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chronology, landmark dates & events

How old was Jesus when he was “about thirty?”

Luke tells us that Jesus was “about thirty” years old when he began his ministry (Luke 3:23). The question is, just how close to thirty was he, really?

We know that Herod the Great died in 4 B.C, and that there is a possibility that Jesus was born as much as two years before Herod’s death. That puts Jesus’ birth anywhere from 7-5 B.C. (right now I lean toward 6 or 7, myself).

Furthermore, having established the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry in A.D. 28-during the fifteenth year of Tiberius’ reign-we also know that Jesus’ own ministry began probably six months or so after his cousin’s, which winds us up somewhere in the course of the following year, early 29. 

So, depending on when exactly you figure his birth, that would make Jesus anywhere between thirty-three and thirty-five years old when he laid down his carpentry tools to begin life on the road. Or, as Luke would say, “about thirty.” 🙂


About Joshua

Writer, husband, father, friend.


4 thoughts on “How old was Jesus when he was “about thirty?”

  1. someone told me once that a Rabbi could not begin his ministry until he was thirty……a thought….

    Posted by Alan Rees | January 27, 2012, 4:46 pm
  2. I’ve heard similar things, Alan. I’m sure there’s a reference somewhere in the Old Testament to the beginning of priesthood being around that age, too.

    Posted by Josh | January 27, 2012, 5:35 pm
  3. Hi Josh, this is not quite on the same topic, but when I read Ken Symington’s article again about when Jesus was crucified, I thought you might be interested.

    Posted by Hannah | March 25, 2012, 2:39 pm

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