(version 12)

... by Bob Stanley 916-273-6415


Or did she?

October 16, 1995

MATTHEW 13:55-56, and MARK 6:3, both say,
"Is not this the carpenter, the Son of Mary, the brother of JAMES, and JO'SES (JOSEPH), and of JUDE and SIMON? And are not His sisters here with us?"

(Note! Only the 'carpenter' is called 'THE Son of Mary', not 'A Son of Mary')

Some people refer to these verses as 'proof', that Mary had other children. See also: Mt 12:46, Mk 3:31, Lk 8:19, Jn 7:5,

Let us examine this more closely, using your bible...


This is a plural word for 'brother' as shown in dictionaries.


The Hebrew word 'ACH', is ordinarily translated 'brother'. Since Hebrew, and Aramaic in which the Gospel of Matthew was written, had fewer words than our English, the Jews at that time, used it in a broader sense to expresses kinship.

The Hebrew terms for different levels and degrees of relationship did not exist. 'Brother' meant the sons of the same father, and all the male members of the same clan or tribe.

In Greek, in which the Gospel of Mark was written, 'brother' is Phratry, from the Greek Phrater, meaning a fellow member of a clan.

Even today, the word is used in a larger meaning, so that friends, allies, fellow believers, and fellow citizens can be included in the same brotherhood.

It was no different in the time of Christ.

Four dictionaries I have checked list three or four classes of meanings of the word 'brother'.
The first class concerns sons of the same parents.
The other two or three classes say, kinsman, fellow man, a close friend, a pal, a member of a religious order, a fellow member of a Christian Church, etc.

How many times have you seen T.V. Evangelists address their audiences as 'Our brothers and sisters'?

Marian detractors accept the last three meanings to suit themselves, but when it comes to Mary, the mother of GOD, they always refer to the first meaning.

Is this fair to her?
How do you explain this?

See: Num 8:26, 1Sam 30:23, 2Sam 1:26, 1King 9:13, 2Chron 29:34.

For Example...

If you will read Gen 29:15,
"And Laban said to Jacob, because thou art my brother..."
At first you would think Jacob and Laban are blood brothers.

Now compare Gen 29:5,
"..know ye Laban, the son of Nahor..."

Compare Gen 25:21-26, and you will see Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah. Laban was the son of Nahor. They were not blood brothers but fellow citizens.

Christ tells the Multitude and His disciples in Mt 23:1-8,

In Mt 12:50 and Mk 3:35, Jesus says,
"For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same is my 'BROTHER', and 'SISTER', and MOTHER."
That verse says it all.

In 1Cor 15:6, Jesus appeared to five hundred 'brothers' at one time.
Could all of these be blood brothers?


Then there is Peter speaking before one hundred and twenty brothers in Acts 1:15-16.

Paul speaks of one 'called a brother', in 1Cor 5:11. The Bible has many more similar verses.

Now we have four 'brothers', JAMES, JO'SES, SIMON, and JUDE to account for as written in Mk 6:3...

Mk 15:40,
"There were also women looking on afar off: among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of JAMES the less, and of JO'SES, and Salome."

These people were at the crucifixion. Jn 19:25,
"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother ( Mary ) and His mothers sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene."

Mt 10:2-3,
"...'JAMES' the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus."
Alphaeus is an alternate translation of Cleophas (Clophas) and so he is the same person.

Acts 1:13,
"...JAMES, the son of Alphaeus, and SIMON Zelo'tes, and JUDE the brother of JAMES."

From these four passages, we see we have another 'Mary', who was the wife of Cleophas (Alphaeus), and the mother of three of Jesus's 'brethren', JAMES (the less), and JO'SES, and JUDE.

This clearly shows that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was not the mother of JAMES, JO'SES, and JUDE of Mk 6:3.

To keep Mk 6:3 in harmony, since three are not children of Mary, the mother of Jesus, then SIMON is not either. SIMON is the Canaanite Mk 3:18, also called the 'Zealot' (Zelo'tes), Mt 10:4, Lk 6:15, Acts 1:13.

Jude, who authored the Epistle of Jude, says he is the brother of James in Jude 1:1. Jude was also called 'Thaddeus' in Mt 10:3, and in Mk 3:18. This was to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot.

Lk 6:16 further distinguishes the two by saying,
"And Judas (Jude) the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor."

More on the topic of 'Mary's other children', I have another point to make...

Jn 19:26-27,
"When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He loved..."
The disciple was John, the author of the Gospel of John.
"Then He said to the disciple, BEHOLD THY MOTHER."
Was John a child of Mary and blood brother of Jesus?

Read the following verses to see...

Mk 1:19,
"...He saw James, the son of Zebedee, and 'JOHN', his brother."

Mk 3:17,
"And James the son of Zebedee, and 'JOHN' the brother of James."

In neither of these passages is it said that Jesus saw a blood brother or even recognized them as men that He knew.

Mt 27:56,
"Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James

Mt 20:20,
(the less) and Jo'ses, and the mother of Zebedee's children."

Mk 15:40,
"...among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James (the less), and Salome (mother of Zebedee's children)."

Lk 24:10,
"It was Mary Magdalene...and Mary ('the other Mary') the mother of James (the less)..."

A comparison of Mt 27:56, and Mk 15:40, clearly shows that Zebedee had a wife whose name was Salome. She is called the 'mother of Zebedee's children' in Mt 27:56, and 'Salome' in Mk 15:40. They had two children, JOHN and JAMES, Mk 3:17. JOHN at the foot of the cross to whom Jesus gave His mother, was not a child of Mary, the mother of Jesus, but of Zebedee and Salome. If Jesus had blood brothers, why then did He not give His mother to them? Jewish law would have demanded it...

        +   >------begat------James and John----------------------  
        +   >------begat------James (the less), Jo'ses, and Jude--
         ---Mary---(the other Mary, Mt 27:56,61, 28:1, Jn 19:25)--
         ---THE HOLY SPIRIT---------------------------------------
        +   >------begat------JESUS THE CHRIST--------------------

This 'Genealogy' shows who the real parents of the 'brothers' in Mark 6:3, and Matthew 13:55, are, and makes the word 'brother' a non-argument.

Additional notes...

Mt 1:25, "And knew her not till...".
The old meaning of the word 'till' or 'until', meant an action did not occur up to a certain point. It does not imply the action did occur later.

Gen 8:7, "He sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, 'until' the waters were dried up off the earth."

2Sam 6:23, "...the daughter of Saul had no child 'until' the day of her death." Did she have a child after she died?

Lk 1:34, "Then said Mary unto the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" This shows Mary had no relations with a man before and was virgin.

Lk 2:7, "And she brought forth her 'firstborn' Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes..." Firstborn, at the time of the writing of the Gospels, meant, 'the child that opened the womb'. See Ex 13:2 and Num 3:12.

Firstborn does not imply that Mary had other children, as an ONLY son, IS a 'FIRSTBORN SON'. The author of this letter is one.


Bible References:

Gen 8:7, Gen 25:21-26, Gen 29:5,15,
Ex 13:2,
Num 3:12, Num 8:26,
Deut 23:7,
1Sam 30:23, 2Sam 1:26,6:23,
1King 9:13, 2King 10:13-14, 2Chron 29:34,
Mt 1:25, Mt 4:21, Mt 10:2-4, Mt 12:46, Mt *12:50, Mt 13:55-56, Mt 20:20, Mt 26:26, Mt 27:56,61, Mt 28:1,
Mk 1:19, Mk 2:14, Mk 3:17-21,31,35, Mk 6:3, Mk 15:40,47,
Lk 1:34, Lk 2:7 Lk 2:41-51, Lk 5:10, Lk 6:16, Lk 8:19, Lk 24:10,
Jn 7:2-7, Jn 19:25-27,
Acts 1:13-16, Rom 8:29, 1Cor 5:11, 1Cor 9:5, 1Cor 15:6, Gal 1:19, 1Pet 5:12, Jude 1:1