Finally: a simple timeline of Acts [infographic]

Confession: I’ve always struggled with the timeline of Acts.timeline-of-Acts

It’s all the moving around. Most Bible narratives take place in one corner of the Near East. But in Acts, several major characters loop-de-loop their way around the Roman empire.

The first few times I read Acts, all the new city and province names just blurred together in my mind, and that made it even harder to follow the story.

But a big-picture framework makes it easier to deal with the details. So here’s a timeline of Acts with the main things we need to know:

  • Who the major characters/locations are
  • Where their stories overlap
  • The major events that drive those stories

This is NOT an in-depth look at all the towns and ports Paul visited. You can find that in the back of pretty much any Bible. This is just about getting the gist of the story and seeing how the characters interact. ;-)

Here you go: a timeline of Acts


[Click the image to enlarge]

More info about this timeline of Acts

It’s easy to follow Moses across the wilderness. It’s tougher to keep track of several major characters as they walk and sail and teleport (Ac 8:39–40) their way around the Roman empire.

Then I remembered how Randall Munroe at xkcd visualized movie narratives. If a system can work for a story like The Lord of the Rings, it’s  probably up for the task of Acts.

This doesn’t cover every character. You’ll notice that John doesn’t have a line, nor the faithful Luke, nor the prophet Agabus. Here’s why:

  • Some important characters don’t drive the overall story. For example, the apostle John was considered a pillar in the early church, but his activity in Acts is always tied to Peter.
  • At a certain point, the timeline would get cluttered. This isn’t an in-depth survey of Acts: it’s just enough to help you see what’s going on throughout the book.
  • Some characters aren’t that important to the story, but are included anyway (like Timothy and Philip). I threw them in as a way to give more context to the other characters, particularly Paul.

This isn’t to scale. Luke hits the high points of the early church’s spread, which means there are often many years between one sentence and the next. This timeline would be way too long if everything were scaled.

So enjoy!

And if there are any other narratives you’d like visualized, let me know in the comments. I already have a request for one of these on Passion Week, but there are a few others that would probably be handy.

I write Bible-study material like this all the time, and I’d love to keep you in the loop. How about joining my email newsletter so I can send these goodies straight to your inbox?


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  • Paula

    Thanks for the great timeline and the hard work. I’m a very visual person so this helped me to see in a different way how the ministries of various people in Acts overlapped.

    • Jeffrey Kranz

      Of course. And thanks for the kind words, Paula!

  • Yes, finally! Very cool and very helpful.

    • Jeffrey Kranz

      Thanks, Lynn!

  • kerry horne

    Much appreciation for the hard work!

    • Jeffrey Kranz

      Of course! Hope you enjoy.

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  • Micah

    Hey I read a really good book that puts the New Testament in chronological order with background info called “The Untold Story of the New Testament Church” By Frank Viola. You should give him a shout and see if he could help throw in dates and stuff and maybe even bring in some of Paul’s lists of sufferings. Or just put the books on the timeline somehow with best guesses. That’d be neat.

    • Jeffrey Kranz

      Thanks, Micah. I’d like to circle back around to this sometime to add dates, letters written, and the like.

  • Earlene

    HI, I stumbled across your blog on a pintrest page. I’m hooked!! I really do like your infographics. Is there a downloadable version of the Acts timeline? Sometimes it’s difficult to be near a computer when studying the Book of Acts for reference with the graphic. Any help is appreciate

  • Michael Deisem

    Just stumbled across your work this evening, Just wanted to say thank you and I think you rock. I’m a visual learner and your infographics are great. How would you suggest someone integrate them with Logos 6? You probably get asked this all the time. Just wanted to say thank you for offering your talents and wisdom to others. God bless and keep you and yours.Mike

  • Dave

    Nice chart. Note: do you have the right reference for Paul’s conversion? You have 7:54-8:3 on the chart.