Thursday, March 16, 2017

Luke 1:28 "Kecharitomena"

  • Introduction:
        -Roman Catholics (and others who offer religious devotion to Mary) spend much time arguing (off the basis of Luke 1:28 in the Latin Vulgate, not the Greek original) that the Greek word "kecharitomena" (translated into English as "full of grace") means that Mary was conceived without sin and remained in the same manner (sinless) throughout her entire life on earth.
        -The Scripture passage Luke 1:28 is perhaps the foundational supporting beam used to lay the grounds for Marian theology. But if Mary was a sinner like everybody else, then every building block of this absurd belief system would collapse like a line of dominoes because each doctrine presupposes the necessity of her allegedly uncorrupted nature.
        -The purpose of this essay is to do a detailed exposition of Luke 1:28 to demonstrate that this verse does not in any way lend support to the Marian interpretation of this passage. In fact, to read the concept of Mary being immaculately conceived into this context is not only highly preposterous, it is also completely unwarranted. 
  • A Literal Translation Of The Greek Sentence Structure Of Luke 1:28:
        -"And entering, the angel said to her, "Hail, one having received grace! The Lord is with you. You are blessed among women!" (Source: THE INTERLINEAR BIBLE, Jay P. Green, Sr.; Sovereign Grace Publishers, ISBN: 1-878442-81-3). 
  • The Application Of Common Sense:
        -The best description that we get about Mary from the pages of the Bible is that she is "the Lord's servant" (Luke 1:38). No other biblical descriptions of her character exist. It is therefore an untenable position to go from describing Mary as being an instrument by God to accomplish His purpose to being a woman who was conceived without sin, ascended into heaven without physical death, and having the power to save people from their sins. Furthermore, Luke 1:28 never sanctions the use of random titles to exalt Mary, permits us to offer prayers to her or build statues of saints to bow before, and fails to mention anything about future apparitions. In summary, too much doctrinal weight has been laid on this passage of Scripture.    
       -The context reveals important sayings of Elizabeth, Mary, and the Angel Gabriel. However, nothing is said about Mary's alleged "sinlessness". Furthermore, we need to ask why Gabriel would announce the important message of Mary's birth so many years after the occasion took place, that is, when she was a fully developed woman? Both the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were proclaimed before their birth dates. The Bible as a whole is prophetic in nature, that is, foretells the coming of important events or individuals. It would be very foolish to make a prophecy of an event after the fact that it has already happened. The context of Luke chapter one is all about the conception of Jesus. In other words, all characters mentioned in this context point to the coming of Jesus, not to Mary His mother. Remember, Luke 1:28 only tells us the Mary is blessed among women, NOT above women. Hence, to read the idea of Mary's alleged immaculate conception into this passage is contextually invalid. 
  • Not Found In The Original Greek Manuscripts:
        -The phrase "full of grace" found in Luke 1:28 does not exist in the original Greek translations of the New Testament. It was not until Jerome inserted the term into the Latin Vulgate during the fourth century. Thus, the Roman Catholic Church has derived its doctrine from a corrupted Latin translation (not the Greek original). Interestingly, most modern-day Catholic Bibles omit the phrase "full of grace". Examples of reputable translations ignoring the term would include the New American Bible and the New Jerusalem Bible. The only time it is used is in John 1:14, and it refers to Jesus Christ. 
        -Although Roman Catholics argue that that the phrase "full of grace" needed to be inserted into Luke 1:28 to give Mary the honor she deserves and that describing her as merely being an instrument used by God to achieve His mission is disrespectful, the actual reasoning behind their quibbles is not to simplify an obscure text, but that the right interpretation of the Scripture passage is totally inconsistent with their own worldview. They are the ones who are deceiving themselves by giving her inflated views and purposes that the Bible simply does not ascribe to her. 
  • Admissions From Official Roman Catholic Sources On The Greek Term "Kecharitomena":
        -"But the term kecharitomene (full of grace) serves only as an illustration, not as a proof of the dogma." (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, under “Immaculate Conception”)
        -"The words of Gabriel, “Hail, full of grace” (Lk. 1.28), have also been appealed to as a revelation of the Immaculate Conception, on the grounds that to be truly full of grace, Mary must have had it always. This interpretation, however, overlooks the fact that the Greek term κεχαριτωμένη [kecharitomene] is not nearly so explicit as the translation “full of grace” might suggest. It implies only that God’s favor has been lavished on Mary, without defining the degree of grace." (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII, Page 378)
  • Yes, Mary Was Sinful Just Like Everybody Else:
       -According to Scripture, Mary was a woman made under the Law, just like we are (Galatians 4:4-5). That means to be under the curse of the Law, as well (Galatians 3:10). This scriptural argument proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that Mary was NOT sinless! She also needed the work of the Savior.
      -Mary was simply a godly woman who found favor with God. She was "highly favored", not "full of grace". But how is this description of a person at all disrespectful or insufficient? As stated elsewhere, God could have chosen any woman who was also a virgin and just as faithful to His will. She certainly was not His only option. It is not as if God was somehow obligated to choose Mary. 
       -The fundamental error of esteeming Mary so highly is that it promotes the grave sin idolatry. It steers people from concentrating on the One who truly has the power and authority to forgive our trespasses against His Commandments. We should be devoted to God, and HIM ALONE. 
  • "All Generations shall call me blessed..." (Luke 1:48):
        -While Roman Catholics point to the fact that Mary said that all generations would call her blessed for what God has done through her, the context of the passage is solely about the conception of Jesus. Furthermore, all of the comments on Luke 1:28 and the other articles pertaining to Mariology apply equally to this same passage.
         -The Roman Catholic interpretation totally misses the point of Mary's inspired statement. It is not as if she was intending that all people of future generations honor her by means of erecting statues, offering prayers, or by doing the dozens of other strange activities that the Catholics of modern Rome do. In other words, she did not make this statement to try making a permanent reflection of herself so that people would "not stop venerating her". She was simply admitting to the fact that God used her as an instrument to bring His Son into the world and proclaiming that the message of salvation would never be lost. In fact, this context points us directly to God. He was the One who was ultimately doing doing the work (V. 46-47). Luke 1:48 does not point us to Mary or give us any sort of permission to "venerate" her. Her statement simply means that she will never be forgotten by future generations. It is really no different than Phinehas being remembered forevermore for slaying a plague in Israel when he executed righteous judgment (Psalm 106:30-31) or a woman being remembered through gospel preaching for anointing Him with oil (Matthew 26:13). If "never being forgotten about for doing the will of God" means "a right to be venerated", then how come nobody venerates the two individuals listed previously? Mary is no more important than any of the biblical followers of God or the gospel preachers of today because all of the work done by these people makes the salvation of mankind possible. Simply acknowledging Mary's work does not translate into a justification of Marian doctrines.