Question & Answer – How is the third hour of the day determined in Mark 15:25, Acts 2:15?

And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him” (Mark 15:25); “For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day” (Acts 2:15). [Emphasis supplied.]

“The Jewish people divided the twenty-four-hour day into two great divisions—the day, the light part, and the night, the dark part. The light part was subdivided into four sections; namely, the third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour, and the evening. The light part of the day began at six o’clock in the morning. The third hour of the day would be 9 a.m.” Messiah in His Sanctuary, F.C. Gilbert, 105.

The third hour of the day would be three hours past 6:00 a.m. which was the beginning of the Jewish day. Further information on this subject is as follows:

“Day. A term used variously to mean:

  1. The period of daylight in contrast to the night. In postexilic [relating to the Jewish history following the Babylonian captivity] and NT times it was divided into twelve hours (John 11:9; Matthew 20:1–12), between approximately sunrise and sunset, or dawn and dark. Thus the sixth hour was at noon. In this system, the hours were longer in the summer than in the winter.
  2. The period of a day and a night, approximately the time of one rotation of the earth on its axis.
  • The calendar day was reckoned by the Hebrews from evening to evening (Leviticus 23:27, 32; cf. Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, etc.), that is, from sunset to sunset (Leviticus 22:6, 7; cf. Mark 1:32).
  • The Babylonians began the day likewise with sunset, but
  • the Egyptians [began the day] with sunrise; and
  • the Romans began it with midnight, whence we derive the custom. …” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition, 275, 276. The Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1979.