Did Jesus have a wife? It’s a question experts, researchers and believers have debated for years.

A new study may point toward “yes.”

Researchers at Columbia University have started running new tests on the highly controversial papyrus text, called the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife,” which may validate its authenticity, according to The Independent.

The fragment, which is no bigger than a business card, allegedly includes a line that has Jesus saying “my wife” and referencing a disciple named “Mary.”

Early tests on the ink by Columbia University have revealed that it could be the gospel of Mary Magdalene written in ancient times, even though the ink differs from the one used on the John papyrus, LiveScience reported.

"In our first exploration, we did state that the inks used for the two documents of interest [the John papyrus and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife] were quite different. The more recent results do confirm this observation strongly," Columbia research scientist James Yardley told Live Science.

Other research has also found that the document may not have been written during the same time — or with the same characteristics — other biblical texts were written.

Last year, German researcher Christian Askeland said that carbon dating on the fragment showed it was written 1,200 years ago in Coptic, an Egyptian language that went extinct 1,500 years ago, and that it wasn’t written during biblical times, according to The Independent.

Because of the debate over the text’s authenticity, Yardley said it’s important not to take Columbia’s new study too seriously yet.

The papyrus first made headlines in 2012 when Harvard University professor Karen King discovered the text, which she said dated back to the fourth century, according to The New York Times.

King first received the papyrus from its previous owner, a German, in 2011 while working at the Harvard Divinity School, The Times reported. King immediately took it to papyrologists, who studied the authenticity of the text.

Other researchers, such as Ariel Shisha-Halevy, who works at Hebrew University, were consulted to study the text’s language and grammar to assess its authenticity, according to The Times.

“I believe — on the basis of language and grammar — the text is authentic,” she told The Times.

King, much like other researchers, said people shouldn’t be quick to take the text as fact, though, because it was probably written decades after Jesus had died, The Times reported.

Still, she told The Times it’s exciting to think that Jesus may have had a wife.

Mary Magdalene’s existence and role in Jesus’ life have been heavily debated in recent years. In fact, CNN’s “Finding Jesus” TV documentary series earlier this year had an episode dedicated to the Gospel of Mary, in which experts speculated whether the papyrus paper was authentic.

Similarly, 2014 book “The Lost Gospel” made the case that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and had two children, according to ABC News. The authors’ research was based on ancient texts, ABC News reported.

For more on faith:

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This man’s name means 'God,' and he’s being asked to change it

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret News National. Send him an email at hscribner@deseretdigital.com or follow him on Twitter @herbscribner.