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Christian religions constantly remind us that Mary was "forever virgin".

So why doesn't the Bible tell us that Jesus was also a virgin?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary is tradition (mostly Roman Catholic), but actually not in Scripture at all. (I'm not taking a stand on that doctrine for purposes of this question, just pointing out that even Roman Catholics would not, I believe make the case from Scripture.) It mentions that at the time Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, she was a virgin, but the Scripture is at best silent on perpetual virginity, and at worse dismissive of it, since the Bible mentions Jesus' brothers.

Likewise, the only clear reference to a sexually inexperienced woman is when Matthew mistranslated "young woman" in Isaiah 7:14 to specifically talk about how miraculous Jesus' virgin birth is. In all other instances, when the Bible speaks of a virgin, the point is her age, not her sexual history.

I say this to point out mostly that the Bible is rarely interested in someone's sexual experience (except when it is showing the consequence of its misuse), and thus it is not at all surprising that the Bible is silent on the matter of Jesus' sex life. The Bible makes no mention of the fact that he was single either, leading some to question if Jesus was married.

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+1 - a good answer; but the "rarely interested" applies more to NT, surely? there are plenty of OT discussions (Onan, Lot, Rachel/Leah, Judah (score 2 for Tamar!), Song of Solomon, etc... (and that's just the "people" stories - the sexual morality excerpts would take much longer to list) –  Marc Gravell Mar 16 '12 at 12:36
    
Point taken. The NT is far less interested in people's sex lives are rarely. –  Affable Geek Mar 16 '12 at 12:39
    
With Tamar, it was Er, Judah, and a good attempt with Onan, so, perhaps it's "score 2 1/2"? :) or is it only men who can score? –  Affable Geek Mar 16 '12 at 12:39
    
I wasn't counting Er because Genesis doesn't really talk about his sex life - just that he died. –  Marc Gravell Mar 16 '12 at 12:42
    
:) I'm not sure of "to score" has the same connotation in Britain as it does in America. A young mman might say he "scored" the other night to indicate something. I was just making a purile pun. –  Affable Geek Mar 16 '12 at 12:47

The Bible does emphatically state that Jesus was without sin.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 ESV

Since Jesus was never reported to have been married in the Bible, a sexual relationship would have been a sin. Since Jesus is and was and forever will be sinless, we can know for certain that Jesus was also a virgin.

This is implicit rather than explicit, but no less certain.

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However, if he turned water to wine at his own wedding (John 2:1-11), he would have been married and probably not a virgin. –  user1054 Mar 16 '12 at 13:28
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@DanAndrews True, but it would be quite difficult to conceive of how such an important detail would have been left out. Whenever I mention to someone that I'll be going to a wedding this weekend, I would certainly make note of the fact if it were my own wedding I was attending. It is pretty untenable to say the wedding at Cana was Jesus' own wedding. –  Narnian Mar 16 '12 at 13:57
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@DanAndrews In regards "Just Saying" –  Affable Geek Mar 16 '12 at 17:22
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I see no reason to assume Jesus was a virgin, He may have been married in His twenties and His wife died, or was taken up into Heaven. I VERY seriously doubt He ever had sex, but it is not something that we can know for sure. –  Hammer Mar 16 '12 at 18:14
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Assume we accept that he was without sin. You still can't argue that he was certainly a virgin, since the Bible does not state or support that he was certainly unmarried. –  Matthew Flaschen Mar 17 '12 at 5:02

John 21:25:

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

If "the whole world" would not have space for all the things He did do, it is unlikely to have space for all the things he didn't.

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Just for clarification, the reason I'm answering this is because the question mentions why the Bible does not mention something about Jesus. I think other answers about Mary are missing the point of the question. –  Wikis Mar 16 '12 at 13:51

The most common denomination that believes Mary is the eternal virgin is Catholicism. As noted here:

Patrology, 1:120–1

The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ

However it is not universally accepted as fact. For instance, to consummate a marriage a woman's virginity was lost. The only exceptions would be if the woman was too young or the man too old. I have read stories about Joesph begin too old - which explains why he is not mentioned later in the Bible. I've also read stories were Mary may have been too young. But either way, it's pretty safe to assume (unless you share of the Catholic traditions) that the marriage was consummated at some point, potentially after the birth of Jesus.

One large debate is that of the translation / editing of the Bible. Was Mary a virgin or a young woman. Someone more familiar with biblical hermeneutics may be able to expand on this more than I can here. However, the quest is:

Isa 7:14 NIV

Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.[d]

Footnotes:

Isaiah 7:14 The Hebrew is plural.

Isaiah 7:14 Or young woman

Isaiah 7:14 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls son, and he or son, and they

Isaiah 7:14 Immanuel means God with us.

Here you can see that it is possible that Mary was a young woman which would also explain the lack of consummation right after the marriage. It is further explored here and resulting in American Catholic Bishops changing Mary from a virgin to a young woman.

John Allen, with the National Catholic Reporter in Rome

Their point in translating this reference to Mary as a 'young woman' rather than a 'virgin' is that the original Greek word doesn't mean what we in contemporary English mean by a 'virgin.' It simply means a young woman

So why doesn't the Bible mention Jesus virginity state? Probably because it wasn't important. For instance, they don't mention the virginity of most of the people in the bible. Was Abel a virgin? Why would we care if his was or wasn't? There are stories that say that Jesus was married, but they were not added to the canon. The stories have made Dan Brown extremely wealthy. Please consider reading this.

One of the books not accepted in the canon was The Gospel of Philip which states:

section 59

There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion

and

section 63

And the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth[sic]. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ The Savior answered and said to them, ‘Why do I not love you like her?’ When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. Then the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness

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