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For Bible Study Nerds

The Bible actually says very little about Jesus’ adoptive father, Joseph. Here’s what we know:

Joseph was a carpenter by trade (Matthew 13:55), which meant “building and repairing in wood, stone, or metal.” He had a reputation as “a just man” (Matthew 1:19), likely referring to his devout, religious character. He was compassionate, as seen by his unwillingness to subject Mary to public shame when he found out she was pregnant (Matthew 1:19). He was able to recognize when God spoke to him in dreams (Matthew 1:20-23, 2:13, 19-20). He was immediately obedient to God’s instructions (Matthew 1:24, 2:14, 21). He followed Jewish religious customs such as having his son circumcised on the eighth day, consecrating baby Jesus with a temple sacrifice, and traveling to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover each year (Luke 2:21-41). He had other children besides Jesus (Matthew 13:55-56).

Beyond that, some have speculated that he may have been an older man and a widower when he married Mary, and that he died not long after Jesus visited the temple as a twelve-year-old. That theory could explain why he’s never mentioned in the Bible after Jesus’ twelfth year (even though Mary and his other children are) and why he wasn’t present at Jesus’ crucifixion. It could also account for why Jesus commanded his disciple, John, care for Mary. Still, this old-age/early-death theory is rooted mostly in an apocryphal book with suspect origins, so it must be regarded as speculation at best.

Matthew 1:18-24

Works Cited:

[WWB, 244-246]

 

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