Bible Question:

Regarding the study titled

Bible Answer:

The dating of Tiberius Caesar’s reign is open to some debate. Jack Finegan has marvelously sorted through the data, writing some fourteen pages on the subject. He is detailed and precise. He demonstrates that the actual reign of Tiberius was from August 19, A.D. 14 through March 16, A.D. 37.

History tells us that he was co-regent with Augustus Caesar starting earlier in A.D. 11/12. This occurred because Augustus wanted a successor to his throne. Augustus’ first choice of an heir to the throne died before Augustus did. So he adopted his grandson Tiberius Caesar Augustus as a son in A.D. 4 so that he would be the heir to the throne. In A.D. 11/12 he was made co-regent and consequently became the ruler in August 19, A.D. 14 upon Augustus’ death.[1, 2]

According to Roman law, the first year is counted as the year of succession and not as a year in which he would have reigned. This can be confirmed by such Roman historians as Tacitus and Suetonius.[3] Consequently, that would mean his reign is counted from A.D. 15. This impacts the dating of the start of John the Baptist’s ministry as given by Luke in Luke 3:1-2.

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene . . . Luke 3:1 (NASB)

This means that John the Baptist would have started his ministry in A.D. 29. Please note that A.D. 15 plus fifteen years results in A.D. 29. We count A.D. 15 as the first year. The second year is A.D. 16. If we continue the counting the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar would be A.D. 29.


Praise the Lord for wonderful historical information that has been preserved by our God.


1. Jack Finegan. Handbook of Biblical Chronology. Hendrickson. 1964. pp. 331.

2. Chris Scare. Chronicles of the Roman Emperors. Thams and Hudson. 1995. Ibid. pp. 30.

3. Jack Finegan, Ibid. pp. 340.

Reference Links:

The Rescue -Salvation
John The Baptist