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Robert Jackson wrote:

Hi, guys —

The Bible says that Jesus had brothers.

  • Can you clear up what the Bible says about Jesus having brothers?


  { Can you clear up what the Bible says about Jesus having brothers? }

John replied:

Hi, Robert —

Thanks for your question.

While the Bible says Jesus had brothers, and even sisters, no where does it say they were sons and daughters of Mary.

There are two possibilities:

  1. One deals with the use of the word brothers in that (society|culture). That is, it was common place to call a close relative a brother. For instance Abraham's nephew, Lot, is also called his brother. (Genesis 14:12-16, Genesis 29:10-15)

  2. The other possibility is that Joseph was a widower and had children from a previous marriage. We know from extra biblical sources (i.e. the Proto Evangelium of James) that Mary was a virgin consecrated to the Temple by her parents. This meant she would have lived a celibate life. This was a common tradition of the day.

It was also part of the tradition that the Temple priests would find an older man to become the (husband|protector) for these women. After all, once the woman's parents died, this woman would have no means of support or protection.

Remember this was 2,000 years ago: Women didn't own property, they didn't inherit property, and they didn't really have careers. Besides, these particular women spent the day at the temple.

That said, it is very possible that these brothers and sisters of Jesus were simply sons and daughters of Joseph.


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