It’s called the “Synoptic Problem”, the perceived contradiction of various events in the four gospels.  Typically this perceived contradiction is chronological.  However, novice readers fail to understand the nuances of ancient writers and their works.  In the ancient Near East, historical events were often grouped by themes or geography and not necessarily presented in chronological order.  Thus, although the stories in the gospels match, they differ in order.  Below is a proposed chronological outline of events in the New Testament gospels as they likely occurred.  However, please note that this is only a proposed ordering of events – most events in the New Testament are not given specific dates/times in the scriptures and thus the table presented below is theoretical only.

 

DateDescription of EventMatthewMarkLukeJohn
Prologue to the gospel01.01-41.1-18
6 BCBirth of John the Baptist foretold01.05-25
5 BCMary visits Elizabeth01.26-56
5 BCThe birth of Jesus; the shepherds1.18-2502.01-20
4 BCCircumcision of Jesus02.21-40
4 BCWise men visit2.1-12
Herod slays babies of
Bethlehem
2.13-23
4 BCDeath of Herod, return from Egypt
AD 9Jesus at twelve years of age02.41-52
AD 29John the Baptist begins his ministry3.1-121.1-803.01-181.19-34
AD 29The baptism of Jesus3.13-171.9-1103.21-22
The genealogy of Jesus1.1-1703.23-38
AD 29The temptation of Jesus4.1-111.12-1304.01-13
Jesus’s first recorded miracle (water made wine)2.1-12
AD 30First Passover of Jesus’ Ministry
AD 30Jesus cleanses the temple2.13-25
Nicodemus visits Jesus3.1-21
Jesus baptizes3.22-4.3
Jesus converses with the woman of Samaria4.4-42
Jesus arrives in Galilee and begins his ministry4.12-171.14-1504.14-154.43-45
Jesus’ first rejection at Nazareth04.16-30
Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum7.28-291.21-2804.31-377.46
Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law8.14-171.29-3404.38-41
Jesus departs from Capernaum1.35-3804.42-43
Jesus journey in Galilee4.23-251.394.44
First disciples called4.18-221.16-2005.01-111.35-41
Leper healed8.1-41.40-4505.12-16
Jesus heals a paralyzed man9.1-82.1-1205.17-265.8-9
Levi (Matthew) is called9.9-132.13-1705.27-32
The question about fasting9.14-172.18-2205.33-39
AD 31Jesus heals man at Bethesda5.1-47
Two blind men healed9.27-31
Plucking grain on the sabbath12.1-82.23-2806.01-55.1
The healing of the man with a withered hand12.9-143.1-606.06-11
The call of the twelve10.1-43.13-1906.12-161.42
Jesus heals the multitudes12.15-213.7-1206.17-19
Sermon on the Mount5.1-26.2
The Beatitudes5.3-1206.20-23
The Woes06.24-26
Loving one’s enemies5.43-4806.27-28, 32-36
Jesus teaches prayer6.1-8
On swearing; on retaliation5.33-4206.29-30
The Golden Rule7.126.31
On judging7.1-506.37-42
On profaning the holy7.6
The test of a good man7.15-2006.43-45
Warning against self-deception7.21-2306.46; 13.26-27
Hearers and doers of the Word7.24-2706.47-49
Sermon on the Mount ends7.28-297.46
Healing the centurion’s servant8.5-1307.01-104.46-54
Healing the widow’s son at Naim07.11-17
John’s imprisonment (comments on)03.19-20
John’s question to Jesus11.2-607.18-23
Jesus’ words about John11.7-1907.24-35
The woman with the ointment26.6-1314.3-907.36-5012.1-8
The anointing at Bethany26.6-1314.3-907.36-5012.1-11
The ministering women08.01-3
Jesus teaches13.1-524.1-3408.04-18; 10.23-24; 13.18-2112.4
Jesus’ relatives12.46-503.31-3508.19-2115.14
The calming of the storm8.23-274.35-5108.22-25
The Gadarene demoniac8.28-345.1-2008.26-39
Jairus’ daughter healed9.18-265.21-4308.40-56
Jesus is rejected at Nazareth13.53-586.1-608.40-564.44; 6.42; 7.5, 15
The sending out of the twelve9.35; 10.1-11, 146.6-1309.01-6
The death of John14.3-126.17-29
Herod thinks Jesus is John14.1-26.14-1609.07-9
The feeding of the
5,000
14.13-216.30-4409.10-176.1-14
Jesus walks on water14.22-336.45-526.15-21
Jesus’ discourse on the bread of life6.22-71
Healings at Gennesaret14.34-366.53-56
What defiles a man15.1-207.1-23
The Syrophenician woman15.21-287.24-30
Healing of the deaf mute15.29-317.31-37
The feeding of the 4,00015.32-398.1-10
Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi16.13-238.27-3309.18-226.68-69; 20.21-23
The conditions of discipleship16.24-288.34-9.109.23-2712.25
The transfiguration17.1-89.2-809.28-361.14
The coming of Elijah17.9-139.9-13
The epileptic boy healed17.14-219.14-2909.37-43a14.9
The second prediction of the Passion17.22-239.30-3209.43b-457.1
The temple tax17.24-27
The dispute about greatness18.1-59.33-3709.46-483.3, 5; 12.44-45; 13.20
The strange exorcist9.38-4109.49-50
The Samaritan villagers09.51-56
The nature of discipleship8.18-2209.57-62
The nature of discipleship8.18-2209.57-62
The twelve disciples sent9.35-10.610.01-161.42; 4.35
The sending out of the seventy9.35-10.1610.01-164:35; 5.23
Woes on the cities of Galilee11.20-2410.13-15
End of discourse to disciples10.40-11.110.165.23; 12.44-45
The return of the seventy10.17-2012.31
Jesus’ thanksgiving to the Father11.25-2710.21-223.35; 7.29; 10.14-15; 17.2
Comfort for the heavy laden11.28-30
Jesus gratitude to the Father11.25-2710.21-2210.15; 17.2
The blessedness of the disciples13.16-1710.23-24
The lawyer’s question22.34-4012.28-3110.25-28
The great commandment22.34-4012.28-3410.25-28
The good Samaritan parable10.29-37
Mary and Martha10.38-4211.1-3
The Lord’s Prayer6.9-1511.01-4
The friend at midnight11.05-8
God’s answering of prayer7.7-1111.09-13
The answer to prayer7.7-1111.09-13
The healing of a dumb demoniac9.32-343.22-2711.14-23
Accusations against Jesus12.22-373.20-3011.14-237.20; 8.48; 52
Beelzebub controversy9.32-34; 12.22-3011.14-23
Return of the evil spirit12.43-4511.24-26
The blessedness of Jesus’ mother11.27-28
Against seeking signs12.38-428.11-1211.29-32
The sign for this generation12.38-42; 16.1-48.11-1211.29-32
The Pharisees seek a sign16.1-48.11-1311.29-32; 12.54-566.3
Concerning light5.14-16;6.22-2311.33-36
Salt and of light parables5.13-169.511.33-36; 14.34-35
The sound eye6.22-2311.34-36
Discourse against the Pharisees23.1-3612.37-4011.37-12.1
A discourse16.5-128.14-2112.01
The blind man at Bethsaida8.22-269.1-7
Exhortation to fearless confession10.19-20, 20-33; 12.324.22; 8.3812.02-1214.26
Rich fool parable12.13-21
Exhortation to confession10.26-3312.2-1214.26
On anxiety6.25-3412.22-31
Cares about earthly things6.16-21, 25-3412.22-34
On fasting and treasures6.16-2112.33-34
Watchfulness and faithfulness24.43-5113.32-3312.35-4613.4-5
Watchfulness and faithfulness24.42-5112.39-46
Ten maidens parable25.1-13
The servant’s wages12.47-48
Division in households10.34-3612.49-56
Interpreting present time10.34-36; 16.1-412.49-5612.27
On murder5.21-2612.57-59
On adultery and lust5.27-30
Agreement with one’s accuser5.25-26
Repentance or destruction13.01-9
Healing of the woman with a spirit of infirmity13.10-17
Parables of the mustard seed13.31-334.30-3213.18-21
Exclusion from the kingdom7.13-14; 25.10-12; 7.22-2313.22-30
The narrow gate7.13-1413.23-24
Departure from Galilee13.31-33
Lament over Jerusalem22.37-3913.34-35
Lament over Jerusalem23.37-3913.34-35
The healing of a man with dropsy14.01-6
Teaching on humility14.07-14
The parable of the marriage feast (Great Supper)22.1-1414.16-24
Conditions of discipleship10.37-3914.25-3312.25
The cost of discipleship10.26-33, 37-3914.25-35
Concerning salt5.139.49-5014.34-35
The lost sheep18.10-1415.01-10
The lost sheep and the lost coin18.12-1415.01-10
The prodigal son15.11-32
The unjust steward6.2416.01-13
On serving two masters6.2416.13
The hypocrisy of the Pharisees16.14-15
On the law5.17-2016.16-17
About the law and about divorce5.17-20, 31-32; 11.12-1316.16-18
On divorce5.31-3216.18
The rich man and Lazarus16.19-31
On temptations18.6-99.42-4817.01-2
On causing sin18.6-99.42-4817.01-2
On reproving one’s brother18.15-2017.0320.23
On reconciliation18.21-2217.03-4
Parable of the unmerciful servant18.23-35
Jesus goes to Jerusalem at the feast of Tabernacles7.1-53
A woman taken in adultery is brought before
Jesus
8.1-11
Jesus declares himself the light of the world8.12-59
Jesus heals a blind beggar9.1-41
The Good Shephard10.1-21
On forgiveness18.15, 21-22
On faith17.217.05-6
The servant’s wages17.07-10
The healing of ten lepers17.11-19
On the kingdom of God24.23-2513.21-2317.20-21
Culmination of the troubles24.23-2513.21-2317.20-23
The day of the Son of man24.26-28, 37-4117.22-37
The day of the Son of man24.26-2817.23-24, 37
The need for watchfulness24.37-4117.26-27,34-35
The parable of the unjust judge18.01-8
Pharisee and the
publican parable
18.09-14
Marriage and divorce19.1-1210.1-12
Jesus blesses the children19.13-1510.13-1618.15-173.3,5
The rich young man19.16-3010.17-3118.18-30
Laborers in the
vineyard parable
20.1-10
The third prediction of the Passion20.17-1910.32-3418.31-34
The healing of Bartimeus20.29-3410.46-5218.35-43
Zaccheus19.01-10
The parable of the pounds25.14-3019.11-27
The parable of the talents25.14-3019.12-27
The last judgement25.31-465.28-29
Entry into Jerusalem21.1-1711.1-1119.28-4612.21-50; 2.13-15
Jesus keeps the feast of Dedication at Jerusalem10.22-39
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead10.40-11.44
Meeting of the Chief priests and Pharisees11.45-53
Jesus at Ephraim11.54-57
The cursing of the fig tree21.18-1911.12-14
The cleansing of the temple21.12-1311.15-1919.45-482.13-17
The meaning of the withered fig tree21.20-2211.20-2614.13-14
The question about authority21.23-2711.27-3320.01-82.18
The parable of the two sons21.28-32
The parable of the wicked tenants21.33-4612.1-1220.09-19
Question on the tribute to Caesar22.15-2212.13-1720.20-263.2
Question on the resurrection22.23-3312.18-2720.27-40
About David’s son22.41-4612.35-3720.41-44
Woes against the Pharisees23.1-3612.37-4020.45-47; 11.37-52
The widow’s gift12.41-4421.01-4
Prediction fo the destruction of the
temple
24.1-313.1-421.05-7
The signs of the parousia24.4-813.5-821.08-11
The fate of the disciples10.17-2513.9-1321.12-1713.16; 14.26; 15.20
The beginning of the troubles24.9-1413.9-1321.12-1914.26; 15.21; 16.2
The desolating sacrilege24.15-2213.14-2021.20-24
The parousia of the Son of man24.29-3113.24-2721.25-28
The parable of the fig tree24.32-3313.28-2921.29-31
The time of the parousia24.34-3613.30-3221.32-33
Mark’s ending to the discourse13.33-37
Luke’s ending to the discourse21.34-36
A summary of the days spent in Jerusalem21.37-38
The conspiracy against Jesus26.1-514.1-222.01-211.47-53
Preparation for the Passover26.17-1914.12-1622.7-13
Jesus washes his disciple’s feet13.1-20
The traitor26.20-2514.17-2122.14, 21.2313.21-30
PassoverInstitution of the Lord’s Supper26.26-2914.22-2522.15-20
Last words19.28; 20.25-2810.42-4522.21-3813.4-5, 12-14, 36-38
Jesus’ farewell discourse13.31-17.26
Jesus and the sons of Zebedee20.20-2810.35-4522.24-27
Betrayal by Judas26.14-1614.10-1122.3-618.2-5
The way to Gethsemane; Peter’s denial prophesied26.30-3514.26-3122.39; 22.31-3418.1; 13.36-38; 16.32
Jesus in Gethsemane26.36-4614.32-4222.40-4618.1; 12.27; 14.3; 18.11
Jesus taken captive26.47-5614.43-5222.47-5318.2-12, 20
Peter’s denial26.57-7514.53-7222.54-7118.13-27
Jesus delivered to Pilate27.1-215.123.0118.28-32
Death of Judas27.3-10
Trial before Pilate27.11-1415.2-523.02-518.33-37; 19.6, 9-10
Jesus before Herod23.06-16
The sentence of death27.15-2615.6-1523.17-2518.38-40; 19.4-16
The mocking by the soldiers27.27-3115.16-2019.1-3
The Crucifixion27.32-4415.21-3223.26-4319.17-24
Death on the cross and burial of Jesus27.45-6115.33-4723.44-5619.24-42
The guard at the tomb27.62-66
The empty tomb28.1-1016.1-1124.01-1220.1-18
Bribing the Roman soldiers28.11-15
Jesus appears to the two men16.12-1324.13-35
Jesus appears in Jerusalem24.36-49
Jesus appears to the disciples20.19-29
Jesus appears at the sea of Tiberias21.1-24
Jesus’ appearance on the mountain in Galilee28.16-2016.14-16
Signs to accompany believers16.17-18
The Ascension16.1924.50-53
The disciples go out into the world to preach16.2
John’s conclusion to the gospel20.30-31; 21.25
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