Answering a question about John 2:4

The Nugget:

John 2:4  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 

The Muslim Challenge:

That’s why we Muslims always use to say today’s is Bible corrupted!
John chapter 2 verses4: ” jesus said unto his mother, Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour has not yet come”.
My question now, Can anybody here call his mother ‘woman’?
A mother who took you for nine months ten days in her worm and you called her “woman”?
Does this sound good?.. This is an insult against isa (A. S) (jesus). The Bible insulted jesus.
Now let see what the Holy Qur’an says about jesus Chris. Qur’an 19:32: ” Wa barran bi walidatii Walam yajji’alni jabberan Shaqiya. Meaning “And He [the mighty] has made me dutiful toward my mother, and He [i.e the mighty] has not made me haughty and unblessed.”
From the above statements, Bible says ; jesus shouted at his mother and the Qur’an says jesus never shout at his mother. In fact, the Qur’an says; jesus said to his people “…. And God made me kind to my mother, and not over bearing or unblessed.
Now Christians you have to choose right revelation and leave the corrupted one please

My Responses:

Actually, if you consider the cultural context of the Bible, Jesus was in no way speaking in a disrespectful way to his mother. In English translation, the expression sounds unduly harsh, but this is because we read into the text a meaning that does not come from the culture that produced the text.

Muslim Response:

That’s why we say today’s Bible was not real and it contains a full of corruption and contradiction.

My reply:

You cannot furnish any documentary evidence to base your claim of the corruption of the Bible. The Bible preceded Islam. The oldest manuscripts of the Bible are from a time long before the rise of Islam.

What the Bible said originally and what it says today is the same.

The most ancient manuscripts we have agree very closely with the text of the Bible in its original languages that we use today.

Muslim Response:

Of course, the corruption of Bible was even mentioned in the Qur’an al-karim And Allahu ta’ala addresses those who corrupt and changed the Holy Bible :”There is a sickness in their hearts. Allah has increased their sickness. They will have a painful torment because they have been lying. “[Q2:10]

My Reply:

The Koran is of no authority when it comes to the subject of establishing or determining what is the correct text of the Bible.

Facts based upon the ancient manuscript evidence, some of which is hundreds of years older than the Koran, is what counts for evidence about the correct text of the Bible.

My Evidence:

As a form of address, γυνή was used in Koine Greek in speaking politely to a female person: ὦ γύναι, μεγάλη σου ἡ πίστις ‘Lady, your faith is great’ Mt 15:28. In Jn 2:4 Jesus uses γυνή to address his mother courteously. In a number of languages it would be totally impossible to have Jesus address his mother merely as ‘woman.’ To do so in some languages would imply that Jesus was denying that Mary was his mother. In other languages, such an expression would imply that Jesus was calling his mother a prostitute or evil person. Accordingly, in a number of languages there is simply no other way in which Jesus could address his mother than as ‘mother’ or ‘my mother.’
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 107–108). New York: United Bible Societies.
I have cited above from one of the highest regarded authorities exactly what the case is regarding the use of “woman” in John 2:4.
Another way to demonstrate or actually prove that the expression “woman” was used as a very respectful way to address a lady in the language used at the time of Jesus is to share with you the cross references for this passage to equivalent uses of this term elsewhere in the New Testament:
John 4:21
21  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
King James Version
John 19:26-27
26  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
King James Version
John 20:13
13  And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
King James Version
Matthew 15:28
28  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
King James Version
A careful consideration of each of the above passages from the New Testament will conclusively show that “woman” was a form of highest respect at the time these words were spoken.

The question raised by the Muslim poster actually involves a very interesting issue illustrating the importance of my Rules of Interpretation posted on this site in the October, 2010 Archives featured and linked immediately to the right on this page. Here is the relevant rule:

(17). Interpret a passage in the light of its cultural and historical context and setting (2 S 5:23 n; Psa 84:6; Isa 42:3 n; Mar 11:13 n, Mar 11:20 n ).

Note that the parenthetical cross references given for Rule 17 are to illustrative notes in my newest published Bible study tool, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury. Each note or passage is an education in itself.

If you enjoy reading and studying the Bible, you should procure for yourself my newest work of cross references. It is available exclusively for the free Bible study software called e-Sword, available at, where it is featured as a premium module for that program. Once you have installed the e-Sword Bible software on your PC or other device, “clicking” on “downloads” at the top of your screen will open a drop-down list; select “commentaries,” and scroll to the bottom of that list, where you will find my work is the fifth title up from the bottom, “The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury.” Click on that title, and you will be taken to where my work can be purchased.

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