Was Jesus a carpenter?

Jesus' earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter. We know this from the account of when Jesus began teaching in His hometown of Nazareth and His neighbors wondered at His abilities.

Matthew 13:54–55 says, "Coming to his hometown [Jesus] taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, 'Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?'"

In Mark's Gospel, a bit of different language appears to describe this same encounter: "'Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?' And they took offense at him" (Mark 6:3).

The word in both accounts that is translated "carpenter," could also mean builder or handyman. So it is possible that "carpenters" were the type of people you called when something needed to be fixed, whether made of wood, stone, or some other material. It is also possible a "carpenter" functioned as a type of civil engineer, possibly even designing bridges or other structures. We don't know for sure that Jesus was trained as a carpenter by Joseph, but it was common practice at that time and at that place.

How amazing to think that Jesus—the creator of the universe, our Savior and Lord, the Word of God, the Son of God—was taught to build things with the very materials He spoke into existence. How even more amazing that He is currently building His church (Matthew 16:18) and preparing a place for all who put their faith in Him (John 14:1–3).

Related Truth:

What do we know about the real, historical Jesus? Who is Jesus?

Why doesn't the Bible say much about Jesus' childhood?

Where was Joseph during Jesus' adulthood?

Was Jesus a Jew?

What is the difference between knowing about Jesus and actually knowing Him?

Return to:
Truth about Jesus Christ

Subscribe to the CompellingTruth.org Newsletter:

Preferred Bible Version:

CompellingTruth.org is part of Got Questions Ministries

For answers to your Bible questions, please visit