The Gospel of Jesus' Wife (2)

W. Terry Varner
December 30, 2012

Dr. King claims this is "the first known statement that explicitly claims Jesus had [a] wife" (Time, October 1, 2012: 61). However, this is not the first time the claim has been made. In fact, it is impossible for the student of the Bible to take the claim seriously. Study this matter further with me and then decide.

Earlier Claims of Jesus having a Wife. Dr. King's claim is not new. Those considering Jesus as being married and having children claim He was married to Mary Magdalene. The earliest source for this (mis)information, and it is nebulous to say the least, is the Gnostic text of The Gospel of Philip. The text was found, with a number of other Gnostic texts in December 1945, in what now called the Nae Hammadi Library found in Upper Egypt, about 300 miles south of Cairo. The Gospel of Philip is said to date from the 3rd century. Verse 55 is used to claim Jesus had a wife named Mary Magdalene. [NOTE: The hold non-italicized words within the brackets of the text were placed there by "scholars" who assumed these are the missing words.]

Wisdom (Sophia), whom they call barren, is the mother of the angels, and the consort of Christ is Mary Magdalene. The [Lord loved Mary] more than all the disciples, and he kissed her on the [mouth many times]. The other [women disciples saw]. . . Him. They said to him, "why do you [love her] more than all of us? The Savior answered and said to them, ''Why do not! love you as I do her?" (Cartlidge and Dungan, 70).

Fast forward to the best selling novel by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code (2003). Brown's novel created a sensation claiming evidence that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had children. One of Brown's characters introduced this speculation from the book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a book long available. Brown's novel describes the secret guilds of the Crusades as possessing this secret information, but suppressed by the Roman Catholic Church to protect the Deity of Jesus. "Scholars" for ages have assumed and argued that deities, idols and God Jehovah, have a counter-female deity. In the Old Testament it is argued that the Canaanite idols have a male and female counterpart, BUT God Jehovah does not have a female counterpart, regardless the attempt of some. In addition Brown builds his novel to claim that Jesus not only took Mary Magdalene as His wife, but Jesus planned to make her the founder of His church (254), even though Matthew 16:18 states that "l [Jesus] will build My church."

Replying to the Claim. There are many answers to the above sensationalism.

First, in The Gospel of Philip, it is possible that within the ellipses where the text is missing that the missing words may amount to more words than the "scholars" assume. The text of The Gospel of Philip is incomplete.

Second, the New Testament gives indirect evidence that Jesus did not marry like His apostles and brothers (Matthew 13:55). Paul wrote, "Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?" (1 Corinthians 9:5). We can argue that IF Jesus had been married, THEN Paul would have included Him in the list. IF not, why not?

Third, Mary Magdalene is never tied, matrimonially or otherwise, to any male in the New Testament (cf. Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 8:2; John 19:25, etc.). How does written information centuries later establish the truth of her married relationship ana the motherhood of children with Jesus? The New Testament is inspired, authoritative, and inerrant; whereas, the Gnostic Gospels are uninspired, unauthoritative, and errant.

Fourth, the cross of Christ, necessary to our salvation from sin, functions to teach other truth. "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene" (John 19:25). Jesus' special concern for the women at the cross focused on His mother, Mary. IF Mary Magdalene was His wife, He showed no special concern for her. Strange?