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When Was Jesus Born?

I am a fellow Christian who believes that God alone is the source of all things good (James 1:17).


We don't know the exact date of Jesus' birth

Although it is estimated to be around 4-6 BC, the Bible does not mention the date of Jesus' birth. Historical records aren't complete enough to give us a solid answer, either. Let's look at what we do know about when Jesus was born.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on the 25th of December. The word 'Christmas' comes from the words 'Christ' and 'Mas'. The term 'Mas' refers to celebration. Christmas, therefore, is the day we celebrate Christ's birth.

The difference between BC and AD

I will be using the terms BC and AD. BC stands for 'before Christ'. AD stands for Anno Domini. Anno Domini is a Latin expression that means 'The year of our LORD' or the year that Jesus was born. The use of AD was only popularized in the 9th century (900 AD). BC (before Christ) was used even later than that. According to this measurement, Jesus was born on 1 AD. The year before that is regarded as 1 BC. The greater the number in BC, the further back in time we go.

Birth of Jesus linked to the rule of Herod the Great

Herod died in 4 BC. Some believe, though, that he died in 1 BC. Jesus could have been up to 2 years old when the Magi from the east came to visit Jesus. This is why Herod called for the murder of all boys from the ages of 2 years and below. This was in accordance with what the magi told him.


Time of when Jesus was born linked to a national census

Historians place the Census of Quirinius between AD 6 and AD 7 (10 years later). Many historians regard the Biblical linking of this census to be incoherent to the estimated time of Jesus' birth in 6-4 BC. (Herod died around 4 BC - by this time Jesus had already been born).

Others say that many censuses were taken at around the same time under the Roman Empire. This, in view of some historians, maintains the coherency of Luke's account. They say that this census could be one taken before Quirinius governed Syria.

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Calculating Jesus' birth by dating the beginning of His ministry

Historians are able to estimate that the time mentioned in the above scriptures is around 28-29 AD. If you minus the 30 years of age, you reach the 1 BC mark.

Take note that the above verses say that Jesus was about 30 years old. If he was 32-34, the birth date would be 4-6 BC. This would fit in with the reign of Herod (who died at 4 BC). This is important, since Jesus would have already been born when Herod ordered the massacre of children under the age of 2 in and around Bethlehem.

Another interesting argument is that Herod's death was later than what is originally thought. Some say that he only dies as late as 1 BC to 1 AD.


The 46th year of the construction of the temple

Historians can ascertain that the 46th year of the construction of the temple was about 27-29 AD.

This supports the above hypothesis that connects when John started his ministry and the age of Jesus to determine His birth date.

This verse therefore supports that fact that Jesus was born around 4-6 BC.

We are instructed to remember Christ's death above His birth

You would think that the Bible would give us a clear indication of when Jesus was born! We are clearly instructed to remember the death of our Savior until He returns. In comparison, His birth is not as important.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please share your ideas, comments, queries and feedback in the comments below.

Share your thoughts

Reformed Eve from USA on November 30, 2019:

I really enjoyed this article. Thank you for sharing it. Even though many people are against Christmas as the day of Jesus being born, it's great that people take a day to remember his birth, even in the middle of all the commercialism.

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