I then brought up I Corinthians 7 where it draws the comparison between a married man and a single man. It says that a single man is free to devote his life entirely to God, while a married man must divide his interests between pleasing his wife and pleasing God. According to Livermore, it's important to consider the original context of Paul's statement before making it applicable to everyone. As an example of this, he cites biblical passages that claim women should be veiled and remain silent at church.
Over the centuries, Christian churches have interpreted those passages in different ways. Some believe they apply to everyone through all ages, while others believe Paul was merely talking to a specific group at a specific time. Livermore believes the latter to be true, and says Paul's remarks about marriage fall into the same criteria. "When Paul made that statement, it may or may not have been applicable to Jesus, or the apostles. We do know that some early church leaders were married, and some were not, but you can't really say that some were more distracted than others because of it."
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I would agree. It sounds a bit like generalizing an entire population, and the way people react in certain situations is always going to vary.
I asked Livermore about the recently found papyrus fragment and if he thought it could be legitimate evidence that Jesus had a wife. He said there's still too many unanswered questions for historians and theologians to take it very seriously. For example, they're not one hundred percent sure when it was written, where was it written, or by whom. They also can't tell why it was written, or what sort of document it is. Is it fictional by nature, or is it trying to describe things accurately? Could it be lines from a play, or a poem, or a song?
Whatever his marital status, to me, Jesus' message doesn't change. Married or not, he still died on a cross, and to me, that is what's most important.
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What do you think? Is it possible Jesus had a wife? And if he did, does that change the way you view him or his mission on earth?