
450-400ChroniclesEzraChronicles 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.
440EzraEzraSee 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).
430NehemiahNehemiahSee Neh. 1:1


New Testament

Date (A.D.)BookWriter(s)Notes
45-50JamesJames, son of JosephSee Jas. 1:1. James is assumed to be the son of Mary and Joseph, thus the half-brother of Jesus Christ
48-52GalatiansPaulSee 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.
501 ThessaloniansPaul, TimothySee 1Th. 1:1. Written in Corinth.
502 ThessaloniansPaul, TimothySe 2Th. 1:1. Written in Corinth.
551 CorinthiansPaulSee 1Co. 1:1. Written in Ephesus.
562 CorinthiansPaulSee 2Co. 1:1. Written while in Macedonia.
57RomansPaulSee Rom. 1:1. Most likely written while Paul was in Corinth.
58-60EphesiansPaulSee Eph. 1:1. Either written in Caesarea or Rome. Most likely written at the same time as Colossians and Philemon.
58-60PhilemonPaul, TimothySee Phm 1:1-2. Either written in Caesarea or Rome. Most likely written at the same time as Ephesians and Colossians.
58-60ColossiansPaul, TimoteosSee Col. 1:1-2. Either written in Caesarea or Rome. Most likely written at the same time as Ephesians and Philemon.
60-65JudeJude, son of JosephSee 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).
60-66MatthewMatthew LeviSynoptic Gospel. The early church gave this Gospel primacy. Matthew is attributed as author by the church fathers.
61-64LukeLukeSynoptic 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.
61PhilippiansPaul, TimothySee Php. 1:1. Written in Rome
62-641 PeterSimon Peter, SilasSee 1Pe. 1:1. Written in Rome. According to 1Pe. 5:12 Peter uses Silas (“Silvanus”, see Ac. 15:40) as his scribe.
63-64ActsLukeThis 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.
62-661 TimothyPaulSee 1Ti. 1:1. Written while in Macedonia (see 1Ti. 1:3)
63TitusPaulSee Tit. 1:1. Place of writing is unknown, though Corinth is suggested.
64-67MarkJohn Mark, Simon PeterSynoptic 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.
64-682 PeterSimon PetrusSee 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.
66-70HebrewsUnknownThe author is unknown, though Paul, Barnabas (Ac. 4:36-37; 13:2ff), Apollos (Ac. 18:24-28), and Priscilla (Ac. 18:18) are suggested.
672 TimothyPaulSee 2Ti. 1:1-2. Written in Rome
70-96RevelationJohn son of ZebedeeSee 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.
85-901 JohnJohn son of ZebedeeThe 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.
85-90JohnJohn son of ZebedeeThe 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.
902 JohnJohn son of Zebedee 
903 JohnJohn 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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