How Was Time Measured in the Bible?

Written by Dianna Wiebe on .

Have you ever wondered how our current calendar came into existence? Have you read the Bible and found the months different from the calendar hanging on your wall? Join me as we walk back in time to discover how time was measured in the Bible.

How Days are Measured in the Bible?

First, in Genesis 1:2, God established the definition of a day, beginning at sunset and going to the next sunset. The only day named in the Bible is the Sabbath. All other days of the week are named in relation to the Sabbath. God blessed the Sabbath day and set it aside as a holy day for His people.

  • First Day after Sabbath = Sunday
  • Second Day after Sabbath = Monday
  • Third Day after Sabbath = Tuesday
  • Fourth Day after Sabbath = Wednesday
  • Fifth Day after Sabbath = Thursday
  • Sixth Day after Sabbath = Friday

How Weeks are Measured in the Bible?

Next, by Genesis 2:2, the week is defined as containing seven days. Exodus 20:11 confirms the weekly schedule for God’s people: six days for work and one day to rest and remember.

How Months are Measured in the Bible?

Like days, biblical months are numbered with an occasional mention of a name. When God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, He reset their calendar to begin in the springtime (Exodus 12:2). In order to keep the calendar aligned with the proper season, 7 times in every 19 years, a month is added to the calendar. The month of Adar in leap years covers two months, Adar 1 and Adar 2, and in normal years there is just one month of Adar.

How Months were Named in the Bible?

The final names for the twelve months on the biblical calendar came from Babylonian names acquired during the Babylonian captivity of the children of Israel. In the chart mentioned below, the Gregorian calendar months are listed on top with the biblical months listed beneath.

  • January = Tevet and Shevat
  • February = Shevat and Adar
  • March = Adar and Nisan
  • April = Nisan and Iyar
  • May = Iyar and Sivan
  • June = Sivan and Tammuz
  • July = Tammuz and Av
  • August = Av and Elul
  • September = Elul and Tishrei
  • October = Tishrei and Cheshvan
  • November = Cheshvan and Kislev
  • December = Kislev and Tevet

How Years are Measured in the Bible

Finally, years are not numbered in the Bible. Years are listed with regard to the ages of men, reigns of kings, or in relation to events. For example, Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). The religious year begins with Nissan in the spring, while the civil year begins with Tishrei in the fall.

To learn more and see a combined modern calendar and biblical calendar, be sure to get our 2021 Biblical Calendar.

The next time you read your Bible and come across the mention of a day or month, try to discover what day or month it is! It will add a fun new level to your Bible study!

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