What does the scripture say about Mary the mother of Jesus?


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The Bible says that Mary was chosen by God as a vessel through whom Christ would be born (Mat. 1:20-23). For this reason she was “highly favored,” and “blessed among women” (Luke 1:28). Although Mary was a  virtuous woman, like all humans, she needed salvation (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 John 1:8). And Mary herself declared her need for the Savior (Luke 1:47).

The Bible says that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus (Luke 1:34-38; Matthew 1:25). This was prophesied long before Christ’s birth (Isaiah  7:14). Joseph, her husband, “had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.” This means that Joseph and Mary did have physical unity until after Jesus was born. Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55) and sisters although they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:55-56). While some claim that Mary was perpetually a virgin, this idea appears to be un-biblical.

Jesus honored His mother, but He did not exalt her above other women, and addressed her as simply “woman” (John 2:3-4). In fact, He taught the people saying, “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Mat. 12:50). Thus, anyone who does God’s will is just like His mother. The Bible mentions that Mary was present at the crucifixion (John 19:25) and asked His disciple to care for Mary as his own mother (Vs 26-27). She was also present at the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14). Mary is never mentioned after Acts chapter 1. She is not recorded as having any major role in the early church.

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary had an “immaculate conception,” but the Bible doesn’t mention that Mary’s birth was different than other humans.  The Bible also does not tell us to pray to Mary. This is a Catholic teaching that gave Mary a “saving office.” The Catholic church claims that she bring us “the gifts of eternal salvation,” and that she carries “the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 252. This teaching is contrary to what scripture says. The Lord declares that, “There is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). Only through Jesus can the sinner be reconciled to God (John 14:5–6; Rom. 5:1–2). The Bible here clearly rules out the need of human mediators and the supposed value that some have attached to such attempted mediation.

The Bible teaches that we are to “Worship God!” alone (Revelation 19:10; 22:9). Mary herself taught us to glorify God as the only Savior, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-49).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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