The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Jesus had biological siblings

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/27/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,788 times Debate No: 20703
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




I am of the belief that Jesus had no biological siblings and that the Bible does not teach this. I hope my opponent will accept this challenge and engage in this discussion of theological truth.

Rules :

(1) Round 1 is for acceptance and amendments to rules only.
(2) Rounds 2-4 are rebuttal rounds. No new arguments may be made in round 4.
(3) Con will undertake the full burden of proof.
(4) All sources must be referenced.

I hope Buckethead31594 will accept this debate challenge and I'm sure it will be an exciting debate.


I accept this challenge; however, I want to clarify some things:

1.) My opponent and I are both Christians; there will be no discourse there, as we are both firm believers of the Holy Bible.

2.) The resolution is impossible, as Jesus was not Joseph's biological son. I will be arguing that Jesus had half-siblings, meaning, that Joseph and Mary had other children along with Jesus.

3.) I will be using the NIV translation of the Bible.

Good luck to my friend!
Debate Round No. 1


I humbly thank my diligent opponent and friend for accepting this debate challenge. It will most assuredly be a very intriguing and educational discussion. With that being said, let's get down to business.

C1 : The Virgin Mary

When Catholics call Mary "Blessed Virgin"; it is taken to mean that she remained a virgin throughout her life. When protestants refer to Mary as "virgin", they mean she was a virgin only up until Jesus' birth. They believe that she and Joseph later had children whom scripture refers to as "brethren of the Lord". The question is; does the term "brethren" refer to biological brethren or not?

When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary and tol her that she would conceive a son, she asked, "how can this be since I have no relations with a man?" (Luke 1:34). From the Church's earliest days, when the Fathers interpreted this bible passage, Mary's question was taken to mean that she had taken a vow of lifelong virginity, even in marriage. This was uncommon but neither was it unheard of. If Mary had not taken such a vow, the question would absolutely make no sense.

Mary knew very well how babies were conceived and came to be (otherwise she would not have asked the question). If she had anticipated having children in the "normal" conventional way and did not intend to maintain a vow of virginity, she would hardly have to ask "how" she was to have a child since conceiving a child in the "normal" way would have been expected by a newlywed wife. Her question only makes sense if there was an apparent (but not real) conflict between keeping a vow of virginity and yet acceding to the angels request. A careful look at the New Testament shows how Mary kept her vow of virginity and never had any children other than Jesus.


When Jesus was found at the temple, at age twelve, the context suggests that he was the only son of Mary and Joseph. There in no mention or the slightest hint in this episode of any other children in the family (Luke 2:41-51). Further more, Jesus was raised in Nazareth and the people referred to him as "the son of Mary" (Mark 6:3), as opposed to "a son of Mary". In fact, it would be valuable to mention that others in the Gospels are never referred to as Mary's sons, not even when they are called Jesus' "brethren". If they were ,in actuality, her sons, this would be extremely strange usage.


I call to attention the crucifixion scene. Consider what happened at the crucifixion. More specifically at the foot of the cross. When Jesus was dying, Jesus entrusted his mother to the apostle John (John 19:26-27). The Gospels mention four of hid "brethren", namely : James, Joses, Simon and Jude. It is hard to imagine why Jesus would have disregarded family ties and instead made provision for his mother if these four were also her sons. It would make no sense why Jesus would command John to take care of Mary as his own mother if Jesus' could've easily asked this of his "brothers". It would also absolutely make no sense why Jesus would command Mary to adopt John as her own Son, who would take care of her, if she already had four others from which Jesus could chose from to do this duty. It ,in fact, would have been more appropriate for Jesus' to ask his "brothers" to take care of their mother rather than an outsider (the Apostle John) doing so.
---see [2]

C2 : No word for cousin

Hebrew nor aramaic (the language of Jesus and the apostles) had a designated term for "cousin". The jews thus either used "brother" or "the son of my uncle" to refer to cousins.

More will be said on this next round.

C3 : The term "brother" is not exclusive to siblings

There are about 10 cases where the New Testament mentions "brothers" and "sister" of the Lord :Matthew 12:46, 13:55; Mark 3:31-34, 6:3; Luke 8:19-20; John 2:12,7:3,10; Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5.

When attempting to understand the meanings of such verse, note the term "brother" (Greek : Adelphos) has a wide variety of connotations in the Bible. It is not restricted to the literal meaning of a full brother of hal-brother. The same goes for "sister (Greek : Adelphe) and the plural forms of both words (Greel : Alephoi for brothers).

In the Old Testament, it is blatantly evident that "brother" had a variety of meanings and referred to any male relative whom one was not descended (male relatives from whom one was descended are known as "fathers") and whom were not descended from this particular person.

Lot, for example, is called Abraham's "brother" (Genesis 14:14), even though, in reality, he was Abraham's nephew as Lot was the son of Haran, the actual brother of Abraham. Similarly Jacob is called the "brother" of hisuncle, Laban (Genesis 29:15). Also Kish and Eleazar were the sons of Mahli. Kish bore sons of his own, but Eleazar had not sons, only daughters, who married their "brethren", the sons of Kish. These brethren were actually the cousins of Eleazar's daughters (1 Chronicles 23:21-22).

The terms "brothers" , "brother" and "sister" did not exclusively refer to close relatives as seen the paragraph above. In some cases they referred to kinsmen (Deuteronomy 23:7; Nehemiah 5:7; Jeremiah 34:9), as in the reference to the 42 "brothers" of King Azariah (2 Kings 10:13-14).

Consequently it is clear that Jesus had no biological siblings and was the only son of Mary. Mary remained a virgin throughout her entire life. Further, the term "brother" had a wide variety of meanings and could easily have referred to cousins, friends of kinsmen of Jesus. As a result, is still hold firm to the belief that Jesus did not have any siblings.

References :



Buckethead31594 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Arguments Extended


Buckethead31594 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Sadly my dear friend and opponent has closed his account. So I hereby close my arguments and wish him all the best.


Buckethead31594 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Buckethead31594 2 years ago
One of the biggest regrets I have is not giving it my all in this potentially scholarly debate. Hope everything is going well for you, my old friend.
Posted by Buckethead31594 4 years ago
Wow, It has been a long time. I wish I could have devoted more time to this debate
Posted by Wandile 4 years ago
Thanks Gil :P I really appreciate your feedback.
Posted by Gileandos 4 years ago
Exceptional round.
Posted by Wandile 4 years ago
Haha sure :P
Posted by Buckethead31594 4 years ago
Thank you for the clarification; I seem to have jumped to conclustions. Regardless, let us focus on the matter at hand.
Posted by Wandile 4 years ago
Sure that makes sense.

The thing is :

If Mary and Joseph did have other children, they would be biologically linked to Jesus via Mary. That's the only way they can be called a "sibling".

The fact that Jesus and the other children share Mary's genetic info makes them biological siblings (half siblings)

Hope this clarifies everything.
Posted by Buckethead31594 4 years ago
Just for a note, we are debating whether or not Jesus had siblings at all. Not whether or not they would have been biological. Their relation to Jesus via blood is irrelevant to this debate. I will be arguing that Mary and Joseph had other children after Jesus; sorry if there was a miss communication.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mak-zie 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited his arguments-my vote goes to Con.