Or did she?

October 16, 1995

by Bob Stanley <>

MATTHEW 13 : 55-56 and MARK 6 : 3 both say: "Is not this the carpenter, the Son of Mary, the brother of JAMES, and JOSEPH, and of JUDE and SIMON? And are not His sisters here with us?"
(Note! Only the 'carpenter' is called 'THE Son of Mary', not 'A Son of Mary')

Some people refer to these verses as 'proof', that Mary had other children.
See also: Matthew 12 : 46 , Mark 3 : 31 , Luke 8 : 19 , John 7 : 5

Let us examine this more closely, using your bible...

The word: 'Brethren'...appears over 530 times in the Bible.
'Brother'....appears over 350 times.
'Brothers'...appears only once, in Num 36 : 11.
'Sister'.....appears over 100 times.
'Sisters'....appears over 15 times.

BRETHREN: This is a plural word for 'brother' as shown in dictionaries.

BROTHER: The Hebrew word ACH is ordinarily translated 'brother'.

Since Hebrew, and Aramaic in which the Gospel of Matthew was written, had fewer words than our English, the Jews at that time, used it in a broader sense to expresses kinship. The Hebrew terms for different levels and degrees of relationship did not exist. 'Brother' meant the sons of the same father, and all the male members of the same clan or tribe.

In Greek, in which the Gospel of Mark was written, 'brother' is Phratry, from the Greek Phrater , meaning a fellow member of a clan.

Even today, the word is used in a larger meaning, so that friends, allies, fellow believers, and fellow citizens can be included in the same brotherhood. It was no different in the time of Christ.

Four dictionaries I have checked list three or four classes of meanings of the word 'brother'. The first class concerns sons of the same parents. The other two or three classes say, kinsman, fellow man, a close friend, a pal, a member of a religious order, a fellow member of a Christian Church, etc. How many times have you seen T.V. Evangelists address their audiences as 'Our brothers and sisters'?

Marian detractors accept the last three meanings to suit themselves, but when it comes to Mary, the mother of GOD, they always refer to the first meaning. Is this fair to her? How do you explain this?

See: Num 8 : 26 , 1 Sam 30 : 23 , 2 Sam 1 : 26 , 1 Kings 9 : 13 , 2 Chron 29 : 34.

For Example...

If you will read Gen 29 : 15 , "And Laban said to Jacob, because thou art my brother..." At first you would think Jacob and Laban are blood brothers. Now compare Gen 29 : 5 , "..know ye Laban, the son of Nahor..." Compare Gen 25 : 21-26 , and you will see Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah. Laban was the son of Nahor. They were not blood brothers but fellow citizens.

Christ tells the Multitude and His disciples in Mt 23 : 1-8 , "AND ALL YE ARE BRETHREN." In Mt 12 : 50 and Mk 3 : 35, Jesus says, "For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same is my 'BROTHER', and 'SISTER', and MOTHER." That verse says it all.

In 1 Cor 15 : 6 , Jesus appeared to five hundred 'brothers' at one time. Could all of these be blood brothers? Hardly. Then there is Peter speaking before one hundred and twenty brothers in Acts 1 : 15-16.

Paul speaks of one 'called a brother', in 1 Cor 5 : 11. The Bible has many more similar verses.

Mt 1 : 25 , "And knew her not till...".

The old meaning of the word 'till' or 'until', meant an action did not occur up to a certain point. It does not imply the action did occur later. Gen 8 : 7 , "He sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, 'until' the waters were dried up off the earth."

2 Sam 6 : 23 , "...the daughter of Saul had no child 'until' the day of her death." Did she have a child after she died?

Lk 1 : 34 , "Then said Mary unto the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" This shows Mary had no relations with a man before and was virgin.

Lk 2 : 7 , "And she brought forth her 'firstborn' Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes..." Firstborn, at the time of the writing of the Gospels, meant, 'the child that opened the womb'. See Ex 13 : 2 and Num 3 : 12. Firstborn does not imply that Mary had other children, as an ONLY son, IS a 'FIRSTBORN SON'. The author of this letter is one.

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