Did THREE wise men
Question: Does the Bible clearly state that THREE wise men came to visit and worship Jesus after he was born?
Answer: There are many ideas connected to the birth of Jesus that are simply not true and not in the Bible! There is much regarding Christ's nativity that is wrapped up in tradition, folklore, and custom. Such is the case with the common assumption that only THREE wise men (important people from Parthia) visited Jesus after his birth.
Countless Christmas-related books, paintings, Sunday school lessons, posters, church bulletins, displays in stores, TV programs, Xmas decorations and so on show three (usually odd dressed) men - each one with one gift - in front of a manger where baby Jesus rests. Although many times well intentioned, such depictions only add to the confusion and misunderstandings surrounding our Savior.
Since the Bible is silent regarding the number of Magi, many theologians and church members have ASSUMED a one-to-one correlation between the number of gifts and those giving them. This amounts to nothing more than a guess. The belief that three people came to worship the Lord is a classic example of a speculation or theory (like the idea of evolution) made to seem like fact through its consistent repetition.
We must remember that Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, really was born in Bethlehem long ago. This part of the story is not custom and tradition. The scripture concerning your question is found in the Gospel of Matthew. This is the place where the idea concerning how many wise men came to worship the Lord is derived. Matthew is the only Gospel writer that mentions them traveling a great distance to see Jesus soon after his birth.
Matthew states that after Jesus' birth Magi visit Herod the Great to inquire exactly where Jesus is located. Herod, however, does not have a clue himself as to where he is. After leaving Jerusalem without an answer, the wise men see a star that leads them to where they need to go.
11. And when they (the men from Parthia) had come into the house (notice Jesus was NOT visited in some stable or manger!), they found the little child with Mary His mother, and they bowed down and worshiped Him; then they opened their treasures and presented their gifts to Him - gold and frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2)