What is the Perpetual Virginity of Mary?

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Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a chase and pure woman. God selected her to be the Mother of His Son – the Savior of the world (Luke 1:28-35) that she may fulfill God’s promise (Genesis 3:15). Mary the virgin was to conceive by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18). This was the direct fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (ch. 7:14).

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary remained a virgin after giving birth to Jesus.  But what does the Bible say about that? Both, the Gospels of Matthew and Mark state that Mary had other sons and daughters: “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” (Matthew 13:55–56). “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him” (Mark 6:3).

Some have suggested that these brothers and sisters of Jesus were His cousins. If this is true, why didn’t Matthew and Mark use the Greek words for cousins (anepsios) or relatives (suggenes)? The Greek word for “cousin” was used in the NT in Colossians 4:10 and “relative” was used in Luke 1:36? Instead, both Matthew and Mark used the words for brothers (adelphos) and sisters (adelphe).

Matthew mentions that Jesus had siblings (ch. 12:46–50). Luke in the book of Acts also mentions Jesus’ brothers (Acts 1:12–14). Also, Jesus in Mark 3:32–35 and Luke 8:19–21 differentiates between His physical brothers and mother and His spiritual brothers and mother. In addition, the apostle Paul states that Jesus had a brother (Galatians 1:19).

Mary had sexual relations with Joseph

To say Mary was a perpetual virgin even after the birth of Christ is to oppose the words of the Scriptures that say,  “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS” (Matthew 1:24–25). The word “Knew” refer to the sexual relations in the Bible (Genesis 4:1, 25; 17). If Joseph never knew Mary, then the phrase “till she had brought forth her firstborn Son” is meaningless.

Sex is honorable

Some claim that sex is not becoming of the mother of Jesus. But the Bible declares that sex between a married couple is honorable and certainly not a sin.  “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (“Hebrews 13:4). In fact, the Lord commanded people to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28; Malachi 2:14–15). Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24 in Matthew 19:5–6, confirming that the married couple “shall be one flesh.”

Who introduced the teaching of the virginity of Mary?

The idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary originated from an apocryphal book called the Infancy Gospel of James, The Protoevangelium of James. This book was written around the 2nd century. By contrast, the authoritative New Testament books were written and confirmed by the apostles (Luke 11:49; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Peter 3:2).

A mass of forged books came out after the canonical books were written. The Protoevangelium of James is like other forged books which attempted to capitalize on one of the apostle to gain credibly. James (the brother of Jesus) became an apostle the resurrection (Galatians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 15:7). But the early church rejected this book due to its erroneous content. Origen wrote a commentary on Matthew in which he rejected the Protoevangelium of James and denounced it as fake.  And he affirmed that Mary had other children.

Why is the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary promoted by the Catholic Church?

The Roman Catholic Church places the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary as one of the essential Dogmas for Marian devotion. The Church adopts other unbiblical doctrines relating to Mary such as: The Divine Motherhood, Co-redeemer, the immaculate conception, and the Assumption…etc. The Church exalts Mary to the divine state of Christ. And it claims this is why Mary should be venerated, worshiped, adored, and prayed to.

Conclusion

To teach the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, is to depend on false teachings and human traditions that are not supported by the Scriptures. It was certainly not sinful for Mary to have sexual relations with her husband Joseph. In fact, it would have been sinful for her to restrain from it throughout her marriage (1 Corinthians 7:3–5). There is no biblical or rational reason why Mary would have needed to stay a virgin after giving birth to Christ.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

Disclaimer:

The contents of this article and website are not intended to be against any individual. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their knowledge. They are seen by God as His children. Thus, the information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system which has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. This system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that directly go against the Bible.

It is our purpose to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, to decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. Therefore, if you find anything here contrary to the Bible, do not accept it. However, if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality and feel that the Holy Spirit is revealing Truth to you, please make all haste to accept it.

 

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