Skip to comments.Mary of Nazareth As The Bible Defines Her
Posted on 12/20/2010 5:58:54 PM PST by kindred
Monday, This study seeks to present from God's Holy Word what the Bible teaches about Mary of Nazareth, the young Jewish virgin that bore the Messiah, the Savior of the World. In this study we will seek to look at EVERY Bible verse found in the Holy Scriptures that pertains to Mary of Nazareth. Be sure to check out all the links for this study, for they will provide a deeper perspective into the person of Mary.
Introduction . In beginning this study, the clarifying statement should be made that the Bible, Gods infallible (reliable) and immaculate (perfect) Word, is the FINAL AUTHORITY when it comes to ALL matters pertaining to the truth of Christianity, which includes Mary (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16).
The Lord Jesus Christ gave countless warnings to BEWARE false teachers and false teachings. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man DECEIVE YOU (Gospel of Saint Matthew 24:4).
Saint Paul also warned us to BEWARE of false teachings and fables. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
Many dear, sincere people trust for their eternal destiny in observing "Christian traditions," performing "good works" and having a "denominational upbringing" instead of BELIEVING and TRUSTING the Word of Almighty God (2 Tim. 3:14-4:5). The Lord Jesus issued serious warnings about practicing the vain traditions of men instead of holding to the sound eternal absolutes and spiritual laws found in Almighty God's Holy Word (St. Matt. 7:21-23).
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (St. Mark 7:7-9).
Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (St. Matthew 15:6b-9).
We also read in God's Word about the positive example of the Bereans. They (The Bereans)received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed" (Acts 17:11b-12a). Again, God's Word is the ABSOLUTE FINAL authority when it comes to any subject or teaching found in Christianity. The Bible states in regard to God's Word: For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). . Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever (Psalm 119:160). Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (St. Matthew 24:35).
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thess. 2:13).
He that is of God heareth God's words (St. John 8:47). May it be your sincere desire not to allow your own feelings to cloud your reason regarding this very delicate subject relating to Mary of Nazareth. By having faith in Almighty God (Heb. 11:6), i.e., by believing on God and His Word, may the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth (St. John 16:12-13). Whatever your thoughts, traditions or teachings about Mary (or Miriam in the Hebrew) of Nazareth, they MUST be defined by and align themselves with the Holy Scriptures. Again, the objective of this study is to present what God's Holy Word, the Bible, teaches about Mary of Nazareth.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).
The Humanity of Mary
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate (to look with pity on her vile condition) of his handmaiden (slave): for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation (St. Luke 1:45-49).
Mary offered a burnt offering and a sin offering for an atonement after her purification (Leviticus 12:1-8). And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons (St. Luke 2:22-24). . These passages reveal that Mary was a sinner in need of a Savior!
The Use of the Term "Woman" by the Lord Jesus in Regard to Mary
Nowhere in the New Testament is there found the occasion where the Lord Jesus called His "human" mother Mary, "Mother." We only find that He called her "Woman" (St. John 2:1-4; 19:25-27). There are distinctions given by the Gospel writers (2 Peter 1:20-21) that reveal Mary as the mother of Jesus human nature, but again the term "mother" was never used by Jesus when addressing Mary. We have absolutely NO record of that. Mary was a created being and the Lord Jesus was the Eternal Creator (St. John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-3). This practice was not belittling to motherhood in general or derogatory to Mary herself in any way, shape or form. The Lord Jesus was helping Mary to understand that the Son of her womb was actually the Son of the Highest sent from Heaven above (St. John 1:1-14; Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2). Mary had only given birth to PROVIDE a human body to house the Eternal Person of the Son of God for His great mission here on planet earth (St. John 1:14; Heb. 2:14-15; 10:5, 12:1-3). n, Image Example: (Click links below for a visual image) . The Lord Jesus (The Son of Almighty God) - Click for link . Adam's fallen race which included Mary (Romans 5:12-19). - Clink for link , Jesus was (and is) the Perfect Son of God (St. John 1:1-3), God in the flesh (St. John 1:14) and the Savior of the World - including all humanity and even Mary (St. Luke 1:45-49). This title of "woman" was a constant reminder to and for Mary (Miriam) that Jesus was absolutely different and holy (perfect and set apart). Jesus was not like any of her other children or any other of Adam's IMPERFECT fallen race (St. Luke 1:31-32; Rom. 5:12-19). He was the PERFECT Son of Almighty God dwelling in a PERFECT human body (St. John 8:46; 1 Peter 3:18). The heavenly assignment given to Mary by Almighty God would not be an easy one, as the Holy Scriptures tell us. , And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart (St. Luke 2:18-19).
And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (St. Luke 2:34-35).
And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Fathers business? And they understood not the saying which he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart (St. Luke 2:48-51).
And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother (Mark 3:35).
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mothers sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home(St. John 19:25-27). . (This last passage is pertinent to understanding why Jesus used the term "woman" when addressing Mary, i.e., to communicate that his relationship with his earthly mother would not be permanent, only temporary.)
The Virgin-Born Birth of The Savior of the World . And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy (Lucifer's) seed and her (Eve's, later Mary's) seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:13-15).
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (St. Matthew 1:20-23).
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:31-35). . But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law (Gal 4:4). . Almighty God (the Father) BYPASSED the seed of fallen man by the POWER and OVERSHADOWING of the Holy Spirit (St. Luke 1:35). This Divine action PREVENTED the fallen traits and corruption of Adam's FALLEN race (Gen. 5:3; Romans 3:23; 5:12-19) from CONTAMINATING the PERFECT housing (body of flesh) for the Person of the Son of God to tangibly dwell here on planet earth (Micah 5:2; St. Luke 1:35; St. John 1:14; Heb. 10:5; 1 Peter 1:19). . Image Example: (Click links below for a visual image) .. The Lord Jesus (The Son of Almighty God). - Click for link . Adam's fallen race which included Mary (Romans 5:12-19). - Click for link ' The Non-Perpetual Virginity of Mary after the Lord Jesus' Birth . Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together (i.e., had intimate physical relations), she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 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 (refers to sexual intimacy of the God-ordained marital union) till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS (St. Matthew 1:18-25).
And she brought forth her firstborn (implies the first with more following after) son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (St. Luke 2:7).
Mary and Joseph's Children
I am become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother's children (Psalm 69:8). . And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenters son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? (Matthew 13:53-55). . When the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him (St. Mark 6:1-3).
After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days (St. John 2:12). . His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come (St. John 7:3-8).
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts 1:13-14).
There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother (St. Mark 3:31-35).
And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid (St. Mark 15:47).
And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him (St. Mark 16:1).
Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus (Matthew 27:56-58).
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lords brother (Galatians 1:19).
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied (St. Jude 1:1-2).
The Book of James and the Book of Jude were written by the half-brothers of Jesus, i.e., Marys children fathered by Joseph. Also, James the half-brother of Jesus was one of the early leaders of the Church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13-21).
Mary's Life after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ . During the crucifixion of Christ on the cross, John is given guardianship of Mary and her family by her firstborn son, Jesus.
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mothers sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home (St. John 19:26-27).
"Mary and her family were present with the disciples at Pentecost and were also included with the Church at Jerusalem." / And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (Acts 1:13, 14)
NOTE: All words in bold print in the following section refer directly to the disciples (including Mary).
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord (including Mary) in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-4). . And they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2:42-47).
"Mary died in Christ and shall be changed at Christ's coming for the Church at the Rapture" - Link
NOTE: All words in bold print in the following section refer to "church age" believers (including Mary).
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (children) of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons (children) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure (1 John 3:1-3).
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22:1-5).
The Scripture verses presented here consisted of ALL the scripture verses that mention Mary of Nazareth. The many traditions of Mary - her intercessory prayers, her immaculate birth and sinless life (or state of perfection), her perpetual virginity, her ascension into Heaven, her immaculate heart, etc. are NOWHERE TO BE FOUND in the Holy Scriptures. Relatively speaking, very little is mentioned about Mary in the New Testament. These false doctrines, teachings, fables and traditions passed down through the centuries have originated and been enlarged upon by the traditions of men and the Catholic Church. These fables were not given by Almighty God. In fact, these teachings contradict the Holy Scriptures and its divine authority. They are at the very heart of Satanic lies and deception.
To again clarify, this study was not done to belittle anyone's personal beliefs, but only to expose the heretical falsehoods pertaining to the church traditions and teachings of Mary of Nazareth. It is our deepest desire to encourage people to BELIEVE the Holy Scriptures and to REJECT any teachings and traditions of men which contradict the Holy Scriptures. May it be your sincere desire to acknowledge Mary as she is; a wonderful and faithful servant of Almighty God (Luke 1:28). As the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, may Jesus Christ ONLY be exalted and lifted up in our hearts and lives.
St. Peter stated in 2 Peter 1: 20-21: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And St. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12-17: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The Bible, Gods infallible and immaculate Word, is the ABSOLUTE and FINAL AUTHORITY for all matters relating to spiritual truth (doctrine) about God, Jesus, sin, salvation, Mary, etc. May it be your sincere desire to be governed by the Holy Scriptures and NOT the traditions of men (St. Matt. 15; St. Mark 7). The true (Biblical) Mary would surely want you to!. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!
When Elizabeth heard Marys greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!
Mary was the mother of Jesus, the 2nd person of the Trinity, the Word made flesh. That’s all I need to know. Thanks be to God.
1 Cor 11 is about discipline and order in the church. Their drunken behavior and lack of concern for others dishonored both Jesus and the Church.
Paul wasn’t saying the bread and wine became the flesh and blood of Jesus, because we are to do it “in remembrance” of Jesus. We are not partaking of the sacrifice of Jesus, for it is not an eternal ongoing sacrifice, as Hebrews points out quite emphatically - and you don’t “remember” something you are doing.
If a football player picks up a game ball he won years ago and remembers, he is NOT playing the game still. He is remembering, as Paul tells the Corinthians to do.
But in their disregard for others, they fail to discern that the church is the body of Christ, and the individuals are the members of one body. It is a recurring theme in 1 Corinthians.
“For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” - 1 Cor 10, ref Ex 17: “6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
Was that water the blood of Christ, or any part of Christ’s body? Of course not, but it was a unifying physical representation of God’s provision for them. They were united together in God’s presence, but the rock was not actually Jesus Christ himself.
Paul goes on in chapter 10 to remind them that the sacrifice of thanksgiving (eucharist) identifies them with and unites them in obedience to Jesus, just as pagans are united to what they worship:
“15I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” - 1 Cor 10
I doubt idol sacrifices are transubstantiated into the flesh of demons, or demon blood. But to partake is to identify with the demons, to join their cause and show submission to them. As Paul says, “That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God.”
The offering is not transubstantiated, but it unites the partakers with their ‘god’.
Chapter 10 finishes with a call to unity:
” 31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”
Chapter 11 continues with concern for proper behavior in the church, covering (forgive the pun) women and then the Lord’s Supper.
Chapter 12 continues on with the unity of the body in spiritual gifts. Chapter after chapter describes our unity as one body, and how we identify ourselves as part of that body.
With the example of pagan sacrifices just about a paragraph earlier, Paul says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
I fail to see how anyone reading this in context would conclude that Paul, for one verse, turns the spiritual uniting of man with God (the parting of the Red Sea, the rock at Horeb, partaking in a common sacrifice and using spiritual gifts to uplift all) into transubstantiation.
“But I don’t see how that advances your case; don’t you see how such behaviour would profane the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, even more than it would profane a sort of “vague, general presence” of Christ in His Church?”
Yet the examples that precede it are examples of a spiritual unifying of the Jews during the exodus, pagans in their sacrifices, and us in remembering the Lord’s death. I fail to see why all the others refer to spiritual connections, while this one sentence suddenly pops out of the text and discusses transubstantiation.
Context. When you have a question about scripture, start by reading the chapters before and after.
“Also: no comments on the quotes from the Early Church? I’ve yet to hear an explanation of why you prefer Luther’s explanation to theirs...”
As Cardinal Newman pointed out, the early church fathers were all over on ‘real presence’, and do NOT support transubstantiation. I see no reason to repeat what I already cited.
Verse 4. And did all drink the same spiritual drink. The idea here is essentially the same as in the previous verse, that they had been highly favoured of God, and enjoyed tokens of the Divine care and guardianship. That was manifested in the miraculous supply of water in the desert, thus showing that they were under the Divine protection, and were objects of the Divine favour. There can be no doubt that by “spiritual drink” here the apostle refers to the water that was made to gush from the rock that was smitten by Moses, Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11. Why this is called “spiritual” has been a subject on which there has been much difference of opinion. It cannot be because there was anything peculiar in the nature of the water, for it was evidently real water, fitted to allay their thirst. There is no evidence, as many have supposed, that there was a reference in this to the drink used in the Lord’s Supper. But it must mean that it was bestowed in a miraculous and supernatural manner; and the word “spiritual” must be used in the sense of supernatural, or that which is immediately given by God. Spiritual blessings thus stand opposed to natural and temporal blessings, and the former denote those which are immediately given by God as an evidence of the Divine favour. That the Jews used the word “spiritual” in this manner is evident from the writings of the Rabbins. Thus they called the manna “spiritual food,” (Yade Mose in Shemor Rabba, fol. 109, 3 ;) and their sacrifices they called “spiritual bread,” (Tzeror Hammor, fol. 93,2.)—Gill. The drink therefore, here referred to, was that bestowed in a supernatural manner, and as a proof of the Divine favour.
For they drank of that spiritual Rock. Of the waters which flowed from that rock. The Rock here is called “spiritual,” not from anything peculiar in the nature of the rock, but because it was the source to them of supernatural mercies, and became thus the emblem and demonstration of the Divine favour, and of spiritual mercies, conferred upon them by God.
Those, therefore, who treated the symbols of his body and blood with profaneness and contempt were united in spirit with those who put him to death. They evinced the same feelings towards the Lord Jesus that his murderers did. They treated him with scorn, profaneness, and derision; and showed that with the same spirit they would have joined in the act of murdering the Son of God. They would evince their hostility to the Saviour himself as far as they could do, by showing contempt for the memorials of his body and blood. The apostle does by no means, however, as I understand him, mean to say that any of the Corinthians had been thus guilty of his body and blood. He does not charge on them this murderous-intention. But he states what is the fair and obvious construction which is to be put on a wanton disrespect for the Lord’s Supper. And the design is to guard them, and all others, against this sin. There can be no doubt that those who celebrate his death in mockery and derision are held guilty of his body and blood. They show that they have the spirit of his murderers; they evince it in the most awful way possible; and they who would thus join in a profane celebration of the Lord’s Supper would have joined in the cry, “Crucify him, crucify him.” For it is a most fearful and solemn act to trifle with sacred things; and especially to hold up to derision and scorn, the bitter sorrows by which the Son of God accomplished the redemption of the world.
This interpretation is consistent with the idea, expressed several times before, that we identify and become one with others by our acts - and we can identify with the Lord’s body, or with his slayers. If we do the latter, is there any reason to doubt that God will judge us?
I’m still hoping to get a break from the craziness of today, to get a fuller reply to you... but for now, let me summarize my thoughts on these points:
1) You appeal repeatedly to a “plain sense of Scripture”, but you don’t seem to realize how subjective a standard that can be, and how question-begging it is. If one faithful, well-informed Christian says (after much prayer and study) that “the plain sense of Scripture is [x]” and another faithful, well-informed Christian says (after much prayer and study) that “the plain sense of Scripture is [not x]”, that creates a bit of a problem which cannot be settled by mere appeals to emotion, to personal preference, or the like (and certainly not by puerile, spiritualized playground taunts of “hard-heartedness” on the part of those who disagree with you).
2) Your appeals to Scripture completely beg the question of the CONTENTS of Scripture. You, as a Protestant, presumably follow the Protestant 66-book canon of Scripture, yes? Why? How do you know that the Letter of James is inspired Scripture (Luther didn’t think it was), and that the Second Book of Maccabees isn’t? “Scripture alone” is helpless to determine the contents of Scripture; surely you can see that?
3) You presume to criticize Catholic teaching, but every attempt you’ve made has proven to be a straw man; you simply don’t have a clear grasp of what you’re trying to refute. E.g. your portrayal of Sacred Tradition as (essentially) a “blank check” which the Vatican can use to “invent” whatever it likes is simply an ad hominem canard, with no proof behind it at all. (To illustrate: since you presume to set yourself up as your own “final authority” for interpreting Scripture, how would that prevent you from interpreting any part of the Bible to mean whatever pleases you—e.g. your denial of the Eucharist, despite overwhelming Biblical proof, the moral unanimity of the Early Church, and 2000 years of Church teaching against your opinion?)
As an example: for me, when Jesus says of the Eucharist, “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”, and the Bible repeats it—clearly, unambiguously, and without qualifiers—(cf. Matthew 26:26ff, Mark 14:22ff, Luke 22:19ff, 1 Corinthians 11:24ff, etc.), I take the “plain sense of Scripture” to mean that the Eucharist (i.e. what used to be bread and wine) is exactly what He says it says: His Body. You don’t, and you proceed to tie yourself into a pretzel trying to explain away what any child could easily see. Jesus took the bread, blessed and broke it, and said, “This is My Body” of the bread of that last Passover Seder; and He said “the Bread that I will give is My Flesh, for the life of the world” (cf John 6:51); and that true teaching is passed on, and on, for 2000 unbroken years, to us who do not find it “too hard of a saying” and refuse to believe (cf. John 6). If Jesus had meant merely to “come to Him and believe”, then He would hardly have allowed most of His disciples to leave Him on the basis of a simple misunderstanding, nor would He have failed to explain the “true meaning” to the Twelve, as in other cases of misunderstood “parables”.
So... you appeal to your own fallible interpretation of a book for whose contents you cannot account (i.e. how did the books of the Bible get chosen, and by whom, and on what authority?), you restrict yourself to that book alone (even when that book does not require such, and you flatly contradict yourself by following that “sola Scriptura” requirement), and you reject the very Church, founded upon St. Peter, Whom Jesus established specifically for the purpose of protecting and carrying on His Revelation (both written and oral), Who has existed in unbroken succession since the time of Christ. Given the above, I hope you’ll understand why I won’t simply take your word for what this-or-that bit of Scripture means.
The Church claims to be infallible in its transmission of the Faith (and has an unbroken continuity of teachings whose core content, while clarified for different ages, has NEVER changed in essence, nor has it ever contradicted itself within); while you claim to be fallible. Can you see why I’d trust the Church, rather than (no offense intended) your own views, or the views of anyone else who presumes to set themselves up as their own “private magisterium”?
1 - I don’t worry much about where scripture is disputed in interpretation. I think it is silly to say that Mary remained a virgin, but if someone wants to ignore the obvious meaning of brother and sister for cousin...well, it denies no central doctrine of Christianity, so I guess it is between God and them.
I assume some of my interpretations are wrong, but I’ll let God handle my correction. I suspect many of our disputes will seem silly when we see God.
2 - Canon. Luther did NOT reject James as scripture, but the reality is that every man will have to determine what they accept as scripture. I cannot prevent the Mormons from adding books. I can only tell them I do not agree and won’t accept those books as having any authority.
The Old Testament was accepted at the time of Jesus, and early Christians accepted the gospels, the writings of Paul, Acts, 1 Peter and 1 John as scripture almost as soon as the ink was dry. I would be hard pressed to know what critical doctrine can only be found in the remaining NT books.
The Apocrypha has long been in dispute. Up until the Council of Trent, many considered it good enough for reading, but not good enough for determining doctrine. Jerome didn’t think much of it, either. Until the Council of Trent, it was acceptable for Catholics to question it, and some argue that the Council of Trent left open the possibility of two levels of ‘scripture’ (although scripture says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
3 “E.g. your portrayal of Sacred Tradition as (essentially) a blank check which the Vatican can use to invent whatever it likes is simply an ad hominem canard, with no proof behind it at all.”
That is not what I said. I did provide quotes from Mark Shea & the Catholic Encyclopedia to show that it ‘reveals truths previously hidden’, and that the process is one of evolution.
Of course, if you suggest Sacred Tradition is fixed, then I’m sure you can provide an authoritative listing of true sacred tradition. But the problem is that everyone KNOWS that transubstantiation wasn’t passed down from Peter to his successors in whispers, waiting for someone to reveal it at a later date. And if it didn’t come down from the Apostles, then how could John say to abide in the teaching already given?
4 “If Jesus had meant merely to come to Him and believe, then He would hardly have allowed most of His disciples to leave Him on the basis of a simple misunderstanding...”
Already answered. Jesus said the people following him were NOT believers all, but that many were unbelievers following because of the feeding of the 5000.
“Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
25When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”
They then make it clear they have no interest in following God. When they bring up manna in the wilderness, Jesus responds,””Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world...I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.”
As it says in verse 64, “For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe...”
However, the plain meaning of scripture can be discussed. You say it refers to the Eucharist, although no one present knew anything about the Lord’s Supper. I say it was a response to the Jews bringing up manna, with Jesus telling them HE was the sign of God, and they needed to believe.
I’ll let anyone else reading this thread decide which is more likely. Neither of us is likely to convince the other, so we need to leave that correction, to either or both of us, to God. We will both give account of our actions to God.
5 - “So... you appeal to your own fallible interpretation of a book for whose contents you cannot account (i.e. how did the books of the Bible get chosen, and by whom, and on what authority?)”
Actually, see this thread I posted a while back:
How We Got the New Testament - 2 1/2 Views (LONG!)
It gives you the Protestant and Orthodox answers to those questions.
6 - “Can you see why Id trust the Church, rather than (no offense intended) your own views, or the views of anyone else who presumes to set themselves up as their own private magisterium?”
Peter wasn’t the Vicar of Christ. The Holy Spirit is. You can appeal to a church that killed Wycliffe & Tyndale for spreading the scriptures to the common man, and that has changed its doctrine, to include the primacy of the Pope, transubstantiation, Purgatory, Indulgences, etc. I’ll appeal to the Holy Spirit and scripture, which is where the Apostles seemed content to leave authority.
I have no intention of answering all this over Christmas, but a couple of quick points:
“Only a completely biased reading of Church history could come up with a wild statement like this. Did you not notice that only Simon was given a new name as he accepted a new ministry (i.e. prime minister—the “al bayt”) and the Keys of the Kingdom; and like Eliakim in Isaiah 22:22ff, he would “be a father” (Latin: “Papa”, from where we get “Pope”) to God’s people; what he opened, no one would shut, and what he shut, no one would open?”
You get all that from: “17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”?????????????
Apart from the keys of heaven, the other promises were made to others as well - and there is nothing new about interpreting the keys as what Peter did at Pentecost and Cornelius’s house - opening heaven to the Jews first, and then the Gentiles. See Matt 18:”18Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” and John 20: “19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came...And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
It is safe to say, at an absolute minimum, that if Jesus MEANT all you say, he could have prevented a lot of confusion by simply saying it. But what Jesus said was “ “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Maybe you think that sounds like he was setting Peter up as his Vicar, but no one else seems to have caught it.
“He rejected it as INSPIRED Scripture (i.e. worthy of being in the Biblical canon, written by an Apostle), and he claimed that it flatly contradicted St. Paul (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, The Letters of James and Peter, Revised Edition, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 1976, p. 7)”
Simply not true. See here for a good review:
“Then why not SAY that? Did you miss the reactions of horror and disgust from the crowd when they first started to argue? “How can this man give us His FLESH to eat?!?” It’s patently obvious that this is the focal point of the crowd’s resistance...I’ll note that you’d have to ignore a great deal of John 6, and twist the meaning of much of the rest, to avoid the fact that the John 6 crowd was upset about Jesus’ “hard saying” about “giving His Flesh to eat”. Do you seriously not see this?”
What I see is that Jesus didn’t TRY to keep them, because he KNEW they didn’t believe. What I see is that bread was brought up, not in reference to the Lord’s Supper (that NO ONE THERE had ever heard of) but in response to the Jew’s question: “26Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life...30So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
It isn’t open to discussion or debate about why Jesus brought up bread. It is in the text itself.
Nor is there any dispute about the objection of the Jews - and it WASN’T cannibalism, unless you think Peter approved of cannibals. There objection is recorded here:
“41So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
They KNEW he wasn’t being literal about his flesh, but they ALSO knew he was claiming to have come from heaven. And Peter understood it too: “we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Please don’t pretend the Jews were upset over cannibalism. If THAT had been the objection, Peter would have objected as well! The objected is recorded in the text. They objected to Jesus being the Holy One of God, while Peter and others believed.
There was never a hint of the Eucharist in John 6. It wasn’t why Jesus used the metaphor, and the Jews were not objecting to cannibalism. There isn’t anything to argue with you about. It is in the text.
“I dont worry much about where scripture is disputed in interpretation. / (!) I’m not quite sure what to say, in reply to that. You do realize that this approach would neutralize the vast majority of the Bible, don’t you?”
If I had NO concern, I wouldn’t debate you, would I? My point is that many of the things we can argue about (did Mary remain a virgin?) are pretty stupid, really. In Romans 14, Paul makes my point - the same Paul who rebuked Peter over the content of the gospel.
Tell you what: let’s take a breather over Christmas (I’m getting ready to go to Mass in about 5 minutes, anyway, so time is of the essence), and I’ll see what I can do on the 26th or 27th...
...and if it doesn’t sound completely incongruous with what we’ve said so far: merry Christmas to you and yours!
Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. I may disagree with Catholic doctrine, but I’ve yet to find a verse that reads, “Repent, and become a Baptist!”
Tell you what: the past week (on this end) has been an exhausting mix of tight schedules, intense trauma in friends’ lives, and several funerals... so what do you say we can this one a “draw”, and save our brain cells for future use (and get some needed rest in the meantime)?
At any rate: it was an honour to spar with you! :)
“At any rate: it was an honour to spar with you! :)”
Good. I think I’m behind on points...
Best wishes, and thanks for an intelligent exchange of beliefs.