Was Christ Married?

In 2012, Karen King,  a history professor at the Harvard Divinity School identified a scrap of papyrus  which she claimed contain a phrase never before seen in Scripture.  This scrap of papyrus is smaller than a business card with only 8 lines supposedly written in Coptic in the 4th century AD that can only be read under a magnifying glass.  The provenance of this fragment is a mystery as its owner has asked to remain anonymous.

According to Ms. King’s interpretation the fragment reads: “Jesus said to them, My wife…she will be able to be my disciple.”

Before making the fragment known Dr. King had shown it to a small circle of experts in papyrology and Coptic writings.  According to these “experts,” the fragment was “most likely” not a forgery leading Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times to exclaim that this “discovery” could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married, whether Mary Magdalene was his wife and whether he had a female disciple. 

The left would truly love to drag Jesus through the mud but in this instance they have little to stand on.  First, “most likely” is not sufficient to call it real.  Not only is the majority of the papyrus missing, Dr. King was unable to even have the ink carbon tested because of fear of damaging the relic.

While cautioning that the fragment should not be taken as proof that “the historical” Jesus, was actually married, Dr. King’s rejection of traditional Christianity in favor of Gnosticism should raise a warning flag.

In her book “The Gospel of Mary Magdalen: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle”  written in 2003,  King attempted  to redefine Christianity in her desired image of Gnosticism, a second-century heresy claiming that salvation could be gained through secret knowledge.

Gnostics believe that the created, material world is evil, and therefore in opposition to the world of the spirit, and that only the spirit is good. They constructed an evil God and beings of the Old Testament to explain the ​creation of the world  and considered Jesus Christ a wholly spiritual God, contending that His divine spirit came upon His human body at baptism and departed before the crucifixion.  

The Gnostic so-called Gospels are often presented as the  “lost” books of the Bible, when in fact they never meet the criteria when the canon was formed and in many instances actually contradict God’s Word.

There were no female disciples of Christ.  There were however, female teachers who worked tirelessly with the Apostles in presenting Christ to the world.  Priscilla, aka Prisca (Acts 19:24-26, Romans 16:3, 5, 2 Tim 4:19) Euodia and Syntyche (Phil 4;2-3),  Phebe (Rom 16-:1-2), Persis (Rom 16:12),  Chloe (1Cor 1:11), Nymphas (Col 4:18), and Apphia (Phil v.2),  were all teachers of the Gospel.  Tabitha aka Dorcas in Acts 9:36 was a disciple or student preparing to teach.  Other women mentioned are Lunia, Lydia, Eunice, and  Julia.

I know there are  pastors of some denominations that use 1 Cor. 14:34 “Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak. . .” as a means to disallow female ministers, deacons and elders.  The word silence in this passage –  “sigao” –  means to hold your peace or not to chatter.   Considering that Paul personally knew the majority of the female teachers of the Word mentioned above, he was not telling women they could not hold office or teach – he was simply saying that women (or men for that matter) should not chatter while the Word was being taught.  I guess even back then, women got a bad rep for talking too much.

As for the charge that Christ was married: In Matt 8:20 Jesus said “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”  In John 19:26-27,  while His mother Mary, along with Mary Magdalene and Mary the wife of Cleophas were standing by the cross, did He not tell John to take care of His mother.  If He were married wouldn’t He have asked John to take care of His wife as well, especially when she was standing next to His mother?  In John 20:16 when Mary Magdalene met the risen Christ she did not call Him husband, she called Him Rabboni or teacher.

John the Baptist spoke of Jesus as the bridegroom in John 3:28-30.  “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

11 Cor. 11:2 tells us that the  church is betrothed, espoused and promised as the intended bride of her husband, Jesus Christ. That marriage is not consummated until the Second Advent where we read in Rev. 19:7:  “Let us be glad rejoice and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamp is come, and His wife [the Church] hath made herself ready.

“Hitler’s main objection to Christianity [in Mein Kampf] was its “intolerance”—the same objection raised by the anti-religious left in America today.  How these secularists hate to be told that their way is wrong.  Their guilty consciences fill them with rage against bearers of the unpleasant truth that they are wrong.  This is why their fake “tolerance” extends to many sorts of evildoers, but not to people who challenge their presuppositions too strongly”  Joseph Keysor, “Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible,” pg. 101

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