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Sunday Dialogue: Harvard papyrus does not prove Jesus had a wife

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The facts based on scientists’ findings are not facts; but suppositions regarding recent coverage that small papyrus indicates that Jesus had a wife.

While they are confident that the tiny piece, which is no larger than a business card, dates back to between the sixth to ninth century, what does that prove about Jesus being married? Nothing!

That would mean that this was written anywhere from 500 to 900 years after the birth of Christ. Billions of words have been written over these many centuries about Christ that is not found in the Bible or based on fact.

This newest papyrus - they have no clue who wrote it; or why.

This reminds me of the huge container of snippets of papers written by mother over about 40 years. She wrote on anything that was near – a paper towel, back of an old check – greeting card or anything that was handy for her to write on at the time. She wrote prayers, scripture, and poems. She wrote on tiny pieces of paper smaller than this papyrus; some not much larger than a postage stamp.

Should anyone find these thousands of years later; they would get a different idea of what and who Jesus was as well. She wrote from her heart of what Jesus meant to her; and not based on any test tube in a lab.

We are often told in the Christian community that Christ is all things to us – our father, our mother, our friend, our savior, our redeemer, because Christ is our all. We, who are members of a Bible believing church, are the bride of Christ. The church is the true bride of Christ.

Those at Harvard have no clue who wrote it; or why. The photo they use looks like someone wrote over it with a felt tipped pen? See photo here.

If my mother had written that Jesus was her husband; people would have looked at her kinda funny. What she would have meant that while her husband was dead and could no longer care and provide for her that Jesus would. He was as her husband. The church is as the bride of Christ.

Whoever wrote on that papyrus may have been writing an editorial for the “Egyptian Atheist News.” They don’t KNOW who wrote it and why. Therefore, it has no authenticity or validity.

The headlines are misleading in the article written by Deborah Hastings of New York Daily News. It would lead you to believe they have found scientific proof that Jesus had a wife. But down in the article Ms. Hastings wrote as she quoted Karen King, a Harvard Divinity Professor:

“But King says the fragment does not mean Jesus had a wife, but rather is an affirmation "that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus — a topic that was hotly debated in early Christianity as celibate virginity increasingly became highly valued, King explained in the statement.” It does not even prove that without knowing who and why it was written.

This does not come as a surprise to women of faith today. They know that Jesus loves them and sees them as worthy and important to the world. Jesus was born of woman.

In the tiny document, Jesus is quoted mentioning his mother, his wife and a female disciple. The author of the text is not known. It's written in Coptic and is believed to have come from Egypt.

What is Coptic language? “The Coptic Language is the name used to refer to the last stage of the written Egyptian language. Coptic should more correctly be used to refer to the script rather than the language itself. Even though this type of script was introduced as far back as the 2nd century BC., it is usually applied to the writing of the Egyptian language from the first century AD. to the present day.”

The Bible was not written in Coptic; but Hebrew and Greek and was translated in 1611 by scholars of the time for King James.

Since then, many other scholars have gone to the original transcripts and translated them into our modern language.

The only thing that those at Harvard feel confident about is that this is an ancient document; and we all know how the tide of Christianity has turned at Harvard.

Jesus did not leave anything out of His teaching and ministry here on earth; and if He had a wife, He would certainly have revered her enough to mention her in His ministry; as were His disciples and friends. Why would all the other women be listed, even by name, and not her?

The New Testament was written in Greek and the Greek (gyne) word for wife simply means woman.

Strong’s concordance explains it this way. In a sense, all Christian women, are Christ’s women since they belong to Him as do the men and children.

γυνή, γυναικός, ἡ;

1. universally, a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow: Matthew 9:20;Matthew 13:33; Matthew 27:55; Luke 13:11; Acts 5:14,

While Jesus loved all people, His Disciples, children, tax collectors and such; He also loved women and never seemed to make a difference in the way He discipled, taught, healed and cared for everyone.

Chuck Swindoll’s article, “Jesus and Women” gives us insight into the relationships that Jesus had with women of the Bible.

In this article he says, “While even respectable men didn’t give women the time of day, Jesus went out of His way to speak with them...in broad daylight. It would have been a scandalous topic for the tabloids! He welcomed women to His side. He was supportive, considerate, and caring of women — especially the ones who most needed help. He broke through oppressive, ugly cultural rules and rescued women from painful pasts, demonic control, unfair treatment, and crippling diseases”

“Jesus also willingly went against the grain of acceptable religious practices. Instead of limiting His teaching to the “men-only” part of the synagogue, Jesus also taught in places where women could have front row seats — on hillsides, in the marketplace, beside a well, and in the women’s area of the temple. He used illustrations women could readily relate to — a lost coin, yeast rising in bread, a persistent knocking on a neighbor’s door at midnight.”

Read that great article by this man of God and you will see that while women in the day of Jesus were counted as property – first her parents, then her husband, and if she was widowed, her son, Jesus treated them as equals.

It was through the centuries man-made rules prohibited them from being in roles that were traditionally that of men, Jesus did not. Many of his disciples (followers) were women.

Okay, what does this latest interpretation from Harvard prove? Something significant… that has nothing to do with Jesus having a wife…but that HE WAS.

Doesn’t God have such a unique sense of humor?

If this little snippet does nothing else, it recognizes the words about a man named Jesus. Does this prove that it was written about Jesus Christ, the Son of God?” No! Even if this is an authentic artifact; it could have been speaking about any man named Joshua.

Yeshua is the Hebrew name for the Lord. It means "Yahweh [the Lord] is Salvation." The English spelling of Yeshua is “Joshua.” However, when translated from Hebrew into the Greek language, the name Yeshua becomes Iēsous. The English spelling for Iēsous is “Jesus.”

Atheists work overtime to disprove something that they actually believe in so strongly. Why would they bother if they were not threatened by it? God is able to turn the tables and reveal the real truth.

Some, who deny Christ on one hand, actually say that Jesus was gay. Wouldn’t they have to believe that He existed?

People, outside of Christ, will say anything to the means that will propagate their philosophy that is solely for the purpose of their own agenda.

Those who believe in God, through Christ, believe by faith. And those who do not believe in the teachings of God through Christ cannot rest in their own souls because they know the truth; and the truth hurts their ways of living and thinking.

Every man and woman is created in the image of God. And they will forever have an inner yearning to know God. God provided a way for us to know Him; and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Christians are soon approaching the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus which renews their faith during the most holy of all seasons – Easter. Do you think that for one moment the likes of those who would kill Jesus in such a manner would hesitate one iota to try and besmirch Him even today?

Atheists think they can destroy the Bible, as many through the centuries have tried. They must think they can absolve themselves from the commandments and principles of the Word of God; that they can go about their lives without condemnation if there is no Bible to tell them so. Getting rid of the Bible does not do away with sin.

The problem with man since the beginning is that he does not want to be told what to do; and does not want to live under the domination of anyone or anything. But they do.

Remember from the beginning, the undertaking has been good versus evil. And that God says, “Choose this day who you shall follow!” The road to sin leads to destruction; the road to salvation leads to eternal life.

“For whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved!”

Paul says in Galatians 3:27-28 “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.”

The key is those who believe in Christ. Those who have their eyes opened believe; and those who do not - remain blind to the truth. However, the scripture also teaches that the truth shall set you free.

Who is God? God is the creator of the universe and everything thing in it?

Who are scientists? They are those who study what God has made; and sometimes try to deny the truth of Him. Where would they be without God?

What has a scientist ever created that was not first already here through God’s creation?

What has a scientist ever discovered that God did not reveal to them?

Since satan began his campaign in the beginning of the world, he will continue to deny, dissuade and attempt to lead as many as possible away from that which he hates – God.

However, the work of Christ through His ministry, death, and resurrection will continue to woo and draw people to Him and lead them to eternal life where satan will not be a part of it any more.

But until then, remember satan has disciples too. Christ’s disciples yearn to convert; while atheists yearn to divert.

Jesus wants to convert our roads into highways of promise; while satan wants to divert us to roads that will take us away from God. That is his only purpose. It is fourth quarter and inches away with only seconds left on the clock of time to end the game – and satan will throw out anything to try and divert the touchdown. But in the end – God always wins.

Jesus came to save and restore that which was lost while satan came to destroy, kill, and maim. God represents that which is good, pure, lovely, and healthy; while satan represents just about everything people see in violent movies today.

When you have a job to do and time is running out, you work overtime – that is what satan is doing.

There was a time in the Bible when Jesus was preaching and He was told that His family was there to see Him. Then Jesus asked them, “Who are my mother and brothers?” He did not wait for them to answer because it was important that He answered His own question.

Referring to those who were following Him, He said, “Here are my mother and brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-35). Did that mean that He had over 5,000 flesh brothers and sisters all born of Mary and Joseph?

The Bible is all about family from the very beginning. He created the family first before the church or the government. Nothing scientists have ever discovered – note discovered – not created - proves family more than DNA.

It was always there, we just didn’t know about it until it was in God’s timing. God intended that families have an indisputable relationship with each other.

There was a time when people knew who their families were even back for generations; but as the world progressed, and the family became dysfunctional, God allowed blood DNA to be discovered.

God intends that we have an indisputable relationship through Christ and the blood He shed on Calvary. That ole snake satan would rather see us shed each other’s blood.

The Bible totally supports the natural family. However the relationship that matters the most is the one with Jesus Christ as His disciples.

We, as disciples together, are the true (and only bride) of Christ (Ephesians 5:21-33).

Read more:

Sunday Dialogue is a weekly article that explores many aspects of the Bible, the Church, and Christianity. You may wish to subscribe so that you will receive in your inbox notification when each new article is published.

Atlanta Faith and Family offers many articles of love and help to families; but also other articles that help families in their day to day living; such as recalls of faulty items, contaminated food, fun stories, and news that affects families.

You may wish to read archival articles on her “content” page. Atlanta Faith and Family

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