Q. My husband told me today that he was watching some rerun of a news show on the internet and a “biblical scholar” (who, I don’t know) said that Jesus and Joseph weren’t necessarily carpenters. The original language of the Bible said they “worked with their hands” and that could mean mason, carpenter… Do you know what the correct translation is? I think my husband feels that our Bible translations can’t be trusted if the original translators didn’t get it right. Thank you so much!
A. Tell your husband not to worry. Jesus was called the carpenter’s son in the Bible twice, in Matt. 13:55 and Mark 6:3. The same Greek word was used in both cases, and its primary meaning is “a worker in wood, a carpenter.”
While there is a sense in which the word can be defined more generally, such as builder or craftsman, there’s no valid reason to doubt the accuracy of the Bible’s claim about Joseph and Jesus.