Was Mary a Virgin Her Entire Life? Did Jesus Have Any Brothers?

 


WAS MARY A VIRGIN HER ENTIRE LIFE?
DID JESUS HAVE ANY BROTHERS?


The Catholic Blog - Helping people find answers to the most common questions about Catholicism with answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible. (www.catholic.blog )


“Was Mary a virgin her entire life?” - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to Consider:

  • “led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity” (CCC 499)
  • “Against this doctrine the objection is raise that the Bible mentions brother and sisters of Jesus.  The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary.  In fact James and Joseph, ‘brothers of Jesus,’ are sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls ‘the other Mary.’  They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.” (CCC 500)
  • “Mary ‘remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin’” (CCC 510)


“Was Mary a virgin her entire life?” - Important Scriptures to Consider:

  • Matthew 1:24–25 “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” (ESV)
  • 1 Corinthians 7:3–5 “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. [4] For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. [5] Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (ESV)
  • John 7:3–5 “So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see  the works you are doing. [4] For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” [5] For not even his brothers believed in him. (ESV)
  • Matthew 13:55–56 “Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? [56] And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” (ESV)
  • Luke 8:19–21 “Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. [20] And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” [21] But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (ESV)
  • John 2:12 “After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.” (ESV)
  • John 7:5 “For not even his brothers believed in him.” (ESV)
  • Acts 1:13–14 “And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. [14] All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (ESV)
  • 1 Corinthians 9:5 “Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?” (ESV)
  • 1 Corinthians 15:7 “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” (ESV)
  • Galatians 1:19 “But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother.” (ESV)
  • Galatians 2:9 “and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” (ESV)
  • Jude 1 “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James
  • James 2:1 “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” (ESV)
  • John 2:12 “After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.” (ESV)


“Was Mary a virgin her entire life?” - Important Questions to Consider:

  • Would having other children detract from Mary’s holiness?  Or add to it according to Gen 1:28?
    • Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (ESV)
    • 1 Timothy 5:14 “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.” (ESV)
  • In John 2, Jesus has just performed a miracle changing water to wine and rebuked his mother Mary in the process.  This same passage refers to Jesus’ mother and “brothers” as continuing with him to Capernaum.  Why are these “brothers” referenced and so involved in traveling with Jesus’ mother if they are only cousins or more distant relatives?
  • Why is there no historical or linguistic evidence that the Greek words (adelphoi (“brothers”) and adelphai (“sisters”)) support this idea of them not being brothers and sisters but just distant relatives?
  • Would Mary not have been a bad wife is she refused to be physically intimate with her husband Joseph?
    • 1 Corinthians 7:3–5 “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. [4] For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. [5] Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (ESV)
  • Why would the Catholic Church invent and propagate the idea that Mary was always a virgin?  If they would twist the Scriptures to misrepresent this, what other areas of their Tradition are untrustworthy?


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Is Mary the Cause of Salvation? Did Mary Save the Whole Human Race?

  

IS MARY THE CAUSE OF SALVATION?


The Catholic Blog - Helping people find answers to the most common questions about Catholicism with answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible. (www.catholic.blog )


“Is Mary the cause of salvation?” - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to Consider:

  • “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” (CCC 494)
  • “Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert … : ‘The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the Virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.’ Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary ‘the Mother of all living’ and frequently claim: ‘Death through Eve, life through Mary.” (CCC 494)
  • “The Virgin Mary ‘cooperated through free faith and obedience in human salvation. … By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living.” (CCC 511)
  • “by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death” (CCC 966)
  • “restoring supernatural life to souls” (CCC 968)
  • “the Blessed Virgin…under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix” (CCC 969)
  • “collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish” (CCC 973)
  • “the new Eve, the Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ” (CCC 975)
  • “she is inseparably linked with the saving work of her Son” (CCC 1172)
  • “The Gospel reveals to us how Mary prays and intercedes in faith.  At Cana, the mother of Jesus asks her son for the needs of a wedding feast; this is the sign of another feast - that of the wedding of the Lamb where he gives his body and blood at the request of the Church, his Bride.  It is at the hour of the New Covenant, at the foot of the cross, that Mary is heard as the Woman, the new Eve, the true ‘Mother of all the living.’” (CCC 2618)
  • “by asking Mary to pray for us….we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All-Holy One.  We give ourselves our to her now…our trust broadens further…to surrender ‘the hour of our death’ wholly to her care. … May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise” (CCC 2677)


“Is Mary the cause of salvation?” - Important Scriptures to Consider:

  • NOTE: The Bible never mentions Mary being “full of grace” (but uses that phrase with Jesus and Stephen), redeemed from conception, or sinless.  While the Bible describes Mary as “highly favored” (Luke 1:28) and  “blessed . . . among women” (Luke 1:42) it does not support the claim to sinlessness.
  • Romans 3:23–24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (ESV)
  • Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (ESV)
  • 1 John 1:8-10 "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”
  • John 2:4 “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with me?’”
  • Acts 6:8 “Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.”
  • John 1:14 “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”
  • Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
  • Romans 5:17 “For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (ESV)
  • Romans 5:10 “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (ESV)
  • John 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish”
  • 1 John 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (ESV)
    Romans 5:18 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” (ESV)
  • 1 Corinthians 15:45 “Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (ESV)
  • John 14:16 "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (ESV)
  • Hebrews 13:6 “So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (ESV)
  • John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (ESV)
  • John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” (ESV)
  • John 16:7 "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (ESV)
  • 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (ESV)
  • John 2:4 “And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.'” (ESV)
  • 1 Peter 4:19 “Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (ESV)


“Is Mary the cause of salvation?” - Important Questions to Consider:

  • Why is Mary given titles that are only biblically used as titles to describe God Himself? “Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix [Mediator]”  Why are there no biblical passages giving Mary these titles?
  • Did Jesus praise his mother or rebuke his mother for her interference at Cana?
  • Why are we called to “trust” and “give ourselves” to Mary?  How is this different than faith and worship?  Doesn’t Peter say to entrust our souls to the Creator?  Where does Peter tell us to entrust our souls to Mary in the Bible?
  • Is mercy referred to by the Bible as coming from Mary?  Where does the Bible refer to Mary as the “All-holy” one?
  • Do these claims and titles about Mary elevate her to the level of deity (being a god/goddess)?
  • Where does the Bible address Mary as the “cause of salvation” (CCC 494)?
  • Where does the Bible connect Mary to Eve (CCC 494) as it connects Jesus to Adam (1 Cor 15:45)?
  • How do “our prayers” cooperate with Mary to “deliver our souls from death” (CCC 966)?  Where does the Bible describe this practice?Subscribe to “The Catholic Blog” on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC03uZywULBplunOmh4nCB2A    

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How Can I Be Sure that I Have Been Born Again?

HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT I AM A CHRISTIAN?

John 3:3  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (ESV)

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. 

Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—

unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)


1. Did a work start in you?  if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

  • And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)


2. Have you experienced God’s Spirit in you?  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)


3. Is there fruit of God’s Spirit growing in you? (Read the book of 1 John)

1. Do you enjoy having fellowship w/Christ & Christians? (1 John 1:3)
2. Would people say you walk in the light or darkness? (1 John 1:6-7)
3. Do you admit and confess your sin? (1 John 1:8)
4. Are you obedient to God's Word? (1 John 2:3-5)
5. Does your life indicate you love God or the world? (1 John 2:15)
6. Is your life characterized by "doing what is right"? (1 John 2:29)
7. Do you seek to maintain a pure life? (1 John 3:3)
8. Do you see a decreasing pattern of sin in your life? (1 John 3:5-6

[i.e. not continuing in sin as a way of life, not a total absence of sin.]
9. Do you demonstrate love for other Christians? (1 John 3:14)
10. Do you "walk the walk," vs just "talking the talk"? (1Jn 3:18-19)
11. Do you maintain a clear conscience? (1 John 3:21)
12. Do you experience victory in your Christian walk? (1 John 5:4)

4. Do you endure in the faith? They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19)


Works of the Flesh vs. Fruits of the Spirit: What best describes you?

The “works of the flesh” are evidence for unbelief and an eternity in Hell.

The “fruit of the Spirit” evidences God’s saving work and eternity with Christ. (Galatians 5:16-24)


[19] Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, [20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, [21] envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 


[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. [24] And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Parable of the Sower: 

What category of “soil” best describes your response to the good news about Jesus?

(Matthew 13:19-23 ESV)

  1. [19] When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
  2. [20] As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, [21] yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 
  3. [22] As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 

Only the fourth ("good") soil below describes a genuine Christian.

  1. [23] As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.



Do You See These Three Characteristics in Your Life?

The Book of 1 John Helps Us to See Characteristics of Truly Converted and Saved Souls.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God 

that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)


1. Obedience to God's Commands?

  • If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:6 ) 
  • Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6) 
  • If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. (Proverbs 28:9) 
  • No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6)
  • By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:10)
  • For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.  (1 John 5:3)

 

2. Forgiveness?

  • Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. (1 John 2:9) 
  • For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matt 6:14-15) 


3. Love?

  • If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15) 
  • No one who denies the Son has the Father. (1 John 2:23) 
  • But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8) 
  • Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8) 

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