So the media is exploding with the joyous news! The document that states Jesus had a wife and was previously thought to be a fake has now been proved to be authentic! So how should Christians respond? Should we be upset? worried? concerned? Is this proof that Christ was actually married? And the answer is “No” to all of the above. Here are five reasons why Christians don’t need to give a second thought to this finding.
The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is neither a gospel nor is it written by Jesus’ wife
We really need to stop calling this the Gospel of Jesus’ wife. This is not a gospel. A gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Christ. This is a scrap of paper that records what someone thinks Jesus might have said once (maybe). Second, when we say the gospel of _______ we typically mean that person wrote the gospel account. But this document never claims to be written by Jesus’ wife. Well maybe it does. Honestly we have no idea anything about what it actually says because. . .
We have absolutely no idea the context of what is being said here.
So here’s what the document actually says: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife. . . “ and later it reads “she shall also be my disciple.” As King, the original discoverer of the document, points out it could go on to read, “My wife? I don’t have a wife!” It could be someone quoting what a heretic said once. We don’t know. I mean, the Bible says “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Actually, it says “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” But hey, is context really that big a deal?
This document was written in Egypt hundreds of years after Christ lived.
Carbon dating has put this document about the eighth century (700s), maybe a little earlier. For those of you keeping track at home, this means over 600 years after the last NT book was written. And we found it in Egypt, not even Palestine. Anyone who knows a little about church history knows that Egyptian Christianity had some weird ideas (just google Origen).
This would not be the first heretical document we have found.
We have lots of heretical documents from the first few centuries of the church. If this truly is authentic, all that proves is that it is an authentic heretical document rather than a fake heretical document. In fact, King herself admits that this is not proof that Jesus had a wife. Right, so why do we care again?
The consensus isn’t actually 100%.
While most of the people on this project think this document is authentic, some don’t. True, some researchers just came out in support of this document, but it still has some detractors in academia, notably Leo Depuydt, who is a noted Egyptologist. Not that it matters all that much, but just so you know we aren’t entirely convinced that it is real. The main person arguing for its authenticity is the person who found it. Coincidental?
While the Scripture never explicitly denies that Christ had a wife, conservative theologians hold that there would be major problems if He did. In fact, the main reason that many critics want Christ to have been married is because they want the church to have hidden the truth about Christ to make Him look more divine and less human. They want proof that the church changed Christ into the Messiah figure instead of accepting the fact that Christ Himself claimed to be the Son of God, because the critics want Christ to be nothing more than another teacher.
Honestly, if they want to do that, they have much better heretical documents to go to than this one. What is a shocking title ends up being nothing more than that. A close examination of what is actually going on ends up being, in all honesty, laughable. This is nothing more than a calculated attack playing on the fact that most Americans won’t actually read anything written other than the headlines. Perfect timing, too, right before Easter! But I’m sure that was coincidental as well.
Posted by Caleb
About the Author:
Ben Hicks is currently working on his Master of Arts in Biblical Theology at Bob Jones Seminary. It is clear that he has been gifted as a tremendous scholar. Ben is very skilled in Greek and enjoys applying it to his study of the Bible. Ben is also a gifted communicator having earned an award from Bob Jones University his senior year for his giftedness in communicating the Word of God. Ben has served as a ministerial intern in Phoenix, AZ, a camp counselor, a resident assistant, and as student body chaplain of Bob Jones University. Currently, Ben serves as a counselor in the Dean of Men's staff at BJU and works as a part time youth leader at a local area church. Ben is close friends with Caleb Phelps and partnered with Chad Phelps in ministry for a short time during his college years.
This is the second blog post Ben has shared on this site.