The brothers of Jesus

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nyj

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Mark 6:3
"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him."


There have been arguments upon arguments about what adelphos actually means. People who believe that Mary had other children say that in the context that it is used, it means brother and only brother. While Catholics contend that it may mean much more than simply brother and can extend to immediate family including cousins and other blood relatives.

According to Strongs, the greek word for brother(s) is adelphos (#80) and it means:

1. a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother

2. having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman

3. any fellow or man

4. a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection

5. an associate in employment or office

6.brethren in Christ
a. his brothers by blood
b. all men
c. apostles
d. Christians, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place


So we can see that adelphos does indeed have a meaning which is wide-ranging.

However, the non-Catholic would contend that since Greek has a seperate word for cousin, that it would have made sense that if the brothers of Jesus were actually cousins (anepsios #431), that that word would have been used instead of adelphos.

I contend however that given the usage of Greek at the time, that this would not have been the case. To prove this, we can simply look at other examples of Greek writing from a similar time period and see the word usages. Our best source would be to look at the Greek Septuagint, Old Testament and find examples of where adelphos/anepsios are used.

One clear example presents itself in Genesis 13:8 in which the English (NAS) version states:
So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.


One thing should be noted at this point however. Abram and Lot were not brothers in the sense that they shared the same mother/father. Lot was Abram's brother's son. Which means Abram was actually Lot's uncle. But in the verse, Abram calls Lot his brother.

Anyways, allow us to look at the Greek version (transliterated by myself using the Unbound Bible website):
Eipe de o Abram pros ton Lot, As mh hnai, parakalo eris metaxu emou kai sou kai metaxu twn poimenwn mou kai twn poimenwn souc dioti adelphoi eimeqa hmeisc.


So, even the LXX uses the word adelphos above and beyond it simply meaning a strict blood-brother. Given the estimated dates for the writing of the LXX, and the frequent use and knowledge of this writing by the New Testament authors, we can easily conclude that the NT authors used a similar style and word-usage, meaning that the word adelphos as meaning strictly brother is faulty.

 
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savinggrc

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Your example.

You can't compare the Hebrew to the Greek and say, "See, they did it in the Hebrew, it must be the same in the Greek."

The fact is that your counterexample:

One clear example presents itself in Genesis 13:8 in which the English (NAS) version states:

Quote:
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So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.
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was from the Hebrew. :)

Sorry, try again, using NT Scripture.

Karen
 
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nyj

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You can't compare the Hebrew to the Greek and say, "See, they did it in the Hebrew, it must be the same in the Greek."


You obviously did not read my post Karen. I specifically stated that I compared the Septuagint Old Testament, translated by the Alexandrian Jewish population, in GREEK, to the Greek New Testament.

This makes your objection null, void and moot.
 
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savinggrc

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Actually, you compared it first to the NASB Hebrew- which is what I was pointing out. :) Beyond that, the Septuagint is a translation, so you're still relying on a translation.

How 'bout looking at the Tanakh! :) That's a much better source for that passage.

They say,

"Let there be no strife between you and me, between my herdsmen and yours, for we are kinsmen."

Point is not null and void. Look to the NT to see if there are other instances wherein cousins were called brothers.

K
 
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Uh....I still think you're missing his point....I believe his point was simply that in the Greek translation (Septuagint), the word adelphos wasn't restricted to meaning only brother, and that it could mean other relations as well.

That being the case, then as nyj pointed out:

"Given the estimated dates for the writing of the LXX, and the frequent use and knowledge of this writing by the New Testament authors, we can easily conclude that the NT authors used a similar style and word-usage, meaning that the word adelphos as meaning strictly brother is faulty."

His point was simply what the word adelphos could mean in Greek, including the Greek of the New Testament, more than simply brother, as proven by the Septuagint.

I believe that was simply the point he was trying to make.

(Correct me if I'm wrong, nyj).
 
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savinggrc

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No, I got his point, but he is arguing from what a translation says. You can't do that.

Beyond all that, it still does not prove that Jesus did not have natural brothers of Mary. It proves only that they may have been His cousins, or that they may've been Joseph's previous to his marriage with Mary, or, as common sense states, that they are His natural brothers of His earthly parents.

Karen
 
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Blackhawk

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Mark 6:3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him."


Can I ask some questions about this verse?

1.Did the NT describe the apostles or anyone else as Jesus' brothers (using the same word) in this way besides here?
2.How do you explain the part about His sisters?
3. Why do you believe that it would be more likely or more correct to inerpret adelphos the way you do besides that it fits your theology better?

That is all.
blackhaw
 
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savinggrc

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In the NT, other than referring to sisters in the faith (just as adelpho does for brothers in the faith) it is always used to mean, "sister." Likewise with adelpho.

There is nothing in the Bible that states that Mary was a perpetual virgin, which is the entire point of this whole thing. It is the teaching of men to exalt someone who, if they were here right now, would say, "Stop this. I was just a woman. God chose me, but He also chose every single believer out there."

K
 
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nyj

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For starters, I am writing a response to your criticism about my use of making an example of the NAS verse. I think my point is quite clear and quite accurate and acceptable. I shall explain it in a post tonight or tomorrow morning (I know the suspense is killing you :p ).

Now, a quick comment of yours:
It is the teaching of men to exalt someone who, if they were here right now, would say, "Stop this. I was just a woman. God chose me, but He also chose every single believer out there."


Luke 1:46-48
And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

Blessed indeed. Through Eve, sin and death came into this world. It came into this world because Eve decided it was alright to say "No" to God and disobeyed Him. Blessed indeed because through Mary, the second Eve, sinlessness and life came into this world in the personage of Jesus Christ. Fully human and fully divine. And it came to be because Mary said "Yes" to God and obeyed Him.

Just a woman? I suppose. But that woman also happens to be Theotokos (Mother of God).
 
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Blackhawk

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Mary was a great woman. I do not think anyone would debate that. Also Mary was truly blessed and we should call her blessed. unfortunately the only thing that scripture really says is that we will say that she got a cool deal and that she was happy because she was the mother of Jesus. I do not think dhe was the Mother of God. God has not Mother.

blackhaw
 
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KC Catholic

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But let us not forget a few things...

Gabriel called her 'Most Favored":

Luke 1: 28-30
And coming in, he said to her, ""Greetings,favored one! The Lord is with you.''
29
But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
30
The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God."


If you and I are as favored as Mary - why haven't we been pronounced that by an angel? It isn't just the "blessed" wording...'Favor' or 'Full of Grace' is a rare comment in the bible. We are not 'full of grace' or we'd be in heaven right now.

But we are sinners who can obtain some grace, but not 'full grace' until we are in heaven. Mary was already filled with full grace.

Also - Mary stated that all generations will call her blessed. Guess what, we're part of that 'generations' she spoke of - so we are to call her blessed - it's in the bible!

Besides its Jesus' mother. Give her a break...did anyone else around here get chosen to carry God to earth. She shared her blood, nourishment, genetic code and the same body for 9 months and bore him. She fed him from her breast...

I cannot figure out how anyone who has ever been a mother cannot grasp how Mary is called "Blessed"???

Blackhawk...Mary is the mother of God by this formula...

Mary bore Jesus
Jesus was both man and god
Mary was God's mother.

It does not mean that Mary was the mother of God the father, that would make her olders than God. But because we believe that Jesus was both man and God, Mary becomes the mother of God.

Peace!
KC
 
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Blackhawk

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KC,

With your formula I guess we can say that Mary was the mother of God. But not the God part of Jesus. The God part is eternal.

Now about Mary she truly was very "blessed" and very" Favoured" as the Bible sates. She got t oraise Jesus. The Messiah. She got to teach the God man how to speak and wipe His bottom etc. So yes she was truly blessed and favoured. She was however still a human who needs God's grace just as much as I do. She sinned and needed Jesus' death on the cross as much as I.

So yes She was a great woman. maybe even the greatest woan in history but not perfect. She was jsut the one chosen for whatever reason to be Jesus' biological mother here on Earth. I just think the Catholic tradition takes Mary's role and elevates it way higher than the Bible does.

Blackhaw
 
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KC Catholic

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Now about Mary she truly was very "blessed" and very" Favoured" as the Bible sates. She got t oraise Jesus. The Messiah. She got to teach the God man how to speak and wipe His bottom etc. So yes she was truly blessed and favoured. She was however still a human who needs God's grace just as much as I do. She sinned and needed Jesus' death on the cross as much as I.


I agree...and so does Mary:
Luke 1: 46-47 46 And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
47 my spirit rejoices in God my savior.


We believe that God applied the salvation that Jesus gave us on the cross ahead of schedule. That's one of the mysteries of God - he is outside our realm of reason. If he wanted to apply that saving grace early - he can do it whether we accept it or not.

We believe that Mary needed that saving grace applied to her because God needed a sinfree vessel in which to come to us.

And she is not just blessed because of her mothering of Jesus - she is blessed because the bible proclaims her so. There is nothing anyone of us or the great figures in scripture could do to bring God to earth. Mary obeyed God's will and Jesus came to save us all.
 
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ZooMom

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With your formula I guess we can say that Mary was the mother of God. But not the God part of Jesus. The God part is eternal.
The problem with that is that you cannot separate God and Man in Christ. He didn't have two 'parts'. He was fully God and fully Man. Not half and half. Elizabeth greets her as the 'Mother of my Lord'. The Lord Jesus is God the Son and Mary is His mother.

Jesus himself tells us that Mary was not blessed for simply giving birth to Him and raising Him. She was blessed for obeying the Will of God. Humbly and perfectly.

Do not think that Catholics believe that her sinless state had anything to do with her 'worthiness'. God chose her for a specific reason. Her lineage. To fulfill prophecy. But she had to be a proper vessel to bear the Word.

Eve, in Eden, was created sinless, yes? She was a perfect creation. She had a choice to make and chose disobedience and death even though she had no stain of sin. For our Salvation to come into the world, another choice had to be made. But in man's fallen state how could anyone be expected to choose perfectly and with total unrestrained abandon to God's Will? There would surely be doubt, fear, pride, greed, in however small an amount, because that is the nature we inherited from the Fall. Only God could overcome this. He knew who He would choose, and He gifted her in advance the saving Grace and perfection we will all know one day. He 'leveled the field', so to speak when He preserved Mary immaculate at her conception. Eve, in her perfect sinless state, brought us sin and death. So God gave us Mary, in the same state, to bring us the Light and Life, Christ Jesus! Even as Christ is called the New Adam, so also is Mary the New Eve.

It isn't a matter of 'elevating' her, so much as it is acknowledging God's great Gift to her. The same Gift we are all striving for now.


God bless...


Sandy

 
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savinggrc

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Hi KC,

You said:
We believe that God applied the salvation that Jesus gave us on the cross ahead of schedule. That's one of the mysteries of God - he is outside our realm of reason. If he wanted to apply that saving grace early - he can do it whether we accept it or not.


I agree. Folks were saved before Jesus' physical death on the cross. How do I know that? Because the Bible says that He was slain from the foundation of the world. Faithful Jews were saved long before Mary bore Jesus. Paul says that there are too many to enumerate in Hebrews 11. I believe him. :)

Karen
 
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savinggrc

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Hi Sandy,

The problem with claiming that Mary was sinless is simply that she wasn't. If she was, she wouldn't have needed the salvation that KC just claimed that she had. (I agree, btw, that Mary was saved.) Only Jesus ever lived and died sinless.

Jesus said He came not to call the righteous,but sinners unto repentance. If she was saved, as ya'll stated you believe, then she had to be a sinner in need of repentance.

Paul says that, Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

All have sinned. Mary is part of all. That's why she needed a Saviour. If she was without sin, she wouldn't have had need of one.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:


1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Likewise, if we say that any man or woman, other than Jesus Himself, has not sinned, then we make Him to be a liar.

We were all born sinners - that's why we need a Saviour. We're not sinners because we sin. We sin because we're sinners.

Have a great Saturday!
Karen
 
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