Measurements in the New Testament

Distance

A sabbath day’s journey: 2000 cubits, ~ 1 kilometer

  • The distance to which, according to Jewish tradition, it was allowable to travel on the Sabbath day without violating the law.
  • Acts 1:12; Also see Exodus 16:29; Numbers 35:5; Joshua 3:4 ).

Stadium (Furlong) : 185 meters

  • Lk 24:13; Jn 6:19; Jn 11:18; Re 14:20; Re 21:16

Cubit: 18″ = 45 centimeters

  • Mt 6:27; Lk 12:25; Re 21:17

Fathom: 1.8m

  • Acts 27:28 – And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms.
  • 20 fathoms: 36 meters
  • 15 fathoms: 27 meters

Volume

Metretes ~ 40 liters

  • John 2:6 Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews’ manner of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece.
  • 2-3 metretes ~ 80 to 100 litres

Money

Denarius: A day’s wage

Drachma: ~4g silver (~3000 pesos)

  • Luke 15:8

Didrachma: ~8g silver (~6000 pesos)

  • Matt 17:24

Talent (of gold), Mina: ~50kg (~2 million pesos)

  • Mt 18:24;25:15-,25; Lk 19:12-27
  • The talent is called mina among the Hebrews. (Epiphanius, Treatise on Weights and Measures)

Shekel ~4g silver (~3000 pesos)

  • Matthew 17:27 – Go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel.
  • The annual half-shekel temple tax was equivalent to two Athenian drachmæ, each Athenian drachma weighing a little over 4 grams. (Josephus, Wars of the Jews vii. 6, § 6).

Time

Sunrise 06:00 Mark 16:2
First hour 07:00
Second hour 08:00
Third hour 09:00 Matthew 20:3
Fourth hour 10:00
Fifth hour 11:00
Sixth hour 12:00 noon Matthew 27:45
Seventh hour 13:00 John 4:52
Eighth hour 14:00
Ninth hour 15:00 Acts 3:1
Tenth hour 16:00 John 1:39
Eleventh hour 17:00 Matthew 20:6-9
Sunset 18:00 Luke 4:40
First watch of night 18:00 – 21:00
Second watch 21:00 – 00:00 midnight Luke 12:38
Third watch 00:00 – 03:00 Luke 12:38
Fourth watch 03:00 – 06:00 Matthew 14:25