Dating the Annunciation of Mary in 3 BC

According to the Star of Bethlehem sky charts, Jesus was born in June of 2 BC.  The Annunciation had to have occurred at least 9 months prior, which puts it into the previous year.  Luke 1:26 says the Annunciation happened “in the sixth month.”  This is Elul on the Jewish calendar.

Jewish calendar

I find it really compelling to put the events of Jesus’ life on to the Jewish and common calendars, because it helps me understand in a more immediate way that Jesus really was conceived and gestated and born in a real place and time to a real woman. He really grew up and taught and died and rose again on real dates, and in a place and time about which we know quite a lot.

Dating the Annunciation

It is customary to assume Mary conceived at the Annunciation, but my calculations suggest conception occurred the following month.  Luke 1:31 records the angel Gabriel using the future tense – “you will conceive in your womb” – which supports my conclusion.

PLEASE NOTE: On March 31, 2014, I posted a blog about Mary and Medjugorje in which I messed up and said Jesus was born in 1 BC. Sorry ’bout that! I put a note on the blog that it’s wrong. If I get to it, I’m going to redo the Medjugorje calculations and see if they amount to a hill of beans.


Filed under Bible History

3 responses to “Dating the Annunciation of Mary in 3 BC

  1. The sixth month could also be a reference to Mary’s cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist.

    In other words, Jesus was conceived by Mary at around the time that Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant.

    It is all open to interpretation, and one has to read the whole of the passage to get the real meaning of what Scripture was saying.


    • chrissythehyphenated

      The date of the Annunciation has no doctrinal significance whatsoever. I proposed it only for the reason I stated in paragraph two above.

      Luke 1:26-27 “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.”

      It is common in the Bible for events to be dated in this manner. E.g., Haggai 1:15 “On the first day of the sixth month in the second year* of Darius the king, the word of the LORD came through Haggai the prophet.”

      The Jewish calendar is very clear about how the months are numbered. Elul is the sixth month.

      Gabriel doesn’t mention Elizabeth’s pregnancy until after he is done talking with Mary about Jesus. Luke 1:36 “And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren.”

      The references to the time at which God sent the angel and the state of Elizabeth’s pregnancy are related only insofar as they are both sixes.


      • yes, I realize it is only a proposal but you need to look at the whole of the Scripture and what it is saying. I read the passage as a reference to Elizabeth, being pregnant 6 months when Jesus was conceived by Mary.