What does brother and sister mean in Matthew 12:46-50; 13:55; 27:56; Mark 3:31-35; 6:1-3; 15:40; Luke 8: 19-21 and Galatians 1:19?

Are these verses talking about children born to parents via sex or could they be adopted or could it mean spiritual brothers and sisters?

What does the Greek suggest?

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    Does this answer your question? Can αδελφοί refer to cousins?
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 21, 2020 at 1:31
  • not only they had other children but Jesus himself was their normal child. All this controversy of turning Mary as divine mother of god, eternal virgin diana has been resulted from the misguided teaching of calling Jesus a miraculous virgin birth conception which is a evangelistic midrashic application of the Isaiah prophecy . We don't have to take their personal writings as historical facts.
    – Michael16
    Aug 6, 2022 at 14:26
  • their normal child? Are you disputing the Gospels too?
    – Steve
    Aug 6, 2022 at 22:18
  • @Michael16 Could you put that another way, just for clarity? What seems most clear is that you're not wholly comfortable with English, which doesn't help to show your meaning. Aug 10, 2022 at 19:51
  • Robbie, ok. I am saying the virgin birth account is an midrashic embellishment for evangelistic purpose, not historical, based on the Isaiah prophecies. He was born naturally. This is why Paul instructs against genealogies controversies & doesn't teach about virgin birth. Mary was turned into he Roman goddesses Diana etc. We need to change our view of historical aspects in Gospel, they are literary works of biography. Virgin birth account was inappropriate by the authors. It leads to heresies of turning Mary into goddess & reducing Jesus true humanity.
    – Michael16
    Aug 11, 2022 at 3:08

2 Answers 2


Did Mary give birth to other physical children?

The Koine Language.

The Koine Greek language at he time of Jesus was a very rich language, having an unparalleled and wide vocabulary and grammar , it was the language of literature. By the first century BC, was the universal dialect of its time ,it became the every day language, that people used and understood , this was due to the conquests of Alexander the Great.

Cousin namely "a- ne-psios."

Cousin , in Greek "ανεψιος", pronounced "a- ne- psios" has it's only occurrence in the Greek scriptures at Col. 4:10 ,it is therefore obvious that the Bible writers could have used the word in the case Mary and Joseph had they adopted other children in reference to their relationship with Jesus, but obviously they did not. They instead used the word "a-del-phos " meaning - brother


10 ασπαζεται υμας αρισταρχος ο συναιχμαλωτος μου και μαρκος ο ανεψιος βαρναβα περι ου ελαβετε εντολας εαν ελθη προς υμας δεξασθε αυτον

Colossians 4:10 (NASB)

10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him);

In the following verses, Jesus makes a distinction between "relatives" namely "sy-gge-non" , "brothers" namely " a-del-phon" and those of one's own house, hence the scriptural writers could have used the appropriate Greek word required.

ΚΑΤΑ ΛΟΥΚΑΝ 21:16 1881 (WHNU)

16 παραδοθησεσθε δε και υπο γονεων και αδελφων και συγγενων και φιλων και θανατωσουσιν εξ υμων

Luke 21:16 (NET Bible) Also compare Luke 14:12

16 "You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will have some of you put to death."

The question that arises was it necessary for Mary to remain a virgin after she gave birth to Jesus? The Scriptures give us no reason to think that Mary remained a perpetual virgin and why should she? Did she have other children?

At Matthew 1:25 [NET] we read ," but did not have marital relations with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named Jesus."

Whilst not explicitly stating that Mary had sexual relations with her husband after the birth of Jesus , it is certainly implied by Matthew that she did so afterwards. Likewise we can draw the same conclusion by Luke's words at 2:7 "And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[NET]

The fact that Mary had other children is made clear by Jesus townsfolk at Nazareth, who new his family and started to ask asked questions:

Mark 6:2-3 (NET Bible)

2 "When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did he get these ideas?And what is this wisdom that has been given to him? What are these miracles that are done through his hands? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” And so they took offense at him."

Those waiting in the upper room in Jerusalem, besides the Apostles were his mother Mary and his brothers.

Acts 1:13-15 (NET Bible)

13 "When they had entered Jerusalem,[b] they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter[c] and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James were there.[d] 14 All these continued together in prayer with one mind, together with the women, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a gathering of about 120 people) and said,"


Mary was a spiritual woman, this we know that when, the Angel Gabriel approached her, he said to her: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”[Luke 1:28 NASB] She was also a dutiful wife and gave Joseph his marital dues, this reason and the scriptures leave no doubt that Jesus had other half brothers and sisters.


NO, she didn't. Those mentioned above are taken to be children of Joseph from his previous marriage e.a mark 6:3, matthew 13:55-56 and mark 3:31-32. Mary was always a virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus. She never had no marital relations after Jesus' birth! And the birth of Jesus didn't stop his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it! Shalom.

  • This is a poorly researched and undocumented answer. As always, we are expecting researched answers rather than opinon. Jan 21, 2020 at 19:44
  • No references to support this unsubstantiated claims?
    – Dottard
    Feb 26, 2020 at 21:38

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