It is rather amazing how far some will go with their efforts to discredit the Holy Bible. We’ve spent many billions of dollars in an effort to find some other planet, which is capable of sustaining life. Even a tiny one, millions of light years away, would suffice. Even if we could only find one with water on it! That would be close enough.
But to find something which might show the Holy Bible to be incorrect would be an earth shattering achievement. Let’s examine some of the facts concerning the fragment which was brought to light by Harvard Professor Karen King a week or so ago. It reportedly contains a phrase which translates into “Jesus said to them, my wife”. It also has another phrase which seems to be unclear or questionable which they think says, “she will be able to be my disciple”.
It is also said to be written in 4th century Coptic. Keep these factors in mind as we move on.
Its really pretty unlikely that it’s authentic,” University of Durham Professor Francis Watson told Reuters after he published a paper arguing the words on the fragment were a rearrangement of phrases from a well known Coptic text. Watson, who has previously worked on identifying forged gospels, said it was likely to be an ancient blank fragment that was written over in the 20th or 21st century by a forger seeking to make money. (Yahoonews.com)
Let us now use some reasoning and other factors. First, if the translations are accurate, there is little sense in them, if one is assumed to have reference to the other. If Jesus were married, would it not be logical that she would be his disciple and even unworthy of having to be said?
The fragment, it is said, is from the fourth century. Three hundred years after the Inspired writers who wrote the New Testament and the Holy Spirit gave inspiration. So it is certain that it has not the authority of those writings.
Furthermore, the truth of the matter is that the textual basis of the New Testament was settled and fully authenticated many years ago. The longstanding discipline of Textual Criticism has yielded abundant evidence for the trustworthiness of the text of the New Testament. Over the last two centuries, the manuscript evidence has been thoroughly examined, resulting in complete exoneration for the integrity, genuineness, and accuracy of the Bible. Prejudiced university professors refrain from divulging to their students that the vast majority of textual variants involve minor matters that do not affect salvation nor alter any basic teaching of the New Testament. Even those variants that might be deemed doctrinally significant pertain to matters that are treated elsewhere in the Bible where the question of genuineness is unobscured. No feature of Christian doctrine is at stake. When all of the textual evidence is considered, the vast majority of discordant readings have been resolved (e.g., Metzger, 1978, p. 185). One is brought to the firm conviction that we have in our possession the Bible as God intended. (Dave Miller, Ph.D., The Apologetics Press-Was Jesus Married?)
There are other things to consider aside from whether or not this fragment has merit on the face of it. It is certain that there is nothing here that could override or cause any of the inspired writings to come into question. The thing about this is that the Bible does not say whether or not Jesus was married. It is assumed that he never married due to several reasons. First of all is the very fact that it does not mention it. Out of all the information that is given us, it is almost certain that it would have been mentioned. But on the other hand, it does not specify that he was not married, so to learn that he was would not contradict any of the word.
Of those men who were closely associated with Jesus, only very few have any mention of their marital status. We know that Peter was married from this following verse:
And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother lying sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose, and ministered unto him. (Matthew 8:14-15 ASV)
We also know that some of the others married and we know of two others who did not. Jesus own brothers married as did some of the other apostles while Paul and Barnabas remained single. Here are the verses which confirm this.
My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock? (1 Corinthians 9:3-7 NASV)
The above verse almost verifies that Jesus did not marry, since Paul did not include him in those who were married. Now, in the quote below, you will find that Paul definitely did not marry and advised others also no to do so, especially those who wished to devote their lives in the service of the Lord.
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. (1 Corinthians 7:1-9 KJV)
One other factor that we might inject into the reasons to believe Jesus was never married is because he had no home to live in and never mentions having a wife to protect and care far. And we know that he did no sin and therefore could not have been married and neglected his wife. Here is a final quote to verify that fact:
And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8:19-20 KJV)
An uninspired writing, regardless of what it might say, will never prove error within the inspired writings of the Old and New Testaments. The subject papyrus fragment however, does not have any facts which would contradict the Holy Bible. The interpretation is not even positive and as the professor from Durham University, Dr. Watson says, it was likely to be an ancient blank fragment that was written over in the 20th or 21st century by a forger seeking to make money.