Siblings of Jesus

The Gospel of Mark 3:32-35 is a passage that gives fuel for Protestants to believe Mary was not a perpetual virgin. This thought is the heresy of helvidianism that argues the very point of this passage, albeit wrong. Helvidius was an author before 383 AD and wrote a book claiming Mary and St. Joseph had marital relations and other children.1


How do you provide the Truth? First it is important to explain that in Greek the word for brothers used in Mark’s Gospel is adelphois, which, in its literal sense means “brothers; those from the same womb.” This is also in John 1:41 as adelpho. In Acts 22:13 it means "one who shares a common ethnic heritage.”  In Matthew 7:3-5 it means "neighbor." In Colossians 4:7 the word refers to "one who shares the same faith in Christ; a fellow-believer."2  Adelphai, the word used for sister in Marks Gospel, falls under the same complication.


It’s important to defend scripture with scripture and not pick and choose. Is there another verse in scripture that uses the exact same Greek word to mean people not born of Mary? Yes, 1Corinthians 15:6 After that, He (Jesus) appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

I am fairly certain Mary did not birth 500 children.


Also, when the Virgin is mentioned in scripture she is called Mary, the mother of Jesus (see John 2:1, Acts 1:14). Mary, Maria in Greek, Miriam in Hebrew, is a common name in Jewish culture. When James and Joseph, also called Joses, are referred to as Jesus’ brothers in Mark 6:3 it SEEMS like the Virgin is their mother but further reading in Marks lands us on 15:40 which says Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. The virgin would have been listed as the mother of Jesus, not only James and Joses.


Included as brothers in Mark 6:3 is Judas and Simon. I find it personally interesting that James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon were surprised and fascinated by Jesus Christ as if they had not known Him before introduction. John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus and it is possible not to live around your cousins and therefore not know them well, but siblings tend to live in the same house. Would they not have known Jesus if they were brothers? Would they not have needed to ask “Where do you live”? If Mary, the mother of Jesus had been their mother as well, they would have followed Him out the door not found him on a beach and elsewhere.