Did Paul Believe or otherwise know of the Virgin Birth?

Click to Order

Or so was the question posed last night. As we know from the Creeds, the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ expressly state that it was a doctrine of the Church. Yet, Paul never once mentions it.

What made Jesus, well, Jesus? For Paul, it was the resurrection and the Davidic line:

This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.

The Good News is about his Son, Jesus. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.(Rom 1:1-4 NLT)

Of course, there is that one instance in Galatians…

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. (Gal 4:4 NLT)

In my opinion, Paul may be thinking of Genesis 3.15:

And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Gen 3:15 NLT)

For Paul, which is summed up in 1st Corinthians 15, the Gospel comes down to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But, then again, he may not have needed to address a Virgin Birth….

Oh, and other people during that time period claimed the same miraculous birth – such as Vespasian.

So, why do you think Paul didn’t include the Virgin Birth in his preamble to the Romans, or anywhere really, to show who Jesus Christ was?

Oh, and because I have to clarify in to day and time… yes, I believe in the Virgin Birth…how the authors meant it.

You Might Also Like

6 Replies to “Did Paul Believe or otherwise know of the Virgin Birth?”

  1. If you’ve started getting into my book at all, you’ll know I’m with you. Though Davidic descent is strangely muted in paul’s letters, the resurrection -enthronement, -adoption, -sonship, -glory, -lordship, -justification etc. are Pl’s cues for understanding Jesus as Lord, Messiah, etc.

    1. I would tend to see that Paul was more focused on those things of Christ, which would have been important in establishing Jesus as Messiah against both the Jews and Rome (in my opinion), which, as another commentator has pointed out, didn’t leave room to discuss anything else.

  2. It is a fascinating question. Given his association with Luke, it would be hard to imagine that Paul wasn’t aware of the birth traditions, unless Luke did his research after Paul’s death. Paul may have even met Mary in person – there is no evidence to suggest that he did, but also none to suggest that he didn’t. Paul is obviously not attempting to produce a systematic theology – his letters are occasional. And there are a number of issues that he doesn’t touch on, or doesn’t go into sufficient detail to satisfy contemporary readers. He doesn’t discuss the transfiguration. His instructions to the Corinthian church concerning worship raise more questions than they answer. And of course he doesn’t discuss what would later become the doctrine of the Trinity. He may not have known about the virgin birth. Or, he may have known about it, and it just didn’t fit in with his line of argument. The ultimate answer, so far as I can tell, is simply that we don’t know enough to say anything for certain.

  3. Black: Were Luke and Paul really that close? After all, Acts contradicts a lot of the travel details mentioned by Paul in his letters.

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.