apologetics, Apologetics of Christ, Undesigned Coincidences

Jesus’ Birth: How undesigned coincidences give evidence for the truth of the Gospel accounts

There are many charges raised against the historicity of the birth narratives of Jesus Christ. These run the gamut from objections based upon alleged contradictions to inconsistencies in the genealogies to incredulity over the possibility of a virgin birth. Rather than make a case to rebut each of these objections in turn, here I will focus upon using undesigned coincidences to note how these birth narratives of Christ have the ring of truth. How exactly do undesigned coincidences work? Simply put, they are incidental details that confirm historical details of stories across reports. I have written more extensively on how these can be used as an argument for the historicity of the Gospels: Undesigned Coincidences- The Argument Stated. It should be noted that the birth narrative occurs only in Matthew and Luke. John begins with a direct link of Christ to God, while Mark characteristically skips ahead to the action. Thus, there are only a few places to compare these stories across different reports. However, both Mark and John have incidental details which hint at the birth account. These incidental details lend power to the notion that the birth narratives of Jesus are historical events.

Joseph

First, there is one undesigned coincidence that is such a gaping hole and such a part of these narratives most people will probably miss it. Namely, what in the world was Joseph thinking in Luke!? Do not take my word for this–look up Luke chapters 1-2. Read them. See anything missing? That’s right! Joseph, who is pledged to a virgin named Mary (1:27) doesn’t say anything at all about the fact that his bride-to-be is suddenly pregnant. There is no mention of him worrying at all about it.

So far as we can tell from Luke, Joseph, who we only know as a descendant of David here, is going to be wed to a virgin and then finds out that she’s pregnant. He’s not the father? What’s his reaction? We don’t find out until Luke 2, where Joseph simply takes Mary with him to be counted in the census, dutifully takes Jesus to the Temple, and that’s about it. Isn’t he wondering anything about this child? It’s not his! What happened?

Only by turning to Matthew 1:18ff do we find out that Joseph did have his second thoughts, but that God sent an angel explaining that Mary had not been unfaithful, and that the baby was a gift of the Holy Spirit. So we have an explanation for why Joseph acted as he did in Luke. Now these are independent accounts, and it would be hard to say that Luke just decided to leave out the portion about Joseph just because he wanted to have Matthew explain his account.

The genealogies of Jesus that Matthew and Luke include are different, but they reflect the meta-narratives going on within each Gospel. Luke’s narrative generally points out the women throughout in a positive light, and it is often argued that his genealogy traces the line of Mary. Matthew, writing to a Jewish audience, traces through Jesus’ legal father, Joseph. Now it could be argued that these are simply reflections of the authors’ imaginations within their fictional accounts, but surely including names with descendants tracing all the way back to Abraham and beyond is not a good way to construct a fictional account. No, Matthew and Luke include the genealogies because their accounts are grounded in history.

Incidental Details

Interestingly, the birth narratives of Jesus also help explain the events reported in Mark and John, which do not report His birth. What of the apparent familiarity John had with Jesus in Mark 1:3ff and John 1:19ff? It seems a bit odd for John to go around talking about someone else “out there” who will be better in every way than he himself is without knowing who this other person is. Well, looking back at Matthew and Luke, we find that Mary and Elizabeth (John’s mother) knew each other and had visited each other during their pregnancy. It seems a foregone conclusion that they continued to interact with each other after the births of their sons, which would explain John’s apparent familiarity with Jesus in Mark and John.

Strangely, Mark never mentions Joseph as Jesus’ father. If all we had was Mark’s Gospel, we would be very confused about who Jesus’ father is. The oddness is compounded by the fact that Mary is mentioned a number of times. Well okay, that still seems pretty incidental. But what about the fact that Mark explicitly has a verse where he lists Mary as well as Jesus’ siblings?

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:3, ESV)

This verse seems extremely weird. After all, Joseph was a carpenter (well, a more accurate translation is probably “craftsman”) and yet despite Mark explicitly using that word for Jesus, as well as listing Mary and Jesus’ siblings, we still see nothing but silence regarding Jesus’ father. Well, of course! After all, when we turn to the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke, we find that Jesus was born of a virgin. Jesus had no human father. Thus, Mark, ever the concise master of words, simply omits Joseph from details about Jesus’ life. But to not mention Jesus’ father in a largely patriarchal society alongside his mother and siblings seems extremely strange. It is only explained by the fact of the virgin birth, with which Mark would have been familiar. However, Mark didn’t see the birth narrative as important in his “action Gospel.” Only by turning to Matthew and Luke do we find an explanation for the strange omission of Joseph from Mark’s Gospel.

Conclusion

I have listed just a few undesigned coincidences to be gleaned from the birth narratives of Jesus. The fact of the matter is that these can be multiplied almost indefinitely if one looks at the whole of the Gospels, and even moreso if one investigates the whole Bible. These incidental details fit together in such a way as to give the Gospels the ring of truth. The way that Matthew fills in details of Luke, Mark demonstrates his familiarity with the birth narratives, and the intimate connections of Jesus and John are all cross-confirmed is both incidental and amazing. The claim is not that based upon these incidences alone the Gospel accounts are true. No, the claim is that those who challenge the truth of these accounts must account for these incidences in a way that is more plausible than that they simply occur when people relate history. It seems that the only way to do that would be to resort to outlandish narratives that involve the four authors sitting together and discussing which portions of stories to leave out so the others can fill them in. No, instead it seems much more likely that these four authors were writing what they had witnessed–or received from eyewitness testimony, and just as we do when recounting events (think of 9/11, for example, and the different things people remember) they wrote specific details they felt were important or part of the narrative, while the others found other things more important or had other incidental knowledge related to the events they recorded.

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

About these ads

About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

37 thoughts on “Jesus’ Birth: How undesigned coincidences give evidence for the truth of the Gospel accounts

  1. First, I love these “incidental details” that confirm the authenticity of the Bible (there’s a lot in the OT too). But I have to take issue with two point you make:
    1) You write: “In John 4:5, we learn that Jesus is coming near to Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. That’s another confirmation outside of Matthew for the accuracy of his account.” But isn’t John 4:5 talking about the Jacob and Joseph of the Old Testament, not about Jesus’s father and grandfather? John 4:5 can hardly be a confirmation of anything since this fact is so well known from Genesis.
    2) You write about Mark 6:3 “Mark explicitly using that word for Jesus, as well as listing Mary and Jesus’ siblings, we still see nothing but silence regarding Jesus’ father.” The NIV text notes for this verse indicate that Jesus’s father (Joseph) has probably died by this point. As far as I know, he is not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament after the birth narratives. But, as you point out, his brothers and Mary are mentioned on multiple occasions – therefore it seems likely to me that he had simply died (or much less likely) had abandoned the family.

    On another topic, probably my favorite “unintended coincidence” comes from the crossing of the Jordan River. The text mentions that the river was at flood stage, which happens in early spring due to snowmelt on Mt Horeb. Interestingly in the previous chapter the spies were staying up on Rahab’s roof “under the flax”. Flax was harvested in the early spring and laid on rooftops to dry. Before the days of Google (and supposedly living hundreds of years after the events), what are the chances that the authors could have gotten this detail correct?

    Posted by tumeyn | December 10, 2012, 9:22 AM
    • Ah! thanks for the comment and the correction on the first point. Regarding the second: even though Joseph was likely dead, I find it inconceivable that Mark would not have listed him in these places, particularly when he describes Jesus as having the same profession. It’s not as though we stop talking about people’s fathers just because they passed away. My dad is a pastor, just like his father was. That’s a perfectly natural fact to include, and in a patriarchal society like the one in which Mark was written I find it astonishing that Joseph is left out, unless you turn to the birth narratives. It may not be a particularly strong coincidence, but I think it is one nonetheless.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 10, 2012, 10:34 AM
  2. Wonderful stuff, guys (J. W. and Tumeyn). I don’t know if it qualifies for additional data regarding Joseph, but Luke 2:35 records Simeon saying, “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also…” Who was he speaking to? Was it only Mary? Was it because Mary was the only one who would be around to see Jesus die? Just wondering.

    Posted by Anthony Baker | December 10, 2012, 11:07 AM
  3. “…these four authors were writing what they had witnessed…”

    But the authors of the Gospels weren’t witnesses to Christ’s birth, right?

    How did Luke know, for example, that Joseph had had his doubts prior to the revelation that Mary had become pregnant via the Holy Spirit? Did he (or any of them) interview Joseph?

    Posted by Andrew Marburger (@AndrewMarburger) | December 10, 2012, 11:15 AM
    • Perfect! I appreciate all these pressing comments. You’re right. I was writing broad-brush there and have revised it to mention the dependence upon eyewitness testimony. Thanks.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 10, 2012, 11:33 AM
      • So, in the end, this is all dependent on the veracity of a handful of 2,000 year old eye-witness testimonies. What about Sathya Sai Baba who has tens of thousands of eye-witness testimonies from this half of this century? His skeptics challenged him to repeat the miracles under scientific scrutiny, would the eye-witness accounts you reference stand up to such inquiry?

        Posted by C | December 10, 2012, 4:40 PM
      • Um, what about Sathya Sai Baba? What point are you trying to make? Regarding your second question:

        would the eye-witness accounts you reference stand up to such inquiry?

        I doubt the genuineness of this question, but I’m going to go ahead and answer it: yes.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 10, 2012, 4:43 PM
      • Sure thing.

        Regarding the eyewitnesses: if Luke was, indeed, written between AD 75-100, wouldn’t these eyewitnesses have been 95-120 years old at the time of composition?

        Even if we ere on the side of best case scenarios for age, the eye-witnesses would be around 50+ in a time when average life expectancy was around 25-30.

        I’m saying this proves anything at all…merely that it is unlikely that even a few eyewitnesses would have survived to the start of Jesus’ ministry much less to the time the gospels were written…

        Thoughts?

        Posted by Andrew Marburger (@AndrewMarburger) | December 10, 2012, 7:33 PM
      • The assumption here is that the text is the first form of the Gospel, which I would dispute. I think that the Gospels were passed on orally before they were written down, probably around the time those who had witnessed the events began to pass away/be killed. Furthermore, as far as the life expectancy goes, I’d be really curious to see your source for that, and don’t just link me to some random web page. After all, Josephus notes people who lived to be over a hundred among the Essenes. That of course wouldn’t mean the average life expectancy were much lower–rather, it would just be evidence that people could live longer which is obvious anyway–but seriously: where’s the source? From a simple search I found people authoritatively claiming life expectancy at 20-28, 42-62, 60-68, 19-24, etc. So you’ll have to be forgiving that I’m a bit skeptical of your confidence there. And of course, life expectancy doesn’t somehow limit the ages of people.

        But again, I don’t think it matters anyway because the Gospels were originally orally passed on. That, at least, seems to me to best explain a number of things about them which are pretty much irrelevant to this conversation.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 10, 2012, 9:20 PM
      • shoot…I hate typing on an iPad #firstworldproblems

        I meant 50+ at the time Jesus began his ministry and that this does NOT prove anything.

        Sorry.

        Posted by Andrew Marburger (@AndrewMarburger) | December 10, 2012, 7:34 PM
      • Andrew Marburger: “written between AD 75-100″

        The problem with this scenario, however, is that there is no evidence that it was written that late, conflicting even with the internal evidence, which offers plentiful markers pointing to a pre-70 AD date, like for example the mention of the temple. Had the gospel been written later there would have been a clarification that the sayings and wonders of Jesus happened before the temple was destroyed, or at leadt, the language garbed in past tense.

        Posted by Ironclad | December 11, 2012, 1:45 PM
  4. “Um, what about Sathya Sai Baba? What point are you trying to make?” I doubt you believe that he was actually performing the miracles that were attributed to him – yet the eye-witness accounts are far more recent and far more numerous. Why you believe a handful of testimonies from the bronze age as opposed to (some say) millions from a few decades ago? I’m sure one could find ‘undesigned consequences’ in his testimonials as well, don’t you think?

    Posted by C | December 10, 2012, 6:10 PM
    • I don’t doubt that all kinds of miracles occur today. I haven’t read any accounts of them in regards to Sathya Sai Baba, so I can’t comment directly upon them, but it seems that you’re trying to somehow present this as an argument against my position. Yet where have I denied that other miracles can occur? It seems to me your own position is leaking through in what you are assuming I believe.

      So again, what exactly is your point?

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 10, 2012, 6:23 PM
      • I don’t think that your argument that ‘undesigned coincidences give evidence for the truth of the Gospel accounts’ is a compelling one. I don’t believe that Sai Baba can levitate, walk on water, transform inanimate objects or any of the nonsense attributed to him – but I’m sure you could find ‘undesigned coincidences’ if you tried. That simply does not ‘give evidence for the truth’ of his accounts.

        My point is undesigned coincidences do not give evidence for the truth of the Gospel accounts.

        Posted by C | December 11, 2012, 10:50 AM
      • So your point is that you dismiss them based upon an a priori bias against the miraculous. I’m sorry, but I don’t find that very convincing.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 11, 2012, 5:47 PM
      • C wrote: “Sai Baba……I’m sure you could find ‘undesigned coincidences’ if you tried.”

        Hello. Concerning what you wrote above, what would those undesigned coincidences look like as applied in the case of Sai Baba? Are you talking about biographers chronicling his actions like Luke and John did with Jesus? The Undesigned Coincidences would only establish that fraud was not at play. It doesn’t necessarily go to the grain of the actual events being described.

        Posted by Ironclad | December 11, 2012, 6:14 PM
      • “undesigned coincidences do NOT give evidence for the truth of [ ]”

        A true statement that does not require an ‘a priori bias against the miraculous.’

        Posted by C | December 11, 2012, 6:33 PM
      • A claim that is not backed up.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 11, 2012, 6:44 PM
  5. Jesus did not have siblings. Brethren in his time refers to relatives such as cousins. Mary’s virginity is perpetual, the Ark of the Covenant prefigures Mary. Just as the Ark was a spotless vessel so Christ chose a spotless vessel to carry Him.

    Posted by Mary Ann McAtee | December 10, 2012, 6:55 PM
    • That’s certainly an interesting perspective. The text, however, does say “brother” so I’m inclined to think that Jesus did have siblings.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 10, 2012, 9:12 PM
      • You may want to consider the language of early texts not just modern translation of the word “brother”. I am also relying on the Sacred Tradition of the Church in understanding Mary’s role in salvation history. The Bible is also part of Sacred Tradition handed down from the Church and can get confusing with numerous interpretations. So I’m saying basically its a question of Authority, obviously I’m opening a pandoras box for many more discussions.

        Posted by Mary Ann McAtee | December 11, 2012, 8:36 AM
    • Mary:

      Matthew 1.24–25 states,

      When Joseph awoke from sleep he did what the angel of the Lord told him. He took his wife, but did not have marital relations with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named Jesus.

      Would you agree that Matthew’s account seems to imply that Joseph had marital relations with Mary after she gave birth to Jesus?

      Posted by Thomas Larsen | December 10, 2012, 10:30 PM
      • I’m sorry, I’m at work and don’t have a lot of time but I would be glad to do further research for you on this. Basically it’s about the way the word “until” is used in scripture, for instance there is a verse in Samuel I believe that says “his bones remained buried until”……does that mean until they dug them up? Doubtful. Or in Acts where states “Christ will reign until”…,does that imply one day he won’t be King? That’s absurd. Have you ever considered why Jesus entrusted His Mother to John when He was on cross? That isn’t logical if he had siblings because at the time and in the culture that would have been unnecessary if she had other siblings. I’d be happy to discuss further but my main point was this cannot be interpreted by individuals because you get as many interpretations as individuals. Where did the Bible come from and how do you know it’s true, that’s the fundamental question,

        Posted by Mary Ann McAtee | December 11, 2012, 12:24 PM
    • Greetings!

      Mary: “Jesus did not have siblings,”

      It would be odd for the text to be referring to the mother of Jesus and then mention “other relatives” aside from the most obvious, the actual, fundamental composition of the family unit, i.e., father, mother and their children. Why mention the other relatives as if this had any importance if not Jesus’ actual family? And who are we talking about? Uncles, nieces, cousins? If you say cousins, for example, what are they doing following Mary as if she were their mother? That’s not the gist one gets from reading the passage,

      Great blog entry, btw.

      Posted by Ironclad | December 11, 2012, 12:36 AM
      • Please see above postings. The original Greek and Aramaic writings did not have a precise word for the word “cousin”.

        Posted by Mary Ann McAtee | December 11, 2012, 1:04 PM
      • Mary: “The original Greek and Aramaic writings did not have a precise word for the word “cousin”

        My contention was not so much the word but the context in which it is wrapped. Why mention “relatives” as if this had any importance? Who are these relatives, and if they are really not siblings of Jesus, why are they following Mary around? Sounds odd if they are uncles, nephews or cousins. The passage only makes sense if these were the children of Mary.

        Posted by Ironclad | December 11, 2012, 6:29 PM
      • Dear Ironclad
        Please read the lengthier post I wrote last night and get back to me. I think I may have already answered your question, if not I’ll try again. Frankly I think it’s obvious why they “followed Mary around”, she was probably with Jesus much of the time and wouldn’t that mean his followers were there too? I realize this area is a stumbling block for many but I felt called to respond, I only ask you consider the reasoning for her need to be a spotless vessel.

        Posted by Mary Ann McAtee | December 12, 2012, 8:58 AM
  6. /Jesus did not have siblings/ – Really? Do you have any scriptural evidence for this?

    I think the scriptures actually say otherwise:

    Matthew 12:46-47 “While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. And someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.”

    Matthew 13:55 – “Is not this the carpenters son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?”

    Mark 6:2-3 – “And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? “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?”

    John 2:12 – “After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days.”

    Acts 1:14 – “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

    1 Cor. 9:4-5 – “Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?”

    Gal. 1:19 – But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lords brother.”

    Posted by chonn1 | December 10, 2012, 10:30 PM
    • OK, I apologize to the author for getting a little off topic here. I will do my best to defend the perpetual virginity of Mary and I am open to any debate as long as everyone (including myself) is charitable. Here goes:As I stated in earlier responses the interpretation from the original text can be confusing due to cultural circumstances as well as language restrictions. For example, there is not a Greek or Aramaic precise word for cousin. The Greek word is “adelphos” which could include “brothers” in a tribal manner, a national meaning, community or common interest all could mean “brother” though not in the literal blood brother manner. As a Christian, I consider you my “brother” in Christ or “sister” as the case may be. In the Old Testament, Abraham refers to Lot as his “brethren” even though he is really his nephew. Our use of modern language can be confusing.
      Also, some believe it is possible that Joseph could have children from a previous marriage and the “brothers” are his stepbrothers but that would not change the perpetual virginity of Mary. Also, Jesus is mentioned as having brethren but there is not a scriptural reference to Mary having other children. The “other Mary” who is referred to at the cross is the mother of James and Joseph (wife of clopas I think), some confuse her as Jesus’ mother. I also mentioned in an earlier response that Jesus entrusted His Mother to John as he was dying on the cross. If he had brothers to guard and protect her, his request would be completely illogical especially in that time and culture, that would have been the responsibility of his siblings.
      The Early Church Fathers wrote about Mary as “ever virgin” including Athanasius 293-373, Jerome 345-419, Augustine 354-430, cyril 376-444 as well as the Council of Constanipole (553-554) referring to Mary as “ever virgin.” so there is historical evidence to back up my position. Even the Reformers Luther, Calvin and Zwingli believed and wrote about the perpetual virginity of Mary.
      So, I did my best to meet you on your terms (Biblical) to convince you. But here’s the catch, I admire your knowledge and passion and reverence for Sacred Scripture TOTALLY, that’s awesome but as I said in earlier responses, there are as many individual interpretations as there are individuals. I am guessing you are coming from a Sola Scriptora point of view (can you show me where that is in the Bible?) and we could argue all day and night with our opposing intrepretations on EVERYTHING! How did the Church function/organize/instruct before the New Testament was officially approved as inspired by the Holy Spirit? How did it continue to grow for centuries when there were only a few handwritten copies in the world? How about before the invention of the printing press? Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Magesterium work together under the action of the Holy Spirit to communicate Truth. Timothy 3:15 says “the Church is the bulwark of Truth”. In 2 Thes 2:15 St Paul says “stand firm and hold fast to traditions that were taught either by oral structures or letter”. Christ knew when he established Church on Earth that we would need the Magesterium to safeguard and interpret the word of God both oral and written. Otherwise, everybody thinks they know what God really meant (gnostism) so you could even have some intrepreting that homosexuality is just fine because that’s how they intrepret it, see what I mean? So I’ve probably made this complicated but I’m saying the perpetual virginity of Mary has been taught by the Church historically and theologically since it’s inception. The Virgin birth of Our Savior is a mystery and part of God’s plan in the fullness of time. As a mere human being I am never going to fully grasp this mystery while on Earth but I have faith that it happened as the Sacrad deposit of the Faith (through scripture, tradition and the magesterium of the Church) teach.
      “Mary’s perpetual virginity points us unmistakeably to the Christological mystery of the Eternal Word becoming flesh in Mary’s womb, in the marriage (without commingling) of the human and divine through God’s marvelous condescension” Dei Verbum No 1

      I submit the above with all due respect and sincerity. May God bless you and all who read this blog sight. I wiil do my best to answer any further questions.
      Ad Majorum Dei Glorium (All for the Greater Glory of God) Mary Ann

      Posted by Mary Ann McAtee | December 11, 2012, 5:24 PM
      • Hi Mary. In reading your lengthy response to the poster chonn1, as you have prompted me in another posting, I noted your following observation:

        Mary: ” If he had brothers to guard and protect her, his request would be completely illogical especially in that time and culture, that would have been the responsibility of his siblings.”

        There are a few problems with this interpretation:

        (1) It goes against the logic you’ve been using that aims at broadening the Hebrew word for ‘brother.’ If these people following Mary (Mt 12) are in fact ‘relatives’ instead of her children, then, why shouldn’t the responsibility of taking care of her fall on them also? Obviously, she was not alone. The same logic you used to negate Jesus’ brothers also negates the ‘relatives’ who were showing concern for Mary.

        (2) Your argument does not give room for the full expression of ancient Jewish customs and laws, and the ramifications that they entail in the hermeneutics of the biblical text. In Mark 12, for example, Jesus is presented with a challenge by the Sadducees concerning the Mosaic code of allowing men to marry their dead brothers’ widows, which was also a normal part of the “time and culture” of those days. Taking care of widows or lonely women was not just only the responsibility of progeny.

        (3) Part and parcel to # 2 above, the person wishing to argue that the Hebrew word for ‘brother’ has a much larger semantic meaning than just ‘sibling’ is now burdened with the task of clarifying for us what particular relative is the word referring to in the context of the given passage. You have yet to define what the word ‘relative’ in the context of Matthew 12 means. Who is the text referring to if not the brothers of Jesus? And what are the reasons for justifying that definition, strictly from the biblical text?

        (4) In Galatians 1:19, Paul identifies a James as brother of Jesus, which is a confirmation of Matthew 13:55-56 where we are introduced to three additional ‘relatives’: Joses, Simon, and Judas, in addition to ‘sisters.’ Here again the traditional family unit is reemphasized. It talks of a father, a mother, and their children, exactly what one would expect of a traditional household. It would be odd if nieces or uncles or grandparents were mixed in [accomplished by the word ‘relative’] as that is not the fundamental family cell we have come to know about.

        (5) As the reader would notice, the text also talks of ‘sisters.’ I ask, does the Hebrew word there also carry an ambiguous meaning as under the moniker for ‘relative’? I argue that it does not, and the insertion of the two genitival terms makes the case, since the latter word supposed to be all-inclusive. The Bible is not being given justice if we simply throw about words without appreciating and elaborating on their fuller meanings.

        Posted by Ironclad | December 12, 2012, 1:42 PM
    • I forgot to add another item:

      (6) John 7:5 states that Jesus’ brothers did not believe in him, and the passage makes it seem as they were looking at Jesus with derision. That would explain why Mary was not with Jesus’ male “relatives” at the cross and why John was chosen as her spiritual son, for all the other ten disciples had disappeared as well, another Undesigned Coincidence to add to our collection.

      Posted by Ironclad | December 12, 2012, 2:46 PM
      • Ok, here’s the thing: as I mentioned earlier we could go on forever dissecting and scrutinizing everything in the Bible and debate every issue ad infinitium. And rightly we should study and meditate on God’s word everyday. But we run into trouble we we combine conjecture, imagination modem day customs and culture and opinion into what we are reading. I, Mary Ann McAtee, have not been given authority by God to interpret scripture, He gave that Authority to His Church. I can and do ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in praying and reading scripture but individuals do not have that authority, that is the reason for so much division and splintering. I look to the Sacrad Deposit of the Church ( scripture, tradition and magesterium) to guide me in all things including Mary’s perpetual virginity, pro-life teachings, teachings on sanctity of marriage, etc. An analogy would be if you wanted to take a trip to Washington DC. The first thing you would do is get a map and that’s the easiest, surest way to reach your destination. Now you could try to figure out on your own how to get there, you might have a lot of opinions about best way or get ideas from friends and hash it out or just start driving and do the best you can on your own…… But the map gives you the FREEDOM to get there most efficaciously. So it’s a question of Authority ( “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”) and this Authority is exactly where your Bible came from, not the other way around. And lastly, the Church teaches that at the cross St John the apostle represents us, the followers of Christ, when he said “behold your Mother” He was giving Mary to us. To imitate Christ is to honor (not worship) His Mother. Just as at the first miracle at Cana when she said “do whatever He tells you”, Mary always points to her Son. “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”
        God bless!

        Posted by Mary Ann McAtee | December 13, 2012, 9:56 AM
      • I would like to apologize again to JW for getting off your original topic. I read your post from a FB friend, this is really the first time I have participated in a blog discussion like this, I was not trying to provoke and I’m sorry about that although I do enjoy a charitable debate. Thank you, Mary Ann

        Posted by Mary Ann McAtee | December 13, 2012, 10:04 AM
      • Hello there again!

        Mary: “I, Mary Ann McAtee, have not been given authority by God to interpret scripture, He gave that Authority to His Church.

        I respectfully disagree as that would contradict such clear passages as:

        John 14:16-17And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another HELPER, to be with you forever, even the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for HE DWELLS WITH YOU and will be IN YOU.

        John 14:26the COUNSELOR, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, WILL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

        John 15:26When the COUNSELOR comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he WILL TESTIFY about me.

        John 16:13-15But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, HE WILL GUIDE you into all truth…..That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and MAKE IT KNOWN TO YOU.

        Lest one is misguided that these directives were only meant for the Apostles and the original church, take heed what the Apostle Peter said in Acts 2:38-39 concerning this Counselor, Helper and Teacher:

        Peter replied “Repent and be babtized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. THE PROMISE IF FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN AND FOR ALL WHO ARE FAR OFF–for all whom the Lord our God will call.

        Additionally and apart from the Promise elucidated above…..

        Acts 17:11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and EXAMINED THE SCRIPTURES every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Note that the Bereans were diligently searching the scriptures apart from any endorsement from Jerusalem or any other ecclesiastical governing body, to see if what Paul, an authority figure himself, was really telling the truth. And indeed they were able to find the truth!

        1 John 4:1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but TEST THE SPIRITS to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The Apostle is laying the responsibility of testing the spirits upon the individual members of the local churches. And this type of testing would by necessity involve analysis of scriptures, e.g., comparing an alleged prophecy to what was already written, without having to wait for a decree from a central institution.

        2 Timothy 2:15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by Him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, RIGHTLY EXPLAINING THE WORD OF TRUTH.” To rightly explain the Word requires personal study and searching of scriptures.

        There are a ton more, but these are sufficient to give us a general idea of our God-given responsibility towards the study of the holy writ.

        May God richly bless you as you continue in your own personal study!

        Posted by Ironclad | December 13, 2012, 2:13 PM
      • You are absolutely correct, invoking the Holy Spirit when reading Scripture is proper in understanding God’s love and mercy and action in our lives, sorry if I was unclear. I am referring to Church teachings and doctrine, the multiple authorities, opinions, disagreements and splintering can be problematic. May God bless you too Ironclad, I admire your passion.

        Posted by Mary Ann McAtee | December 13, 2012, 6:58 PM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Christmas Edition Really Recommended Posts 2013 | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - December 20, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,357 other followers

Archives

Like me on Facebook: Always Have a Reason
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,357 other followers

%d bloggers like this: