"And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. " KJV Matthew 1:16

Considering that the Holy Spirit is feminine in Hebrew and the genealogy was always described in the male lineage, does the pronoun refer to Mary or the Holy Spirit as Father?

  • What is BNT?...
    – Michael16
    Feb 22, 2023 at 14:02
  • Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 28th Edition. Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.
    – Betho's
    Feb 22, 2023 at 14:11
  • but what does BNT stands for?
    – Michael16
    Feb 22, 2023 at 14:12
  • @Michael16 - bible.com/versions/234-BNT-tte-pa-a-li-me-sk-k-l-t-se-a
    – Lesley
    Feb 22, 2023 at 14:28
  • Interesting that it's a costa rica bible publisher. You should simply use GNT for Greek NT or dont use the acronym at all when referring to Greek, rather than using BNT. I am curious about what tool you used to find those references parallel to "faith to faith" phrase.
    – Michael16
    Feb 22, 2023 at 14:33

3 Answers 3


The Greek (with my very literal translation) of Matt 1:16 reads:

Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσὴφ τὸν ἄνδρα Μαρίας, ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη Ἰησοῦς ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστός. = Jacob then begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, out of whom was born Jesus, the [One] being called "Christ/Messiah".

Now, in Greek, the word "Spirit" is neuter but this word does not appear in the text until V18 so this cannot be the subject of anything in V16.

The relative pronoun ἧς [= "whom"] is feminine genitive singular, and grammatically, must refer to the immediate feminine antecedent, "Mary". Further, because this same pronoun is feminine, it cannot refer to God the Father which would be masculine.


The grammar and Greek of this verse is extremely simple and uncontroversial. The relative pronoun refers directly to Mary.

APPENDIX - Other Women

The genealogy of Matt 1 is NOT exclusively masculine as other women are also listed such as:

  • V3 - Tamar
  • V5 - Rahab
  • V5 - Ruth
  • V6 - Uriah's wife [Bathsheba]
  • V16 - Mary

"Of whom was born" follows on directly from Mary in the Greek text also. The Holy Spirit has not been previously mentioned in that sentence.

  • ok, so in Matthew 1:17 Jesus is the only exception to the male genealogy?
    – Betho's
    Feb 22, 2023 at 13:51

The NT is in Greek not Hebrew. Spirit is neuter in Greek. The relative pronoun here is feminine, which you can check on any site such as Stepbible, biblewebapp, and ebible or biblehub and blueletterbible interlinear.

NIV and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

The Matthew and Luke gospels presents a virgin birth narrative of Jesus. This should not be treated as the historical truth as it is a personal narrative which others did not preach; or at least did not consider worthy enough to be supported, especially apostle Paul, who preached nothing except Christ crucified, without adding any fancy stories and genealogies for persuasion.

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