Bible Study: Does the virgin birth of Jesus really matter?

Learn the scriptural evidence for defending what the Bible says about Christ.

Throughout history, some people have misunderstood or twisted the foundational scriptural truths about Jesus. Cults have broken from historical Christianity based on inaccurate ideas about our Savior. Learn the scriptural evidence for defending what the Bible says about Christ.

SON OF GOD

  • What did the angel tell Mary about her son? (Luke 1:32, Luke 1:35)

  • Can you think of any instances in the gospels when God affirmed Jesus’ sonship by speaking from heaven? (Matt. 17:2-5)

  • How did the Jews respond to the Messiah’s claim to be God’s Son? Why? (John 5:18)

  • How is Christ uniquely qualified to reveal God to mankind? (John 1:18)

  • How does the believer’s “sonship” differ from that of our Savior? (Gal. 4:4-7, Rom. 8:15-17)

Scripture teaches that Jesus is God’s Son.

The Old Testament spoke of a Royal Son who would be uniquely related to the Father (Isaiah 9:6).

The term “Son of God” is synonymous with “God the Son.”

The divine sonship of Christ doesn’t just mean that He obeys the will of the Father perfectly. It means that Jesus is God. Although He is one Person, He is fully divine and fully human.

Application:

Cults will sometimes acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God but deny His divinity. However, our faith teaches that Jesus is truly the almighty God, although He fufills a different role than God the Father.

Note: Revelation depicts us as serving Jesus in eternity, not as gods or co-equal brothers and sisters (Revelation 22:3-4).

BORN TO A VIRGIN

  • How did Mary become pregnant? (Matt. 1:20, Luke 1:34-35)

  • What Old Testament prophecy did this fulfill? (Isa. 7:14)

  • What does "Immanuel" mean? (Matt.1:22-23)

  • How do we know Jesus wasn’t the son of Joseph? (Matt 1:18 Matt 1:25)

  • The Jews said to Him, “We were not born of fornication” (John 8:41). What were they implying?

  • In Jesus’ day, people were known by their father's name, unless his identity was in question. How do the townspeople refer to Him in Mark 6:3?

  • Why is Jesus’ absolute holiness so critical to our faith? (1 John 3:5, 2 Cor. 5:21)

Jesus was miraculously conceived of a virgin.

The people of Jesus’ town knew Joseph wasn’t His father.

Note: Critics claim the story of the virgin birth originated from pagan myth. It is true that myths and legends depict divine males, in human or other form, impregnating female humans. But theologian James Leo Garrett, Jr. points out that unlike the myths, the story of Jesus’ conception was without sensuality or immorality. At the time, the Israelites excluded themselves from Gentile ways and thought. Therefore, it’s unlikely that devout Jewish Christians would have borrowed mythological elements for the story of the Messiah (Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Evangelical, 591).

Application:

Scripture teaches that our sin nature was passed down through Adam (Romans 5:14-15). Because the Holy Spirit was responsible for Jesus’ conception, Christ did not inherit a sin nature.

The virgin birth is an essential historical indication of the Incarnation. It confirms both Jesus’ humanity and His deity.

FULLY HUMAN

  • What did John say about the idea that our Lord didn’t come in the flesh? (1 John 4:2-3)

  • From your knowledge of the Bible, describe the ways Jesus experienced the physical and emotional aspects of being human. (See Matt. 4:1-11, Luke 2:40, Luke 2:52, Luke 4:2, John 4:6, John 11:35 for help.)

  • Read Philippians 2:5-8 and describe what this passage reveals about Jesus’ Godhood.

  • When He became a man, Jesus operated within the limitations of humanity and chose not to exercise some of His divine attributes, such as unlimited knowledge (Mark 11:13, Matt. 26:53). Regarding the Second Coming, for instance, Jesus said, “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Mark 13:32). We can be assured that today, Christ knows when He is coming back (Lectures in Systematic Theology, 93) (Luke 21:27).

Scripture refers to our Savior as human.
Paul wrote, “The one mediator between God and man is the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5, emphasis added).

Jesus willingly took on human characteristics while remaining fully God.

Application:

  • Various cults—such as the Gnostics in the first century—have claimed that Jesus merely appeared to be a man. However, any reliable historian would assert that Jesus was a genuine first-century historical figure.

  • Why is the fact that God came in human form so important? Hebrews 4:15-16, 7:25-27, Hebrews 2:14-15)

Unless Jesus was fully man, His death could not have been the perfect substitutionary sacrifice for humanity’s sins.

Closing: More than 2,000 years ago, a baby was born to a virgin. Because that baby was the sinless Son of God, yet fully human, His death made a way for us to be reconciled to the Father.

Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Your Son to die for our sins so that we could live eternally with You. Teach us to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Related Topics:  Reading Bible  |  Growth of a Believer

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32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;

35 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 Child shall be called the Son of God.

2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.

3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

4 Peter said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"

33 Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who PLANTED A VINEYARD AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT AND DUG A WINE PRESS IN IT, AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.

34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.

35 The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third.

36 Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.

37 But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.'

38 But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.'

39 They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?"

41 They said to Him, He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons."

18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,

5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father!"

7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, Abba! Father!"

16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;

4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

34 Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

35 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 Child shall be called the Son of God.

14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, GOD WITH US."

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

41 You are doing the deeds of your father." They said to Him, We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God."

3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him.

5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;

3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.

3 And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."

4 But He answered and said, It is written, `MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'"

5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,

6 and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, `HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU'; and `ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'"

7 Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written, `YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"

8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

9 and he said to Him, All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."

10 Then Jesus said to him, Go, Satan! For it is written, `YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"

11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

40 The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.

6 and Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

35 Jesus wept.

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.

53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

32 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

27 Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.

5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;

27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

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