Skip to comments.Brothers of Jesus: Biblical Arguments for Mary’s Virginity
Posted on 05/31/2014 4:33:21 PM PDT by narses
In my previous article, I wrote about the Hebraic use of the Greek adelphos: as applying to cousins, fellow countrymen, and a wide array of uses beyond the meaning of sibling. Yet it is unanimously translated as brother in the King James Version (KJV): 246 times. The cognate adelphe is translated 24 times only as sister. This is because it reflects Hebrew usage, translated into Greek. Briefly put, in Jesus Hebrew culture (and Middle Eastern culture even today), cousins were called brothers.
Brothers or Cousins?
Now, its true that sungenis (Greek for cousin) and its cognate sungenia appear in the New Testament fifteen times (sungenia: Lk 1:61; Acts 7:3, 14; sungenis: Mk 6:4; Lk 1:36, 58; 2:44; 14:12; 21:16; Jn 18:26; Acts 10:24; Rom 9:3; 16:7, 11, 21). But they are usually translated kinsmen, kinsfolk, or kindred in KJV: that is, in a sense wider than cousin: often referring to the entire nation of Hebrews. Thus, the eminent Protestant linguist W. E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, lists sungenis not only under Cousin but also under Kin, Kinsfolk, Kinsman, Kinswoman.
In all but two of these occurrences, the authors were either Luke or Paul. Luke was a Greek Gentile. Paul, though Jewish, was raised in the very cosmopolitan, culturally Greek town of Tarsus. But even so, both still clearly used adelphos many times with the meaning of non-sibling (Lk 10:29; Acts 3:17; 7:23-26; Rom 1:7, 13; 9:3; 1 Thess 1:4). They understood what all these words meant, yet they continued to use adelphos even in those instances that had a non-sibling application.
Strikingly, it looks like every time St. Paul uses adelphos (unless I missed one or two), he means it as something other than blood brother or sibling. He uses the word or related cognates no less than 138 times in this way. Yet we often hear about Galatians 1:19: James the Lords brother. 137 other times, Paul means non-sibling, yet amazingly enough, here he must mean sibling, because (so we are told) he uses the word adelphos? That doesnt make any sense.
Some folks think it is a compelling argument that sungenis isnt used to describe the brothers of Jesus. But they need to examine Mark 6:4 (RSV), where sungenis appears:
And Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. (cf. Jn 7:5: For even his brothers did not believe in him)
What is the context? Lets look at the preceding verse, where the people in his own country (6:1) exclaimed: 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. It can plausibly be argued, then, that Jesus reference to kin (sungenis) refers (at least in part) back to this mention of His brothers and sisters: His relatives. Since we know that sungenis means cousins or more distant relatives, that would be an indication of the status of those called Jesus brothers.
What about Jude and James?
Jude is called the Lords brother in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. If this is the same Jude who wrote the epistle bearing that name (as many think), he calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James (Jude 1:1). Now, suppose for a moment that he was Jesus blood brother. In that case, he refrains from referring to himself as the Lords own sibling (while we are told that such a phraseology occurs several times in the New Testament, referring to a sibling relationship) and chooses instead to identify himself as James brother. This is far too strange and implausible to believe.
Moreover, James also refrains from calling himself Jesus brother, in his epistle (James 1:1: servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ): even though St. Paul calls him the Lords brother (Gal 1:19: dealt with above). Its true that Scripture doesnt come right out and explicitly state that Mary was a perpetual virgin. But nothing in Scripture contradicts that notion, and (to say the same thing another way) nothing in the perpetual virginity doctrine contradicts Scripture. Moreover, no Scripture can be produced that absolutely, undeniably, compellingly defeats the perpetual virginity of Mary. Human Tradition
The alleged disproofs utterly fail in their purpose. The attempted linguistic argument against Marys perpetual virginity from the mere use of the word brothers in English translations (and from sungenis) falls flat at every turn, as we have seen.
If there is any purely human tradition here, then, it is the denial of the perpetual virginity of Mary, since it originated (mostly) some 1700 years after the initial apostolic deposit: just as all heresies are much later corruptions. The earliest Church fathers know of no such thing. To a person, they all testify that Mary was perpetually a virgin, and indeed, thought that this protected the doctrine of the Incarnation, as a miraculous birth from a mother who was a virgin before, during and after the birth.
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Woman, there is your son...son, there is your mother. And from then on, John took her into his care. Wouldn’t have been necessary if she had sons to take care her...
So Mary and Joseph were never married?
How does that question pop into the discussion?
BINGO!!! The one sentence that blows it out of the park.
Well, if Mary remained a virgin, then she never consummated her marriage with Joseph. Thus two never became one in the grander scheme of things.
No where is there any Gospel that suggests that Mary ever had sex.
You seem hung up an the sex ACT itself.
Mary was not an incarnation (rehash) of a Pagan Godess.
She was a humble servant of God, and favored above all other women because God chose her to bring bring about The fleshly manifestation of God — Jesus!
As such, this does NOT require Mary remain a virgin AFTER the birth of Jesus.
In other words the divinity of Jesus is NOT attacked by the humanity of Mary.
Indeed the divinity of Jesus is derived from the father (God, though the Holy Spirit).
It seems sin is inherited or visited upon the children through the father, not the maternal side. (there are scriptures to this point). Thus since the father is God, Jesus can come into the world sinless. Mary not need be sinless her entire life to be the vessel that bore Jesus. However Mary was indeed a virgin we know at least until Jesus was born. Since the bible indicates Jesus had brothers, we can deduce that Joseph was the father of Jesus’s siblings.
This in no way impugns the nature of Jesus, or Mary.
It would sure SEEM as if they wed, because they were living together as man and wife 12 years after Christ’s BIRTH, when the family went to Jerusalem and, after leaving for home, left Him behind. I cannot for the life of me fathom how a man would marry a woman, then not have marital relations with her for over 12-15 years or more. They both were normal human beings, after all. This belief in her perpetual virginity makes ZERO sense to me, just as so much of the RC doctrine does.
From the viewpoint of one who reads Scripture and has a reasonable amount of good sense and curiosity, such things as praying to Mary or anyone else but God Himself, or not KNOWING FOR SURE THAT YOU ARE SAVED, SACTIFIED AND SURE OF YOUR PLACE IN HEAVEN WHEN GOD CALLS YOUR NAME run absolutely COUNTER to God’s Own, sure Words. I have yet to find these things in my 3-4 favorite English translations, but I have another 35 to go through yet. If anyone can point me to book, chapter and verse, as well as version, I would be ever so grateful.
Did say that Yashua had brothers - i.e. “James, the brother of Yashua” ... where did he come from????
“As such, this does NOT require Mary remain a virgin AFTER the birth of Jesus.”
Nor does it REQUIRE her to lose her virginity.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
Ecce enim ex hoc beátam
me dicent omnes generatiónes,
quia fecit mihi magna,
qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericórdia eius in progénies
et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo,
dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;
depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum,
sicut locútus est ad patres nostros,
Ábraham et sémini eius in sæcula.
Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum.
She became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as pass man’s understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child . . . Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God . . . None can say of her nor announce to her greater things, even though he had as many tongues as the earth possesses flowers and blades of grass: the sky, stars; and the sea, grains of sand. It needs to be pondered in the heart what it means to be the Mother of God.
(Commentary on the Magnificat, 1521; in Luther’s Works, Pelikan et al, vol. 21, 326)
That reading thing again. Try reading the article. It will answer your question. Really!
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS -Matthew 1:25
James the brother of Jesus is named in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, along with three other brothers (Joseph [or “Joses”], Simon and Judas [Jude]) ...
Boy, you Catholics love to major in the minors.
Mary also said “Since I do not know man”, I believe the different interpretations from the original verse would have some assert she meant she would never know man.
Also, the Orthodox seem to think that God, Jesus, Son of God, came from a sacred place, hence, Mary did not have run-of-the-mill sex after the birth of Jesus.
James the cousin you mean, unless you are confused and think that the Bible was written by King James?
I have no strong opinion about this, but it seems to me that Matthew 1:25 at least suggests it. It would be odd to say that Joseph refrained from having sex with Mary until after the birth of Jesus, if he continued to refrain afterward as well. If he never consummated the marriage, then that's what it would make sense to say.
“That he had siblings indicates Mary did not remain a virgin.”
No, first it is most likely — as the article lays out in easy to read english - that the original text used the word that can easily translate, and in context does translate as “cousin” not “brother”. Even if he had siblings, they could easily have been from a prior marriage by Joseph.
Since it was accepted truth for the first aeon and a half of the Christian Era that Mary was a Virgin, I accept the Church view and reject the heretical proddie view.
That's just it. In the Bible, I can understand the arguments about brothers versus cousins. And I can understand the argument about the verb where "Joseph didn't know his wife until she gave birth". Either way, perpetual virgin or virgin until she gave birth but not after, they both can be argued from the Biblical passages.
But I can't understand throwing out the heresy word. A heresy is a belief against a core doctrine of the Christian faith. Read the creed, Jesus was "born of the virgin Mary". There is no core doctrine about what happened with Mary afterwards. It's not about Mary...
Additionally, the angel told Joseph not to worry about taking Mary as his bride. If the marriage was never consummated, was it really a valid marriage? So Joseph could have asked for an annulment?
But either way, it does not impact my salvation.
Nope. James. The brother of Yashua. Matthew 13:55 - doesn’t say cousin. Says brother. Not brother in Christ, but brother. Also mentions His sisters.
Limbo by Sister Mary Ada, OSJ
The ancient grayness shifted
Suddenly and thinned
Like mist upon the moors Before a wind.
An old, old prophet lifted
A shining face and said:
He will be coming soon.
The Son of God is dead;
He died this afternoon.
A murmurous excitement stirred
They wondered if they dreamed
Save one old man who seemed
Not even to have heard.
And Moses, standing,
Hushed them all to ask
If any had a welcome song prepared.
If not, would David take the task?
And if they cared
Could not the three young children sing
The Benedicite, the canticle of praise
They made when God kept them from perishing
In the fiery blaze?
A breath of spring surprised them,
Stilling Moses words.
No one could speak, remembering
The first fresh flowers,
The little singing birds.
Still others thought of fields new ploughed
Or apple trees
Or some, the way a dried bed fills
Laughing down green hills.
The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam
On bright blue seas.
The one old man who had not stirred
And there He was
Splendid as the morning sun and fair
As only God is fair.
And they, confused with joy,
Knelt to adore
Seeing that He wore Five crimson stars
He never had before.
No canticle at all was sung
None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song,
A silent man alone
Of all that throng
Not any other.
Close to His heart
When the embrace was done,
Old Joseph said,
How is Your Mother,
How is Your Mother, Son?
You just can’t refrain from the name calling. What, are you 12? I will not participate in discussions with you. Have a good night.
I would suggest you go back and re-read your thread title. Then you might discover who is really hung up on the 'sex act'.
I happen to believe that the 'sex act' was created by God as a way for a husband and wife to celebrate their covenant with each other and God. There is nothing wrong or dirty or unpure about it. It is what God intended.
You beat me to it. In verse 20, the angel of the Lord says, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife”.
It’s not written in English either.
That is why the Roman Catholics will follow their cult into the jaws of hell!
They call Scripture quotes heretical and use derisive language to define those who believe the Scripture unto Salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ, as led by His Holy Spirit!
Cults always declare they hold the truth, but rat poison is 90% food, and 10% poison that kills!
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Note also how it refers to Jesus specifically as Mary's "firstborn" - not 'only born'.
“Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.”
So are we saying we know the firstborn donkey had brother and sister donkeys?? Or was that how the language was used?
” The “first-born of the poor” signifies the most miserable of the poor ( Isaiah 14:30 ). The “church of the first-born” signifies the church of the redeemed.
The destruction of the first-born was the last of the ten plagues inflicted on the Egyptians ( Exodus 11:1-8 ; Exodus 12:29 Exodus 12:30 ). “
Maybe First-Born has a rather expanded meaning.
Yeah it kind of blows away the whole argument. This is why we can’t have nice things, guys.
Exactly. The angel was very clear in calling Mary most blessed among women. I don't believe that being a wife to her husband took anything away from that.
*sigh* You know it’s we Jews that brought Christianity to the world. And we we’ve been tormented, abused and murdered over the centuries for it. I don’t care what you believe about what you believe, be it in any language you prefer. If Mathews writes that James was the brother of Yashua then he was the brother. You can interpret that any way you wish it doesn’t alter the fact.
Also, in Hebrew culture, Joseph and Mary were considered “married” when they were betrothed and were allowed conjugal visits before they actually lived together as man and wife.
This is why Joseph considered “divorce” when he found out Mary was with child. Because Joseph knew he had not slept with Mary, God sent an angel to tell him of what had happened and to warn him to take the child to Egypt, as the Lord knew many were already looking for the coming Messiah.
This quirk of Hebrew law about couples sleeping together also was the reason no one questioned Mary's pregnancy as anything out of the ordinary (though her sister in law Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, obviously knew something was up when her baby leapt in her womb when Mary came near.)
Finally, Mary was in the upper room at Pentecost.
This showed that she knew
1. that she was a sinner just as the rest of us
2. She understood that the Old Covenant had passed away with the tearing of the Temple Curtain before the Holiest of Holies when her Son died on the Cross nearby at Calvary.. Mary understood her life and her Son were the sign of the coming Messianic Age of the New Covenant.
Mary knew that she needed to await the infilling of the Holy Spirit, as the Old Covenant was over, and so she awaited the fulfillment of the Old Covenant promises of Pentecost — as Peter quoted the Jewish Prophet Joel:
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh;
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
your young men shall see visions:
For Peter to have full understanding of why Joel's prophecy was happening that day at Pentecost meant that Peter had overcome all of his troubling experiences with the Lord, when the Lord was on earth.
Right after Jesus commended Peter for saying He was the Christ (flesh and blood hath not revealed that to you, but the Father in Heaven) Jesus rebuked Peter strongly for being a mouthpiece of Satan.
This was because Peter was thinking it was not good for Jesus to go to the Cross, and Jesus rightly saw that Satan was making Peter think like a man in the flesh, not the way the Father would think.
At Pentecost, Peter understood it all, why Jesus rebuked him as he spoke for Satan (BTW, there goes the idea that Peter was the first “pope” as he was obviously not infallible!) and understood that the Cross was at the apex of all history. Peter as well as Mary understood that they had been part of the transitioning of Old Covenant to the New Covenant and looked forward to that Messianic Age when instead of men having to be outwardly conformed to the Law, “the Lord would write the Law on their hearts”.
Mary's presence in the upper room with the disciples signifies much more than we realize. It is so cool!
I would think so, Luke 1:48, "all generations shall call me (Mary) blessed".
The Canticle of Mary, Luke 1:48 etc. really does tell all, “All Generations Will Call Me Blessed”, yes, so all religions that purport to be Christian should but they simply don’t unless once caught out on this issue, grudgingly acknowledge it.
The clear meaning of this scripture speaks for itself. Anyone that wishes to persuade people that Mary and Joseph remained celibate for years and years have the burden of proof (not the other way around). In fact we are explictly warned not to make up scripture.
Does the RCC believe that sex within a marriage covenant makes you unrighteous?
Break out your Bibles and study the messianic Psalms.
The words of Jesus prophesized 1,000 years before Christ
Psalm 69 8
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.
What a coincidence! That was the exact same aeon and a half where the Church prevented the Bible from getting into the hands of the common Christian.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, (His fellow Jews) and an alien unto my mothers children. Now theres one group of people that dont like that verse. And who are they?
Well, the Roman Catholics are just exercised by the thought that Jesus had physical brothers. Yes, Mary and Joseph had sons beyond Christ. She was just a human mother. She wasnt the mother of God. She was the mother of human beings. So here is a good verse to show these people. That He is an alien unto my mothers (Marys) children.
Now stop and think. When did the family of Joseph and Mary recognize and believe who Jesus was? Not until after, I think, His crucifixion. Hey, they detested Him just as much as anybody else in Nazareth for the longest time. But I think they finally came to believe that He was who He said He was. So its evident that Joseph and Mary had other children after Christ was born (Matthew 13:55-56). All right, read it again.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, (His fellow Jews. His family) and an alien (He was a castoff.) unto my mothers children. (Who would have been His physical brothers. Half brothers!) 9. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. In other words, all the anger of Israel in rebellion against the Grace of Godthey heaped on Him with their scorn and their ridicule and their demand in that He be crucified.
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. 11. I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them. Now whats He referring to? Did He walk up and down the streets and highways of Israel in the apparel of the kings and queens? NO! But what? As almost one who had nothing.
And I think He put it best when He said that birds have nests and animals have dens but He does not have a place to lay His head. See, He was absolutely the poorest of the poor from the physical aspect, so that no one could use that as an excuse for rejecting Him. He was right on their level, and yet, they hated Him. Verse 11 again:
> “Maybe First-Born has a rather expanded meaning.” <
Someone else alluded to ‘firstborn’. I haven’t investigated that. My comments concerned a different part of the passage.
“How does that question pop into the discussion?”
Mary and Joseph were married, but hew never copulated with her? That is a bunch of baldersash!
Concur, that is scriptural evidence
“Strikingly, it looks like every time St. Paul uses adelphos (unless I missed one or two), he means it as something other than blood brother or sibling. He uses the word or related cognates no less than 138 times in this way.”
This is a deliberately deceptive statement. Paul normally uses ‘brother’ to mean the spiritual brother, and that in turn does not mean the spiritual cousin. Here is a sample of his use of brother:
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.
It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.
Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother.
Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
When discussing our brothers in Christ, Paul was a monotheist. In John we read, “ But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God...”
It is in this sense Paul usually uses “brother”. If we have ONE father, then we are “brothers”. If we have multiple fathers but are related, we are “cousins”. Thus Paul’s use is that of brother, not cousin - the sons of one father!
Dave Armstrong’s statement is deliberately misleading. If you want to know the truth, seek it in scripture rather than getting it second hand from someone who does not honor the truth.
Since Psalm 69:5 reads:
“5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee”
Are you also contending that Jesus sinned?
So it wasn’t a big deal that Mary bore the Sacred Son of God and Salvation to all mankind?