Required Bible reference that Jesus preached for three and a half years.

  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question because it is a verse search question.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 6:58
  • 2
    Probably worth mentioning that even though 3 1/2 years is generally accepted, it's not theologically significant. In other words if it turned out to be four years, or even more, it wouldn't make any difference to the Christian message. Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 13:43
  • I'd say if it is a verse search question, then the question itself wouldn't arise. Irenaeus IIRC believed Jesus lived into His fifties.
    – SLM
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 14:19
  • Also, it is a theological question as it relates to Daniel's 7 years of 70 prophecy. Keep open the question +1
    – SLM
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 15:49

3 Answers 3


I agree that this is a tricky question and the answer depends on the tradition to which the answerer belongs. Here is a simple, yet plausible scheme that not everyone will agree.

In the Gospel of John, who appears to be quite careful about his time elements, we have a series of Jewish feasts mentioned. The most significant of these feasts for chronological purposes is the Passover feast which occurred about March/April in our modern calendar.

  • John 2:13, 23 - Passover feast a few months after Jesus' baptism
  • John 5:1 - unnamed feast but probably the Passover.
  • John 6:4 - Passover feast
  • John 7:2 - feast of booth (or tabernacles) 6 months after feast of Passover
  • John 10:22 - feast of dedication - a few months later
  • John 12:1 - Passover feast when Jesus was crucified

By this simple account Jesus ministry began several months before His first Passover during the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1) and ended at His crucifixion about 3½ years later.


In support of what Mac's Musings has already submitted, I found an article that I have quoted below in full (with permission).

According to Luke 3:1, John the Baptist began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign. Tiberius was appointed as co-regent with Augustus in AD 11, and 15 years later would be AD 26. Jesus began His ministry shortly thereafter at approximately the age of thirty (Luke 3:23). This gives us a basis upon which we can approximate what year Jesus began His public ministry: around AD 26. As for the end of His ministry, we know that it culminated with His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

According to John’s Gospel, Jesus attended at least three annual Feasts of Passover through the course of His ministry: one in John 2:13, another in 6:4, and then the Passover of His crucifixion in 11:55–57. Just based on that information, Jesus’ ministry lasted 2 years, at the very least.

Because of the amount of things that Jesus accomplished and the places He traveled during His ministry, many scholars believe there was another Passover, not mentioned in the Gospels, which fell between the Passovers of John 2 and John 6. This would lengthen Jesus’ ministry to at least 3 years.

We can add more time because of all that took place before the first Passover of Jesus’ ministry in John 2. By the time of that first Passover (in the spring of 27), Jesus had already traveled from the area of the Jordan to Cana to Capernaum to Jerusalem. He had been baptized by John (Matthew 3:13–17), been tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–2), began His preaching ministry (Matthew 4:17), called His first disciples (John 1:35–51), performed His first miracle (John 2:1–11), and made a trip to Capernaum with His family (John 2:12). All this would have taken several months, at least.

Add to that the 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension (Acts 1:3), and we have a total length of Jesus’ earthly ministry. From His baptism to His ascension, the late summer of 26 to the spring of 30, we have approximately 3½ years.

Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/length-Jesus-ministry.html

I hope this helps to answer your question.

  • That FWIW corresponds to my chronology. As such, it means Christ was born 5 BCE at Tabernacles. He'd be 30 in in year 26. John 2:13 is the year CE 27 at which is Christ's first Passover mention and John 2:20 in which Herod's temple is 46 years old (start 20 BCE). John 5:1 is year 1 1/2. John 6:4 is year 2 1/2. John 13:1 is year 3 1/2. Christ's ministry was thus 3 1/2 years ending in CE 30..
    – SLM
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 21:54
  • Yes the answer you have share is too help full ... Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 6:25

I believe that it is theologically significant to note the three and half year ministry of our Lord.As we know that the 70th week of Daniel comprises a 7 year period. Many say that the tribulation period is a 7 year term but the bible clearly says that it is for three and a half year. So we add the first half of the week which is Jesus's ministry and the second half of the week which is the tribulation period and that fulfils the 70th week of Daniel and concludes the prophecy.

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    – agarza
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 14:07

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