Biblical argument against the Perpetual Virginity of Mary
Several scriptures mention the brothers and sisters of Christ (Mark 6:3, Matthew 13:55, John 7:3-5, Acts 1:14, 1 Corinthians 9:5, and Galatians 1:19).
The word for brother here is adelphos. In the New Testament, this word is used 343 times to refer to spiritual brothers and blood brothers.
An exact greek word for cousins exists: anepsios, which is used 1 time in the New Testament elsewhere. It was not used to describe Jesus' adelphos.
Likewise, a word for kinsman/relative exists: suggenes, which is used 12 times in the New Testament elsewhere. It was not used to describe Jesus' adelphos.
Thus, the most natural reading of Mark 6:3 (and other verses that mention the adelphos of the Lord) would be to read them as blood brothers, born of Mary.
Psalm 69 is a messianic Psalm about Jesus.
- Psalm 69:4 is quoted in John 15:25 pointing at Jesus.
- Psalm 69:9 is quoted in John 2:17 pointing at Jesus.
- Therefore Psalm 69:8 must also be talking about Jesus, which says "I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children." Here, mother's children is unambiguous and refers to other children that Mary had.
Knew her not 'until'
Matthew 1:24-25 "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus."
In saying "knew her not until", the text implies Mary and Joseph had customary marital relations after the birth of Jesus.
Common counterpoints to above biblical arguments
It's useful to examine how the above biblical arguments are usually responded to by those of the contrary position.
Jesus and the New Testament authors frequently quote from the greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint (e.g. In Matthew 21:16 Jesus cites Psalm 8:2, which says “ordained praise” in the greek Septuagint, but “ordained strength” in the Hebrew)
In this greek translation of Old Testament, adelphos is used as relative (Gen 14:14, Gen 29:15), as well as close friends (2 Samuel 1:26, 1 Kings 9:13), as well as allies (Amos 1:9). Thus, it does not have to mean blood brothers.
Early protestants agree:
Martin Luther: “I am inclined to agree with those who declare that 'brothers' really mean 'cousins' here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.” [Sermon on John, 1539]
John Calvin agrees that under the word adelphos “the Hebrews include all cousins and other relations, whatever may be the degree of affinity.” [Commentary on John 7:3, ~1562]
Following the same logic proposed, Psalm 69:5 must also apply to Jesus, which says "O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee." And yet we know Jesus is sinless, so that verse cannot apply to him - thus the logic is flawed.
Messianic psalms blend the present concerns of the Psalmist with foreshadowing of Christ. Not every element of a messianic Psalm need be true of Jesus.
Knew her not 'until'
In the proposed interpretation, the greek word heōs ('until' in Matthew 1:25) is said to imply Mary and Joseph had customary marital relations after the birth of Jesus.
This same word (heōs) is used the following, where the proposed interpretation of the word results in nonsense:
- Matthew 28:20 “Lo, I am with you always, even unto [heōs] the end of the world.” Will the Lord then after the end of the world has come forsake His disciples?
- 1 Corinthians 15:25 “For he must reign, till [heōs] he has put all enemies under his feet?” Is the Lord to reign only until His enemies begin to be under His feet, and once they are under His feet will He cease to reign?
- Similar nonsense appears in the Septuagint for Isaiah 46:4, Psalm 123:2, 2 Samuel 6:23, Genesis 8:7, and Deuteronomy 34:6
Early protestants agree:
John Calvin: The inference [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words. [Works, Volume 31, Harmony of the Evangelists #25 (page 107)]
Martin Luther: The form of expression used by Matthew is the common idiom, as if I were to say, "Pharaoh believed not Moses, until he was drowned in the Red Sea." Here it does not follow that Pharaoh believed later, after he had drowned; on the contrary, it means that he never did believe. Similarly when Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her. [That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523)]
The above arguments were transcribed from this wiki.