If Jesus Had a Wife…

If Jesus Had a Wife… September 20, 2012

So, it seems that some Coptic Christians in the 4th century maybe possibly thought that Jesus was married. Is this the end of Christianity as we know it?!? I doubt it. I also doubt that Jesus had a wife, but I’m not going to call it the equivalent of proposing that “George Washington was a woman,” as some biblical scholars have.

It’s especially relevant to readers of this blog, as we discuss this week’s Haunting Question about the Gnostic Gospels.

It has, however, led to some fun on Twitter:

 So, what do you think? Does it change your faith if Jesus had a wife? 

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  • It would be weird insofar that it would mean he likely had descendants. So what would that make his kids? Half God?

    • Curtis

      Indeed, if Jesus is God, as Christians now agree, then having half-gods and quarter-gods running around would be very problematic, theologically and otherwise. But keep in mind, in the 4th century when this “rumor” was documented that Jesus was married, there was not full agreement among Jesus’ followers that Jesus was really, fully God.

      It was at this very time, 4th century, when the argument about the deity of Jesus was in full swing, culminating in the Nicene Creed. However, even after the creed was established, I’m sure there were ardent followers of Jesus at the time who had lingering doubts about his full deity.

      Given it was such a hot topic of debate, it is very likely that there were all kinds of stories and memories circulating in the 4th century that debated whether Jesus was full human, or fully God, or both. Stories about his marriage and love interests would certainly be part of that mix.

      It is quite likely, once the Nicene Creed was finally agreed upon, that members of the church tried to quash these stories and destroy any documentation of them, because, as you say, a married Jesus and its implications would call into question the validity of that creed. That is probably why manuscripts of stories about Jesus being non-God, even if they are mere speculation, are hard to find, and are big news when they are discovered.

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  • Tom Estes

    Jesus should be too sacred in the life of a Christian to make these kinds of jokes.


    • Brian P.

      “The test of a good religion is whether or not it can laugh at itself.” ~ GK Chesterton

      • Tom Estes

        I can laugh at myself and my fellow Christians, but I can’t laugh at Christ.

        • Sili

          May I suggest you go throw rocks at a McDonalds?

          Please don’t set fire to any embassies, though.

    • Some Christian people are so uptight you could shove coal up their asses and seconds later get diamonds.


      • Tom Estes

        Am I uptight about my Lord and Saviour? You better believe I am. If that makes you want to criticize me then help yourself.

  • nick

    It would change absolutely nothing.

  • If this was from a little earlier, like say the first/very early second centuries and written in, maybe, Greek, I might be more inclined to believe this.

  • Eric

    Maybe I’m off here but doesn’t Jesus refer to his wife (aka his bride, aka the church) quite frequently?

    • Pax

      ^ this

    • Curtis

      It is very possible that the author was using marriage as a metaphor, as Paul was inclined to do.

  • Jeff Kursonis

    Well, I think it would be awesome if Jesus did have a wife, but it seems like it would have been weaved into the gospel story a lot more…Jesus giving us little nuggets of truth via his marriage experiences, his wife’s agony at the cross like his mother’s, etc. And I think it would be pretty easy to imagine that the children would just get the human part of Jesus in themselves…it takes a whole special miraculous visit from the Holy Spirit to incarnate the God-side into a human. So I’d love a family man Jesus, but it just seems like his being single was more in line with his ability to focus on his mission, as well as just keeping his story more streamlined…I’m sure there were many groups that had speculations about all sorts of aspects of Jesus life and wrote about them as though they were true, or at least just discussed them, and this papyrus is one of those.

    • JamieR

      The problem with the idea of Jesus having children, is that the bible clearly states that sin came into the world through the rebellion of Adam, and Jesus (due to his Father being God and his conception brought about by the Holy Spirit) did not inherit this sin nature from Adam (Romans 5:12). This is why He was able to lead a sinless life and be the sacrifice and substitute for our sins. Therefore, if He had children, they too would not have inherited a sin nature and would have no need for a Savior. This cannot be possible. The Word clearly states that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

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  • Brian P.

    “How much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”

  • Sharmini

    It would not change the essentials of my faith, but it would shift my understanding of what it means to be part of the church (which I have long considered via the metaphor of the bride of Christ). More personally, it would also shift something (not quite sure what) in how I, a chronically single person, relate to the person of Christ.

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  • Moulder

    Im not sure how any of you feel about mediums but i suspect that most if you will think theyre demonic or whatever. Having said that I’d like to point out that Jesus conversed with the dead himself, Moses and Elijah… Peter witnessed it… Its not unreasonable then is it to see an interview with Jesus by a gifted medium? whatever you think, and even if you think its utter bullshit its still incredibly interesting. This from channelingerik:
    Me: I’ve heard that before. Did you get married; did you have children?

    Jesus: Yes.

    Me: How many children did you have?

    Jesus: I lived my life under another title, another name, and I kept a very secret way of teaching.


    Me: Did you marry Mary?

    Erik: Mary Magdalene.

    Jesus: She was my only true love, and I knew how important it was for women to be considered equal to men, so though you may have learned in the Bible that all of the disciples were men, they were not.

    Me: Ah! Was Mary one of the disciples?

    Jesus: Yes.
    There’s five parts.

    • Pax

      The idea that there were female disciples in uncontroversial. The four canonical gospels name several of them including Mary Magdalene.

    • JamieR

      Whoever this medium was, I can assure you they spoke to a demon, not to Jesus.

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  • John Conner

    This issue always baffles me! If, as The Church teaches, that marriage is holy, sacred, binding and sanctioned by God why is the mere IDEA of Jesus being married so inflammatory? I was taught that “covenant marriage” was the ultimate expression of love and commitment…that being said, why is the thought so out of the question when it comes to Jesus personally? He (Jesus) is supposed to be our perfect example, and we are to emulate Him in all that we do and say a la “WWJD”…do mean to tell me that Jesus was a 33-year-old virgin? Really? It’s ironic to me that the two biggest issues in Christianity today are (obviously) abortion and gay marriage…neither of which Jesus EVER spoke about, even though they were rampant in the culture at that time i.e. Roman bath houses, infanticide, a mass killing at the time of Jesus’s birth, etc. These questions haunt me, and never cease to be the “800-lb gorilla in the room” when I hear these questions raised…thoughts anyone?

    • Spencer

      Meant to reply to you directly but posted as a regular post accidentally. Check it out.

  • Spencer

    John Conner,

    First of all, if Jesus didnt get married then He was absolutely a 33 year old virgin because He taught that fornication (which is sex outside of marriage) was a sin. So if He did not get married, then He was absolutely a virgin. Otherwise He would be guilty of sin which would me that you and I are in a lot of trouble swing as though His atonement is only valid if He was sinless aka “a lamb without spot or blemish” fulfilling the reality of the Old Testament Passover lamb. Next, your question is based on an incomplete biew of the scriptures. Jesus had EVERY intention of being married, just not in the sense you are thinking. But let me back up a bit. Jesus was perfectly within His right to be humanly married. However, Jesus didnt care for His own will. Check the gospels and you’ll see over and over He speaks of not doing His own will but the will of His Father. Jesus was a man, but He wasn’t just a man, He was also God, according to the Bible. Which means even before He became a man through incarnation, He already had thoughts, intentions, and something that He desired to have very badly. So badly in fact, that He stepped out of eternity and into the bridge of time to accomplish this desire. So what’s this desire? God, the only Holy one, the unlimited and unmatched one, desires a counterpart. You can see the perfect picture in Genesis. Adam was the only one who was like himself. He could not find a match among the animals. So God have Him a counterpart, Eve. She was His match and as such He was finally satisfied. This is the same desire God has. There is no one like Him. So one day He created man in HIS OWN IMAGE. Why? To get a counterpart eventually. Then He Himself became one of us. See the bridge being gapped? He brought divinity into Humanity when He became one of us. Then on the cross He died and released His divine life. Now anyone who believes into Him receives His very nature as the Holy Spirit! This is why Paul tells us that for the “joy” set before Him he endured the cross. To produce the church. The church (a group of people, not a building) eventually becomes the New Jerusalem which is the wife and bride of the lamb in the last two chapters of the book of Revelation. So…I could say so much more but ill just leave you with this short response. God created man to be His counterpart so that the two could become one and spend eternity forever!

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  • Pamela Sellarole

    If He did, He obviously felt that His private life was none of our business. So beyond our innate curiosity, it really shouldn’t matter that much. Also, if the sin nature is passed patrilineally (i.e. through the father–which is why Joseph could not have been Yeshua’s biological father), perhaps He had daughters. If only girls were born for about 7 generations, the divine nature would eventually be gone from Hid line. (Keep in mind that this reasoning is strictly hypothetical. I’m not saying i necessarily believe this. I go back to my first sentence for how I feel about it. Had He wanted us to know, He would have told us outright. Is He not entitled to the same privacy we ourselves crave?)