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The virgin birth (conception) of Jesus

The virgin birth in Bible
passages & church creeds.

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Biblical references from a number of translations that are commonly cited about the virgin birth:

bulletIsaiah 7:14
bullet"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (New International Version[NIV])

bullet"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him Immanuel." (New Revised Standard Version [NRSV])

bullet"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (American Standard Version [ASV]) More details

bulletMatthew 1:23
bullet"The virgin shall be with child, and will give birth to a son, and they shall call him Immanuel; which means, 'God with us.'" (NIV)

bullet"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us." (ASV)

bulletLuke 1:26-35
bullet"In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendent of David. The virgin's name was Mary...The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.' " (NIV)

bullet"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary...And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.' " (ASV)

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The virgin birth expressed in the church creeds:

Some of the historic creeds of the Christian Church recognize the Virgin Birth of Jesus: 1

bulletThe Apostles' Creed was originally believed to have been written by Jesus' apostles shortly before they spread out over the known world to teach the Gospel. Some Christian faith groups still teach this. However, liberal theologians generally accept the historical evidence that it was written about the 4th century CE by unknown person(s) and attributed to the apostles:

"I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried..."

One curious feature of this creed is that it includes no details about Jesus' life, deeds, miracles, and teachings -- almost as if they did not matter. All details after his birth and before his torture under the Roman Army are ignored.
 

bulletThe Nicene Creed, adopted at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE:

"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ...[who] for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man..."

bulletThe Athanasian Creed was written by an unknown author in Gaul about 450 CE:

"...we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man; God of the substance of the father, begotten before the worlds; and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world."

bulletThe Chalcedonian Definition, adopted at the Council of Chalcedonian in 451 CE:

"...we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ...begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer;...

bulletThe Small Catechism of Martin Luther of 1529 CE: 2

"I believe in...Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary..."

bulletThe Augsburg Confession This was the first Protestant confession, written by Philip Melanchthon, and presented to Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530 CE. 3 Article III, "Of the Son of God", begins:

"Also they teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God, did assume the human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary..."

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References:

  1. Mather & Nichols, "Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult," Zondervan (1993), P. 331-332
  2. Martin Luther, "The Small Catechism (1529 CE) is at: http://www.iclnet.org/
  3. Philip Melanchthon, "Augsburg Confession" (1530 CE) is at: http://www.iclnet.org/

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Home page > Christianity > Chr. history... > Chr. beliefsVirgin Birth > here

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Copyright 1996 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Essay last updated: 2010-DEC-06
Written by: B.A. Robinson
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