by Dave Miller, Ph.D.
The parade of alleged gospels that purport to alter the foundational doctrines of the Christian religion is endless. Most recently, a papyrus fragment written in Coptic that dates to the fourth century has created a stir. Among its eight badly faded lines are two phrases, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’” and a second provocative clause that is believed to say, “she will be able to be my disciple” (Goodstein, 2012). No matter how tentative and flimsy the evidence, liberal scholars and atheists glory in any item that might discredit Christ and Christianity. Yet, even the lead expert on the fragment, historian at the Harvard Divinity School, Karen King, repeatedly cautioned that it “should not be taken as proof that Jesus, the historical person, was actually married. The text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived, and all other early, historically reliable Christian literature is silent on the question” (Goodstein, emp. added).
Many Christians and non-Christians fail to grasp the fact that the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity does not finally depend on archaeological discovery. If the Bible can be proven to possess the attributes of inspiration, demonstrating its divine origin, then no artifact will ever be discovered that will contradict that truth. If any manuscript or artifact appears to do so, it is being misinterpreted and misconstrued. Since we know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God (based on a careful and thorough analysis of its internal attributes—see the category “Inspiration of the Bible” at apologeticspress.org), then we know that Jesus never married just as the New Testament represents. [NOTE: That is not to say that the Catholic notion of celibacy finds biblical support—it does not. See Pinedo, 2008, pp. 60ff.]….
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