Mary’s virginity

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.

See also:

Christmas Devotional Reading

Ten free gifts for Christmas

For God so loved that He gave…

Mary’s Dream

If I were a goose

Christmas quotes.

Christmas funnies or jokes #1 and #2.

The Primary Purpose of a Home.

The Perfect Christmas

Christmas Grief

5 thoughts on “Mary’s virginity

  1. I saw the movie The Nativity recently. I thought it was pretty good. I’ve often wondered if Jesus had real brothers or if this term has been used in only the figurative sense in the bible.

    Nice new blog header by the way. I like the purple ornament for Advent! 😉

  2. The key is, what does the Bible say. The Bible nowhere says or even hints that Mary was a virgin forever. Matt. 1:25 says Joseph “knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son.” That wording seems to indicate that they did have a regular marital relationship after Jesus was born. Then Matt. 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, and Luke 8:19-21 all record an incident where Jesus’ mother and brethren are trying to get to Him, and other passages mention his brothers. The nature of the passages indicates that these were not just “brethren” in the sense of believers or disciples (His answer indicates that His mothe and brethren were those who heard His word and kept it — if that was what people understood was meant by brethren anyway, He wouldn’t have needed to say that). And his brothers did not believe on Him at first anway (John 7:5), so they weren’t “brethren” in that sense. There is no reason to think that anything else is meant but that these men were sons of Mary and Joseph, half brothers of Jesus.

    But, my reason for this post was not to get into all of that, but just to point out that Mary’s virginity before Christ is indicated in many places beyond just the use of the word “virgin.” That was helpful to me when I realized it, and I hoped it would be helpful to others as well.

  3. Pingback: Christmas Devotional reading « Stray Thoughts

  4. Pingback: Ten free gifts for Christmas « Stray Thoughts

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