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If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard with great fanfare the discovery of a fragment of a papyrus text that allegedly offers evidence that Jesus was married. Now, there is nothing in Scripture to support the idea that Jesus had a wife, but this notion has been promoted off and on over the years. It became extremely popular when Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was published. Brown used absurd arguments in trying to make the case that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. For more information on this bizarre contention, see Tim Chaffey, What about the Factual Claims in The Da Vinci Code? in Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge, gen. eds., How Do We Know the Bible Is True? Volume 1 (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2011).
What’s all the recent excitement over? Well, the fragment itself is just a few unfinished sentences, and the one people are talking about states, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife . . .’” That’s it! That’s all of their evidence—but some skeptics believe this may shake the foundations of Christianity. Our culture is certainly working hard to discredit the Word of God.
Of course, some of the major media outlets are hailing this so-called discovery as having “major implications for the Christian faith,” as one ABC News article put it. Others have written that Scripture does not speak to whether or not Jesus was married, so this could confirm that he had a wife.
But believers know this fragment doesn’t offer any confirmation that Jesus was married. The fragment is dated as being from the fourth century A.D., much too late to have been written by anyone who knew Jesus. “But,” some have said, “Scripture is silent on whether or not Jesus was married. So this could mean he was!” Yes, the Bible does not definitively say, “Jesus was/was not married.” But a very strong case for Christ being unmarried can be made from Scripture. Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., has written a detailed article about the fragment, and he explains why Christians should reject the fragment itself and any arguments that Jesus had a wife during His earthly ministry. I urge you to read this piece that is the feature article today on the AiG website, so that you will be prepared to respond to these claims yourself—see Feedback: Was Jesus Married?
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