The brothers of Jesus Christ

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
There were many posts I have read about the argument of who are the brothers of our ‎Lord. The argument was that Tradition told us that they are His cousins, or half brothers. ‎I came upon this passage that give you a Biblical foundation of who His brothers where.‎

‎"Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and ‎Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him." (Mark 6:3)‎

‎"Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter's ‎son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and ‎Judas?"(Matthew 13:54-56)‎

In Matthew 27 verse 56 He says, "among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother ‎of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons"‎

In Mark 15:40, it is written "There were also women looking on from afar, among whom ‎were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome,"‎

and again at verse 47, same chapter "And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses ‎observed where He was laid."‎

‎"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife ‎of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)‎

From that last verse we gather that Virgin Mary had a sister named Mary and was ‎married to a guy named Clopas. Also, from the verses before that we gather that Mary ‎Magdalene and Mary the Mother of James, Joses were there to see where He was laid and ‎later came to anoint the body of Jesus Christ. IF Mary the Mother of Joses, James, etc.. ‎was virgin Mary, why would the Bible refer to her as the mother of someone else, or ‎‎(God forbid) her other children? ‎

Another point: "When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved ‎standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then He said to the ‎disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own ‎home."(John 19:26,27) If Virgin Mary had any children other than Our Lord, (God ‎forbid), why would He tell John to take care of her and why would John take her to his ‎home? Why wouldn't her "other" children take care of her? ‎

This is just my 2 cents on answering those who say that Virgin Mary had other children. ‎If you guys have any other points to add, please do so.‎


  • I'll simply repaste a brief little 7 point proof for the step-brother argument, that I wrote up ages ago in response to a nice protestant lady who used to be actively involved in this forum and who was seriously considering Orthodoxy from what i gathered.


    1) There is no denying that the definition of the term adelphos is in fact broad taking on both a literal and figurative connotation. Look up any lexicon of your choice. The term is so loose that evena ccording to Strong's Number: 80 definition #2 the term denotes "having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman".

    2) We know that there is no greek term for the word "step-brothers" - even the greek word for the term "cousin" has a rather loose definition according to the lexicons. Therefore if you can assume for arguments sake that they were step-brothers, than you would have to acknowledge that the only way of expressing this relationship in the greek would be via the term adelphos.

    3) It is well known that in the Hebrew-Aramaic tradition, the word brothers would commonly be used even to extend to cousin relationships. This is the case also in Greek and Slavic languages and cultures to this day, so there is no need to speculate about it.

    4) The authors of the New testemant employed the common Septuagint usage of adelphos, calling cousins and relatives "brothers" since there was only one word available in Hebrew. The Septuagint and the New Testemant followed this. So there IS in fact precedent in the Old Testamant for the broad usage of the term adelphos, (which therefore clearly shows that the term can be used, and in fact was used in a broader sense), which can be found in Genesis 13:8, and Genesis 14:14 where Abraham calls his brothers son Lot, his "brother", Genesis 29:15 where Laban uses the same term for his son-in-law, and Genesis 29:10-12 where Jacob calls his uncle his brother.

    4) In John 19:25 Mary the mother of Jesus is identified as being the sister of ?Mary the wife of Clopas? the virgin Mary?s sister, however we know from tradition that Mary was a single child of Saints Joakhim and Anna, therefore taking this into account how can the word ?adelphos? (or ?adelphe? in the feminine) be taken literally? Even if you wish to deny tradition, what does common sense say about parents naming both their two daughters Mary?

    5) Marys life-long virginity was even allegorically prophesied in the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 44:2-3 we read: "And he said to me, This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way." Placing this passage in its prophetic context, i.e. its secondary meaning, the gate refers to Marys womb. We are told that it shall remain shut, and only the Lord may enter through it. Only Jesus may sit in it. The Perpetual Virginity of Mary, then, is prophesied here.

    6) St Mary's response in Luke 1:34 strongly implies (and confirms tradition) that she had in fact taken a long-life vow to virginity. Considering this statement was said whilst St Mary was betrothed to Joseph, than it is only logical that Joseph was well aware of this. In reference to Luke 1:34 the great St Augustine says: "Surely she would not say that, unless she had previously vowed her virginity to God" and intended to keep it.

    7) It is illogical that the Lord Christ on the cross would entrust His mother St Mary to His disciple St John if she had other children. If St Mary had other children it would be they who would have been responsible for looking after her.

    So in conclusion, taking into account the lexical definition of the term, its precedent usage in the Septugint (which is where the New Testemant authors quoted from), its precedent in the New Testemant in relation to St Mary's "sister", its historical and social context, St Mary's vow to virginity, the Biblical prophecy in relation to St Marys virginity, and the common sense conclusion of the fact Christ entrusted his mother with a disciple - we very well have a strong support for the fact the term was used in relation to Christ's step-brothers.
  • In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The One True God. Amen I love The Holy Theotokos sooo much!!!!!! ......

    In the Bible, an only child was still called a first-born due to his opening the womb thus having a favored status:

    Deuteronomy 21
    "17But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is."

    He also had birthrights of a double portion of his father's assetsupon his death as seen in the above verse. Plus the child would receive a special blessing from the father and the privilege of leadership of the family. We see this in the sitting arrangement of the Patriarch Joseph in Egypt. They were seated according to age...starting from the oldest to the youngest:

    Genesis 43
    "33And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked in astonishment at one another."

    Thus everything that the father had belonged to the first-born. Notice when the father, who was the oldest of the family, died, the next eldest would take over this case the first-born. The Lord Jesus is the first-born Son of the Father (John 3:16) and of the Holy Theotokos (Luke2:7)!

    Now what does this have to do with the perpetual virginity of the Holy Theotokos? ALOT! Here comes the "boom-shaka-laka"! Who did the Lord give charge of His Mother to in John 19:26-27? Not to a biological sibling....but to the Beloved Apostle, St John the Evangelist! Tha's right! Here is the Lord Jesus Christ giving His last will and testimony ...dying for our salvation and He lovingly gives St mary to st John ( who by the way took her in for us as well...thus she is OUR Mother too since Jesus is the first of many spiritual brothers -Romans 8:29
    : 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.)

    So combining the biblical evidence as well as the patristic as brother Michael thoma has so nicely shared with us, we can see and praise God for preserving the perpetual virginity of the Holy Theotokos, St Mary!!!
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    "O, Jesus Christ,Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner! Amen."

  • The above is a repost i pasted from an earlier thread from last year i responded to. ;)
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