white Virgin Mary statue with gold crown

Mary in the Scriptures

Mary in the Old Testament

She appears as a prototype of the second Eve in the creation narrative. After human-kind sins in the Garden of Eden, God says to the serpent (Satan), “I will put enmity you and the woman and between your offspring and hers. He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel,” (Gen. 3:15).

In Israel the ark of the covenant sheltered by the meeting tent represented the presence of God. “Put the ark of the commandments in it…then a cloud covered the meeting tent and the glory of the Lord filled the dwelling,” (Ex. 40:3,34). In the Lukan birth account the angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will over-shadow you,” (Lk. 1:35). Mary is the ark of the new covenant.

Mary in the New Testament

St. Paul clearly is disinterested in the biographical details and merely refers to Mary indirectly. “God sent forth his son born of a woman, born under the law,” (Gal. 4:4). This passage is primarily interested in pointing to the true humanity of Jesus. There is no text in Paul implying anything unusual in the birth of the Lord.

The growth of the devotion to Mary can be seen in the gospels. In fact the author of Mark presents what appears to be a negative view Jesus’ family and Mary. “His family came to take charge of him saying he was out of his mind, while the scribes who arrived from Jerusalem said he is possessed by Beelzebub,” (Mk. 3:21-22).

Jesus rejects his family with these words: “Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me,” (3:35).

At a later point Jesus revisits Nazareth and is teaching in the synagogue. His listeners are amazed, but at the same time demeaning. Jesus said in response, “No prophet is without honor except in his native place, among his own kindred, and in his own house…so much did their lack of faith distress him,” (Mk. 6:4,6).

However, Mark makes it clear that Jesus has the same problem with the twelve disciples. He despairs of their lack of understanding six different times. They and apparently his own family failed to get it! Mark is not interested in Mary; he has his own agenda which is the doctrine of the cross and the meaning of true discipleship.

Both Luke and Matthew’s parallels to Mark’s texts above have edited the harshness out by modifying the Marcan text by eliminating the question “who are my mother and brothers” and moving the Beelzebub passage to another place (Lk. 11:14-23).

Matthew’s infancy narrative says little about Mary apart from the virginal conception.

However the Lukan infancy narrative corrects Mark by showing Mary as part of Jesus’ family because she is the “servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say,” (1:38). The angel Gabriel salutes her as one favored by God. “Rejoice O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women;Do not fear Mary, you have found favor with God,” (1:28, 30). Elizabeth calls her “the mother of my Lord,” (1:43) and declares Mary blessed because of what God has done for her (1:42).

In her Magnificat, Mary acknowledges that “All ages shall call me blessed…God who is mighty has done great things for me,” (1:48-49). Luke portrays her as a witness for the poor of Israel, the Anawim.

Only Luke has the passage in which a woman blesses his mother (11:27-28). Jesus responds, they are blessed who hear and keep the word of the Lord. This would include Mary because she clearly is presented in the infancy narrative as a servant of the Lord. She also must undergo her test of full discipleship because “a sword will pierce her soul,” (Lk. 2:35).

John’s gospel appears to use Genesis as its pattern. It opens with “In the beginning.” We then have a total of seven days (1:29 ‘ 2:1). Because of this setting many of the Church fathers saw a second Eve theme in the Cana wedding narrative especially with Jesus using “woman” in addressing his mother. Irenaeus (AD 189) writes, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith.”

At the foot of the cross the care of this woman is given to the Beloved Disciple, a symbol of all true believers (Jn 19:26-27). She is our mother.

She is portrayed with the disciples in prayer prior to the first Pentecost (Acts 1:13-14). Vatican II called her the symbol of the Church.

The Reformers and Mary

Luther, Calvin and Zwingli all accepted the doctrinal definition of Mary as the mother of God and her perpetual virginity.

Her role os the new Eve was supported by Zwingli and Luther. They both accepted her immaculate conception and assumption.

In many churches Mary became the heresy of the papacy. As a result she was demoted from her Scripture role as the “blessed of all generations” to a once a year appearance at Christmas. Then she was put in storage for another year.

The Catechism states, “the Church’s devotion to the blessed Mary is intrinsic to Christian worship. This very special devotion differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and Holy Spirit and greatly fosters this adoration,” (paragraph 971).

8 thoughts on “Mary in the Scriptures”

  1. David Vinicombe

    We will always run into theological problems when we view Scripture through the lens of our beliefs, instead of having our beliefs shaped and determined by Scripture.
    Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born, but did not remain a virgin (see Matthew 1:25).

  2. The Immaculate Conception

    490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”.133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

    491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

    The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135
    492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137

    493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

    “Let it be done to me according to your word. . .”

    494 At the announcement that she would give birth to “the Son of the Most High” without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that “with God nothing will be impossible”: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.”139 Thus, giving her consent to God’s word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God’s grace:140

    As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.”141 Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.”142 Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary.”143

    This is from the Catechism Of the Catholic Church.

    The Catholic Church will never teach you wrong. The Apostles were with Christ and the Catholic Church is One, Holy,
    Catholic and Apostolic.

  3. We catholic are honor mary. Because is a person we need to honor,and the lord has give her grace as angel Gabriel announce to mary(luke 1:28) we catholic agree wholeheartedly with angel Gabriel ! Message by calling her “hail” so as for me and my famliy we are honor mary thank.

  4. Paul Stringer: Thank you brother for rebuking “The Truth”.

    Sorry for my inconvenience to reply in “Hail Mary? Why not Hail Jesus? because my login was restricted to that particular page.

    In my post i have mentioned both John the baptist and Mary…
    But, as you are in a Roman catholic denomination, you are trying to defend only the Mary of Roman Catholic. Anyway, I was not speaking about the Mary of Roman Catholic, but about the Mary of Bible and John the baptist.

    My interest is not about the Mary of Roman Catholic or the Marys of India or the Mary of France. I am just speaking about the Mary from bible, who was the mother of Jesus 2000 years ago fleshly. As the Christ teaches me, today Mary is not in the flesh to be called the mother of Jesus. She was been saved by the blood of her Savior(Luke 1:47), Jesus Christ, and received His Spirit on the day of Pentecost and became His Child.

    I feel you have not referenced bible quotes properly. Let me clarify it.

    As you stated:
    Hail Mary full of Grace is what the Angel Gabriel said 2 Mary. Is it the correct quotes from bible?
    Ans: No, because Bible says…

    Luke 1:28 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE),
    “He (angel gabriel) came to her(Mary) and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”[a]

    Luke 1:28 Other ancient authorities add Blessed are you among women.

    Just for defending another Mary(not the Mary of bible), don’t misuse Bible words. And you have not referenced bible verse properly, this shows you are misguiding people. Here, I have given above reference from the catholic edition itself.

    Jesus on mother’s request?
    YES, Jesus will do any request whomever comes to Him and believes only Him. Many Requested Him to heal them, their kind, and asking their dead to bring back alive. He did for whomever faithfully requested Him.

    You vipers, don’t twist the word of God for your wish and belief, misguiding people showing the wedding of canan, saying Mary only can request for great miracles to happen in catholic people life.

    Anyway, what happened at the wedding?
    John 2:4 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
    Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

    Jesus asking, woman, why are you bothering and also why I have to bother?…because Jesus expected faith from that wedding family. Mary did not even replied a word to Jesus, she went calmly.
    But, she showed her faith as her father Abraham by telling to the servants ” do waterever He tells you”.

    So, was it only for Mary’s request, and today, is it only if Mary request’s for us Jesus will do for us?
    Anyway, Last year itself I replied that “Mary is not Omnipresent and not Omnipotent to hear 1.21 billion Catholics at the same time. Only God is Omnipresent and Omnipotent.

    Are you speaking about The Lord God Jesus Christ, or another Jesus as Paul says in 2Corinthians 11:4.

    you are boasting to be catholic, but no Church will come from here to the heaven. Only those who have fellowship in Truth will come, have fellowship with Truth.

    Colossians 2:8New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
    “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.

    Mark 7:5-9 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
    “Pharisees and the scribes asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,

    ‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me;
    in vain do they worship me,
    teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
    You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
    Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition!

    Live with your traditions, deadly beliefs and misguide innocent people. You will be accountable for their souls.

  5. Mary rejoiced and said, “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior(Jesus)”. Luke 1:47
    Mary knows that only Jesus could save her from the bondage of satan which is on all flesh, she confessed his name as her personal Savoir, Savior is the only one who saves from bondage of death.

    John says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an(one) advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2
    Jesus intercedes for every flesh, he interceded even for mary and for you and me too. He is the one and only righteous advocate and interceder for every flesh.

    “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Jesus Christ does not belong to him”. Romans 8:9, Everyone who posses Jesus spirit belongs to him, even mary belongs to Jesus, because those who belongs to Jesus surely has his spirit. Those who have spirit of Jesus they are called saints, Those who does not posses spirit of Jesus will not enter Heaven, since they have not become saint by possessing Jesus spirit.

    Mary received Spirit of Jesus on the day of Pentecost, becuase she knows her personal savior.

    “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” John 3:13
    “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also”. John 14:3
    Please understand no one entered heaven except Jesus, he will come again and everyone will go at same time in heaven after he comes and takes us. Even mary does not enetered heaven, she is eagerly waiting for Jesus.

    “we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive in spirit, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.
    All saints have not precede before us into heaven, because all are waiting for the coming of the Lord, even mary who is alive in spirit waiting for Jesus for his second coming. Everyone will enter heaven at the same time.

    “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Yes everyone will receive this when Jesus comes in his second coming, even our beloved mary have to receive this gift like everyone.

    “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35
    let the beloved Sisters in christ becomes mother(like mother mary) and sister for Jesus by following his words and brothers let us become brother for Jesus, he is in every relationship for us, he is also a good friend for us.

    Let us worship only God and Holy Spirit is the only one who interced for us, from within us. Those who have holy Spirit they are called Saints, Wish every saints. Halleluiah

  6. Jennifer McMahon

    I have always believed Mary was without sin that is why we celebrate Dec 8th because of the immaculate conception. I looked at the rosary about the asuumption and it has the scripture 1 Thes 4:14 but that does not really say she went to heaven in the clouds. Many people I know that go to other denomations state she was born with sin and died like others. That Jesus is the only one born without sin and that is why he died for us. I believe he died for us and that is why he came here. I just want to clear this up because we honor Mary many times during the year and this bothers a lot of my friends. Thank you. Jennifer

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