Sunday, March 12, 2017

Is The Perpetual Virginity Of Mary Biblical?

  • Introduction:
          -The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Mary and Joseph never consummated their marriage after Jesus Christ was born. It is therefore held that He had no blood brothers or sisters. Whatever relatives Jesus had were cousins or were from a previous marriage of Joseph to some other woman.
          -Jerome argued against Helvidius on three grounds: 1.) Joseph was only assumed to be the husband of Mary, 2.) The brothers of Jesus were actually cousins, and 3.) celibacy is morally superior to marriage.
          -Many have upheld this teaching throughout history, both before and after the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther, Francis Turretin, and Richard Hooker were Protestants who believed Mary to be a perpetual virgin.
  • Matthew 1:18:
          -The meaning of this passage is that Joseph kept Mary a virgin until they got married. Consequently, Jesus Christ had literal brothers and sisters from the womb of Mary. There is no reason to challenge this interpretation, unless one has an underlying theological agenda to advance.
  • Matthew 1:24-25:
          -Verses that use the word "until" to mean a change in condition would be Matthew 24:34, Acts 20:11, Acts 23:12, and Revelation 7:3. Sometimes the word in Greek does not carry this meaning. Context determines the meaning behind words. If we interpret the words in Matthew 1:25 at face value, it would certainly seem that Mary had children after the birth of Christ.
  • Matthew 13:55-57 And Mark 6:3-4:
          -The context of these passages indicates the meaning of "brothers and sisters" to be natural family. In Matthew 13:55-57 and Mark 6:3-4, the Greek word for sisters (i.e. adelphe) is used. That word is used in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 to mean natural sister born as to the same mother. The term used in various contexts suggests a natural familial relationship.
          -If this was a reference to more distinct relatives, then why did Matthew and Mark not use the Greek word "suggenes" (Luke 1:36; Luke 1:58)? The absence of this term in Matthew 13:55-57 and Mark 6:3-4 could be seen as an indication that the authors intended to convey a more immediate family relationship.
          -The New Testament occupies a separate Greek word for cousin, which is "anepsios" (Colossians 4:10). The New Testament never denotes the term "brother" to mean anything other than a literal brother in the context of family relations. If the terms brother and sister are not to be taken literally, then why should we understand Mary being called the mother of Jesus in that same way? 
  • John's gospel records a fulfilled prophecy (John 2:15-17) from the Book of Psalms (Psalm 69:8-9): 
          -The implication to be made is that Christ had literal brothers and sisters from the womb of Mary. His brothers were said to not believe Him (John 7:1-10).
  • Jesus was Mary's firstborn, not only born (Luke 2:7):
          -The New Testament makes a distinction between firstborn and only born (Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38). The fact that the four gospels speak of brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ suggests that "firstborn" here means the first of many children. If Jesus were an only child, it would not have been necessary to call Him the firstborn.

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