Bible Question:

I have been researching theological articles and keep coming across the abbreviations C.E. and B.C.E. I understand they represent a time after the death of Jesus, but would like to know more detail.

Bible Answer:

The expression B.C. is the abbreviation for “Before Christ.” The abbreviation “A.D.” corresponds to “anno Domini” which in Latin means “in the year of Our Lord.” This chronological system was adopted in AD 525 by the monk Dionysius Exiguus of Scythia Minor. He designated the regular Roman year of A.U.C. 753 or 1 B.C. as the year in which Christ was born. December 25, 1 B.C. was considered to be the day of Jesus’ birth. Then Dionysius designated the next year which began six days later as the beginning of the era A.D. Thus January 1, A.D.1 replaced January 1,  A.U.C 754 in the regular Roman year.[1]

The only disadvantage with this system is that there is no zero year since 1 B.C. is immediately followed by A.D. 1. Therefore, any calendar computations must account for this oddity.

1 BC to AD 1

The abbreviation B.C.E. means “Before the Common Era” and C.E. means “Common Era.” These new abbreviations evolved from the phrase Vulgar Era which appeared in a book published by Johannes Kepler in 1615, but that does not explain why these abbreviations have essentially replaced B.C. and A.D. in modern times. It should be noted Vulgar Era meant “Common Era” when Kepler wrote. The truth is these two abbreviations are being used by secularists or anti-Christians to replace the historic use of B.C and A.D.

The dates of historical events are unchanged with B.C.E and C.E. That is, the year 444 B.C. is also 444 B.C.E. and the year A.D. 33 is also C.E. 33.


There is a strong move in the United States and in our world to eliminate Christianity from public discourse and public life. Christ warned in Matthew 24:9 that Christians would eventually be hated and persecuted.

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. Matthew 24:9 (NASB)

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.



1.  Jack Finegan. Handbook of Biblical Chronology. hendrickson Publishers.1998. p. 114.

Suggested Links:

Was Jesus born on December 25?