Have You Ever Wondered?
WHAT does the Bible really say about Mary, the mother of Jesus? Most believers in Christendom hold to the teaching that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God and yet that they are not three gods, but three in one. In other words, the Trinity. For large portions of Christendom (Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox), this teaching logically gave birth to the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is therefore the “Mother of God.” Is that really so? How did Jesus view his mother? How did the disciples view her? Let us see how the Bible answers:
1. When is Mary first mentioned in the Bible?—Matthew 1:16.
5. How did Mary become pregnant?—Luke 1:26-38.
6. How did Mary react to her unique circumstances?—Luke 1:46-55.
7. How did Mary show she was a concerned mother?—Luke 2:41-51.
13. How did Mary view her role in Jehovah’s purposes?—Luke 1:46-49.
14. Is Mary a mediatrix between God and man?—1 Timothy 2:5.
15. In how many of the Bible’s 66 books is Mary mentioned?
17. How many times is Mary named in the 21 letters written by Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude?
20. What is Mary’s present status?—2 Timothy 2:11, 12.
The Bible’s Answers
1. “Jacob became father to Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.”—Matthew 1:16.
2. “When they had carried out all the things according to the law of Jehovah, they went back into Galilee to their own city Nazareth. Now his parents were accustomed to go from year to year to Jerusalem for the festival of the passover.” (Luke 2:39, 41) As Jews, they followed the Law of Moses.
3. “When the days for purifying them according to the law of Moses came to the full, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to Jehovah, just as it is written in Jehovah’s law: ‘Every male opening a womb must be called holy to Jehovah.’” (Luke 2:22, 23) “At the fulfilling of the days of her purification for a son or for a daughter she will bring a young ram in its first year for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering to the entrance of the tent of meeting to the priest. But if she cannot afford enough for a sheep, she must then take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering, and the priest must make atonement for her, and she must be clean.”—Leviticus 12:6, 8.
4. “He [Joseph] had no intercourse with her until she gave birth to a son; and he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:25) “Mary said to the angel: ‘How is this to be, since I am having no intercourse with a man?’” (Luke 1:34) “Jehovah himself will give you men a sign: Look! The maiden herself will actually become pregnant, and she is giving birth to a son, and she will certainly call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) “We have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin.”—Hebrews 4:15.
5. “The angel said to her: ‘Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son. . . . With God no declaration will be an impossibility.’”—Luke 1:35, 37.
6. “Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies Jehovah, and my spirit cannot keep from being overjoyed at God my Savior . . . The powerful One has done great deeds for me, and holy is his name.’”—Luke 1:46, 47, 49.
7. “Now when they saw him they were astounded, and his mother said to him: ‘Child, why did you treat us this way? Here your father and I in mental distress have been looking for you.’ But he said to them: ‘Why did you have to go looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in the house of my Father?’”—Luke 2:48, 49.
8. “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” (Matthew 13:55, 56) “He and his mother and brothers [Greek, a·del·phoiʹ] and his disciples [Greek, ma·the·taiʹ] went down to Capernaum, but they did not stay there many days.”—John 2:12.
9. There are distinct Greek words for brother and cousin. “‘This is the carpenter the son of Mary and the brother [Greek, a·del·phosʹ] of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon, is it not? And his sisters [Greek, a·del·phaiʹ] are here with us, are they not?’ So they began to stumble at him.” (Mark 6:3) “Do not call . . . your relatives [Greek, syg·ge·neisʹ].” (Luke 14:12) “Mark the cousin [Greek, a·ne·psi·osʹ] of Barnabas . . .” (Colossians 4:10)—See The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures.
10. “Jesus said to her: ‘What have I to do with you, woman? My hour has not yet come.’” “Jesus, seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing by, said to his mother: ‘Woman, see! Your son!’” (John 2:4; 19:26) Jesus’ use of “woman” was not disrespectful according to the usage of the time.
11. No Biblical text uses the expression “Mother of God.”
12. “A certain woman out of the crowd raised her voice and said to him: ‘Happy is the womb that carried you and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said: ‘No, rather, Happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!’”—Luke 11:27, 28.
14. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.”—1 Timothy 2:5.
15. Five—Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. She appears as “Mary” 19 times, as the “mother” of Jesus 24 times, and as “woman” twice.
16. Apart from the four Gospel writers, Mary is never mentioned—not even in the prologues of apostolic letters. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through God’s will . . . May you have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:1, 2) “Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, . . . by the righteousness of our God and the Savior Jesus Christ.”—2 Peter 1:1.
17. Not once.
18. “You yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) “I saw, and, look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. And they are singing as if a new song before the throne . . . , and no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth.”—Revelation 14:1, 3.
19. “‘Cry out joyfully, you barren woman that did not give birth! Become cheerful with a joyful outcry and cry shrilly, you that had no childbirth pains, for the sons of the desolated one are more numerous than the sons of the woman with a husbandly owner,’ Jehovah has said. ‘For your Grand Maker is your husbandly owner, Jehovah of armies being his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Repurchaser. The God of the whole earth he will be called.’” (Isaiah 54:1, 5) “The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” (Galatians 4:26) God’s symbolic woman, heavenly Zion, Jehovah’s heavenly organization, is compared to a wife and mother, and she is the “woman” of these texts.
20. “Faithful is the saying: Certainly if we died together, we shall also live together; if we go on enduring, we shall also rule together as kings; if we deny, he also will deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:11, 12) If Mary proved faithful to death, she now rules in heaven along with the others of the 144,000 who reign with Christ.—Revelation 14:1, 3.