Some people debate the actual method Jesus was crucified. Some suggest Jesus was nailed to the cross by his hands. Others are skeptical and suggest instead He was probably nailed to the cross by His wrists. This article will discuss both of these methods, and provide a possible solution/explanation.
Was Jesus Nailed to the Cross by His Hands or Wrists?
Some people suggest Jesus was in fact nailed to the cross by his hands. The main reason is because the scripture uses the word “hands” within the New Testament accounts.
For example, it says this in John 20:27:
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
So it does indeed say “hands” in the translation, and Thomas literally touches them.
Others are skeptical and suggest that if Jesus was nailed by his hands, the weight would not have supported it, and the nails would have ripped out of his hands (or the hand bones would have broken).
How Jesus Could Have Been Nailed by the Hands:
Even though some suggest the hands couldn’t support the weight, this may not be entirely true. The bones on the hand are relatively strong, and Jesus (being a carpenter), would have had very tough muscles and bones in his hand. So it is feasible that he was actually nailed through the palm region, and it could have held him for the few hours he was there.
Furthermore, many movies and pictures depict Jesus as being further supported by his wrists by being tied to the cross. So the weight wouldn’t have totally been focused on his hands alone, and the rope would have provided the majority of the support since it would have been tied around the wrist or lower arm region. This was depicted on the film “The Passion of the Christ.” His hands would have just been pierced to keep them stationary, but his arms and weight would have been supported by the ropes.
So those two solutions alone are more than adequate to assume that there is a reasonable and logical way that Jesus could have been nailed to the cross by his hands.
Could Jesus Have Been Nailed by His Wrists to the Cross?
Likewise, it is just as plausible that Jesus could have been nailed by the wrists. There is evidence to suggest it COULD have happened this way just as easily.
For example, the Shroud of Turin (the cloth thought to be the burial cloth of Jesus), depicts bleeding at the wrists just below the hand. If this is indeed the cloth of Jesus (and we will
never know for sure whether it is or not), this is the best evidence to show that it could have been the wrists.
Also, some suggest that nailing through the top part of the wrist bones (the ulna and radius bones), would provide much more support. In fact, it could have definitely supported his entire body. Some even suggest that most crucifixions were performed in this manner.
But what about the scripture? The Bible says several times that Jesus “hands” were pierced, and that Thomas even sticks his finger in them. What about that? Does that prove it was his hands instead of his wrists that were nailed?
Not necessarily. The key to unlocking that potential mystery is the original language used (Greek). The original Greek word used in these scriptures was χείρ (or transliterated as “cheir”).
This word is used in the Greek very often to not only mean “hand,” but it can mean anything in proximity to the hand (fingers, the wrist, etc.). So this word could easily have meant wrist, hand, or finger. Especially considering the fact that he would have been pierced just below the hand where the ulna and radius bone meet.
Therefore, it would not be inaccurate scripturally to assume the Greek word used could have referred to his wrist. There are several instances, where wrist is translated from “χείρ” in books such as the septuagint.
So Was Jesus Crucified & Nailed by His Wrists or Hands?
We may never know on this side of eternity whether or not Jesus was nailed by His wrists or actual hands. It could have been his hands, or it could have been his wrists according to the Greek word used.
Either way, the way Jesus was crucified doesn’t really matter. The important thing to remember is that Jesus Christ died so that you may have life. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior? If not, I urge you to place your total faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive forgiveness for your sins.