A few days ago I was reminded about a sermon my former pastor, Dr. Mark Minnick, preached some years ago from Matthew 1. There has been some controversy over the use of “young woman” rather than “virgin” in Matthew 1:22 in some versions, and I’m sorry I can’t remember exactly what Dr. Minnick said about that. But what I do remember is that there is evidence of Mary’s virginity all through that passage and the other gospels besides just that one word.
I am going by memory and a few notes in my Bible: Pastor Minnick’s message would have been much more eloquent! 🙂 Any mistakes here are mine, and I may have forgotten some of the points he made, and of course he would have elaborated all of these points.
Evidences of Mary’s virginity before the birth of Jesus:
1. In Matthew 1:16, “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ,” the phrase “of whom” in Greek is feminine and refers back to Mary. That and the way this birth is worded differently from all the “begats” in the verses before it point to Mary’s virginity.
2. Mary’s reaction to the angel’s announcement that she was to bear the Christ child: “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34)
3 and 4. Matthew 1:18: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
5. Joseph’s reaction: he knew Mary’s child wasn’t his: “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily” (Matthew 1:19).
6. The angels pronouncement to Joseph: “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.” (Matthew 1:20-21).
7. Prophecy: “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.” (Matthew 1:22-23).
8. Joseph did not “know” Mary in the Biblical sense as is wife until after Jesus was born: “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 1:24-25).
Just to make it clear that I am not going to the other extreme, I do not believe Mary was a perpetual virgin forever. The last verse mentioned indicates that Joseph did “know” Mary as his wife some time after Jesus was delivered, and later passages refer to Jesus’ brothers.