The Virgin Birth, post 3

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.

And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her…

…In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-7, ESV)

That’s it. That is the entirety of the Scriptures’ report on the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. Between these passages in Luke and the passage in Matthew we talked about yesterday, we have the entire witness of the Scriptures about the miraculous conception of Jesus.

This passage is more direct about the implied meaning of the word virgin. Mary says, “How will this be, since I am a virgin.” In Greek, this is not the word parthénos but a phrase – andra ou’ ginōskō. This means, “I don’t know a man” and it has an idiomatic sexual context.  She has never had sex, and since Mary is apparently pretty knowledgeable in the area of biology, she knows that pregnancy is fairly impossible without sex.

Mary’s words amplify that the early church clearly believed she had been a virgin when she conceived Jesus. Matthew might be somewhat ambiguous but there is no way to get around Luke.

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