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Brethren (528 Occurrences)

Matthew 1:2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Matthew 1:11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Matthew 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. (KJV ASV WBS)

Matthew 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. (KJV ASV WBS)

Matthew 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)

Matthew 12:46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Matthew 12:47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Matthew 12:48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Matthew 12:49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (KJV ASV DBY WBS)

Matthew 20:24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. (KJV ASV WBS)

Matthew 22:25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: (KJV ASV DBY)

Matthew 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)

Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)

Matthew 28:10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Mark 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Mark 3:32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Mark 3:33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Mark 3:34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, (KJV ASV DBY WBS)

Mark 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (KJV ASV DBY WBS)

Mark 12:20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. (KJV ASV DBY)

Luke 8:19 Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Luke 8:20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Luke 8:21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Luke 14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (KJV ASV WBS)

Luke 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. (KJV ASV WBS)

Luke 18:29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, (KJV ASV DBY WBS)

Luke 20:29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. (KJV ASV DBY)

Luke 21:16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. (KJV ASV DBY WBS)

Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)

John 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

John 7:3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

John 7:5 For neither did his brethren believe in him. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

John 7:10 But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

John 21:22 Jesus saith to him, 'If him I will to remain till I come, what -- to thee? be thou following me.' This word, therefore, went forth to the brethren that that disciple doth not die, (YLT)

John 21:23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV)

Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Acts 1:15 It was on one of these days that Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren--the entire number of persons present being about 120--and said, (WEY ASV DBY NAS RSV)

Acts 1:16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 1:24 And the brethren prayed, saying, "Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all, show clearly which of these two Thou hast chosen (WEY)

Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 3:17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 3:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 7:2 And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 7:13 And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Acts 7:23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 7:25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 7:26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 7:37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 9:30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 10:23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 11:1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house: (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 11:29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 12:17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 13:26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 14:2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:2 Between these new comers and Paul and Barnabas there was no little disagreement and controversy, until at last it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and some other brethren should go up to consult the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem on this matter. (WEY ASV NAS)

Acts 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren: (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the LORD, and see how they do. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 16:2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 16:4 As they journeyed on from town to town, they handed to the brethren for their observance the decisions which had been arrived at by the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem. (WEY)

Acts 16:40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 17:14 And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 20:5 These brethren had gone on and were waiting for us in the Troad. (WEY)

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. (KJV WBS YLT)

Acts 21:7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 21:12 As soon as we heard these words, both we and the brethren at Caesarea entreated Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. (WEY)

Acts 21:17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 22:1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 22:5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 23:5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 28:14 Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 28:15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 28:17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Acts 28:21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Romans 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)


Brethren (528 Occurrences)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (n.) Members of a brotherhood or order. 2. (n.) Plural
of Brother. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. BRETHREN OF THE LORD. ...
/b/brethren.htm - 51k

Brethren's (2 Occurrences)
...Brethren's (2 Occurrences). Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were anathema
from Christ for my brethren's sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh: (ASV) ...
/b/brethren's.htm - 7k

Kindness (295 Occurrences)
... Romans 12:10 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; philadelphia): 1. As Moral Ideal:
In the Revised Version (British and American), "love of the brethren" in all ...
/k/kindness.htm - 45k

Beseech (85 Occurrences)
... Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your ...
/b/beseech.htm - 31k

Brotherly (8 Occurrences)
... Romans 12:10 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; philadelphia): 1. As Moral Ideal:
In the Revised Version (British and American), "love of the brethren" in all ...
/b/brotherly.htm - 15k

Announced (47 Occurrences)
... attendant. (DBY). Acts 13:38 "Understand therefore, brethren, that through this
Jesus forgiveness of sins is announced to you; (WEY). Acts ...
/a/announced.htm - 20k

Salute (48 Occurrences)
... Salute (48 Occurrences). Matthew 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what
do ye more than others? ... 1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren salute you. ...
/s/salute.htm - 19k

Shemai'ah (38 Occurrences)
... Netophathites. (See RSV). 1 Chronicles 15:8 of the sons of Elizaphan: Shemaiah
the chief, and his brethren two hundred; (See RSV). 1 ...
/s/shemai'ah.htm - 16k

Kad'mi-el (8 Occurrences)
... Ezra 3:9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, and Kadmiel and his sons,
the sons of Judah, together, to have the oversight of the workmen in the ...
/k/kad'mi-el.htm - 8k

Macedo'nia (20 Occurrences)
... 2 Corinthians 8:1 And we make known to you, brethren, the grace of God, that
hath been given in the assemblies of Macedonia, (See RSV). ...
/m/macedo'nia.htm - 11k

5361. philadelphos -- loving one's brother
... brother. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: philadelphos Phonetic Spelling:
(fil-ad'-el-fos) Short Definition: loving the brethren Definition: loving ...
/greek/5361.htm - 7k

5360. philadelphia -- the love of brothers, brotherly love
... Transliteration: philadelphia Phonetic Spelling: (fil-ad-el-fee'-ah) Short Definition:
brotherly love Definition: brotherly love, love of Christian brethren. ...
/greek/5360.htm - 7k

81. adelphotes -- brotherhood
... Christendom. Word Origin from adelphos Definition brotherhood NASB Word Usage
brethren (1), brotherhood (1). brethren, brotherhood. From ...
/greek/81.htm - 6k

5569. pseudadelphos -- a false brother
... Christian. Word Origin from pseudes and adelphos Definition a false brother
NASB Word Usage false brethren (2). false brethren. From ...
/greek/5569.htm - 6k

80. adelphos -- a brother
... prefix) and delphus (womb) Definition a brother NASB Word Usage believing husband
(1), brethren (170), brethren* (13), brother (111), brother's (8), brothers ...
/greek/80.htm - 7k

5517. choikos -- earthy, made of dust
... heavenly". 1 Cor 15:50: "Now I say this, brethren, inherit the kingdom
of God; does the perishable inherit the imperishable" (). ...
/greek/5517.htm - 7k

435. aner -- a man
... word Definition a man NASB Word Usage brethren* (13), gentlemen (1), husband
(39), husbands (13), man (71), man's (2), men (70), virgin* (1). ...
/greek/435.htm - 7k

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

In Matthew 12:46; Mark 3:31; Luke 8:19, while Jesus was in the midst of an earnest argument with scribes and Pharisees, His mother and brothers sent a message evidently intended to end the discussion. In order to indicate that no ties of the flesh should interfere with the discharge of the duties of His Messianic office, He stretched His hands toward His disciples, and said: "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother." In Matthew 13:54; Mark 6:2, while He was teaching in His own town, Nazareth, His neighbors, who, since they had watched His natural growth among them, could not comprehend the extraordinary claims that He was making, declare in an interrogative form, that they know all about the entire family, mother, brothers and sisters. They name the brothers. Bengel suggests that there is a tone of contempt in the omission of the names of the sisters, as though not worth mentioning. In John 2:12, they are said to have accompanied Jesus and His mother and disciples from the wedding at Cana. In John 7:3, they are described as unbelieving, and ridiculing His claims with bitter sarcasm. This attitude of hostility has disappeared, when, at Jerusalem, after the resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:14), in the company of Mary and the Eleven, and the faithful group of women, they "continued steadfastly in prayer," awaiting the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Their subsequent participation in the missionary activity of the apostolic church appea rs in 1 Corinthians 9:5: "Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" In Galatians 1:19, James, bishop of the church at Jerusalem, is designated "the Lord's brother," thus harmonizing with Matthew 13:55, where their names are recorded as James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. When, then, "Jude,. brother of James" is mentioned (Jude 1:1), the immediate inference is that Jude is another brother of the Lord. In reading these passages, the natural inference is that these "brethren" were the sons of Joseph and Mary, born after Jesus, living with Mary and her daughters, in the home at Nazareth, accompanying the mother on her journeys, and called the "brethren" of the Lord in a sense similar to that in which Joseph was called His father. They were brethren because of their common relationship to Mary. This impression is strengthened by the fact that Jesus is called her prototokos, "first-born son" (Luke 2:7), as well as by the very decided implication of Matthew 1:25. Even though each particular, taken separately, might, with some difficulty, be explained otherwise, the force of the argument is cumulative. There are too many items to be explained away, in order to establish any other inference. This view is not the most ancient. It has been traced to Tertullian, and has been more fully developed by Belvidius, an obscure writer of the 4th century

Two other views have been advocated with much learning and earnestness. The earlier, which seems to have been prevalent in the first three centuries and is supported by Origen, Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa and Ambrose, Epiphanius being its chief advocate, regards these "brethren" as the children of Joseph by a former marriage, and Mary as his second wife. Joseph disappears from sight when Jesus is twelve years old. We know nothing of him after the narrative of the child Jesus in the temple. That there is no allusion to him in the account of the family in Mark 6:3 indicates that Mary had been a widow long before she stood by the Cross without the support of any member of her immediate family. In the Apocryphal Gospels, the attempt is made to supply what the canonical Gospels omit. They report that Joseph was over eighty years of age at his second marriage, and the names of both sons and daughters by his first marriage are given. As Lightfoot (commentary on Galatians) has remarked, "they are pure fabrications." Theophylact even advanced theory that they were the children of Joseph by a levirate marriage, with the widow of his brother, Clopas. Others regard them as the nephews of Joseph whom, after the death of his brother Clopas, he had taken into his own home, and who thus became members of his family, and were accounted as though they were the children of Joseph and Mary. According to this view, Mary excepted, the whole family at Nazareth were no blood relatives of Jesus. It is a Docetic conception in the interest of the dogma of the perpetual virginity of Mary. All its details, even that of the advanced age and decrepitude of Joseph, start from that premise. Another view, first propounded by Jerome when a very young man, in antagonizing Belvidius, but afterward qualified by its author, was followed by Augustine, the Roman Catholic writers generally, and carried over into Protestantism at the Reformation, and accepted, even though not urged, by Luther, Chemnitz, Bengel, etc., understands the word "brother" in the general sense of "kinsman," and interprets it here as equivalent to "cousin." According to this, these brethren were actually blood-relatives of Jesus, and not of Joseph. They were the children of Alpheus, otherwise known as Clopas (John 19:25), and the sister of Mary. This Mary, in Matthew 27:56, is described as "the mother of James and Joses," and in Mark 15:40, "the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome." This theory as completely developed points to the three names, James, Judas and Simon found both in the list of the apostles and of the "brethren," and argues that it would be a remarkable coincidence if they referred to different persons, and the two sisters, both named Mary, had found the very same names for their sons. The advocates of this theory argue also that the expression "James the less" shows that there were only two persons of the name James in the circle of those who were most closely connected with Jesus. They say, further, that, after the death of Joseph, Mary became an inmate of the home of her sister, and the families being combined, the presence and attendance of her nephews and nieces upon her can be explained without much difficulty, and the words of the people at Nazareth be understood. But this complicated theory labors under many difficulties. The identity of Clopas and Alpheus cannot be established, resting, as it does, upon obscure philological resemblances of the Aramaic form of the two names (see ALPHAEUS). The most that such argument affords is a mere possibility. Nor is the identity of "Mary the wife of Clopas" with the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus, established beyond a doubt. John 19:25, upon which it rests, can with equal correctness be interpreted as teaching that four women stood by the cross, of whom "Mary of Clopas" was one, and His mother's sister was another. The decision depends upon the question as to whether "Mary" be in apposition to "sister." If the verse be read so as to present two pairs, it would not be a construction without precedent in the New Testament, and would avoid the difficulty of finding two sisters with the same name-a difficulty greater yet than that of three cousins with the same name. Nor is the identity of "James the less" with the son of Alpheus beyond a doubt. Any argument concerning the comparative "less," as above explained, fails when it is found that in the Greek there is no comparative, but only "James the little," the implication being probably that of his stature as considerably below the average, so as to occasion remark. Nor is the difficulty less when it is proposed to identify three of these brethren of Jesus with apostles of the same name. For the "brethren" and the apostles are repeatedly distinguished. In Matthew 12:49, while the former stood without, the latter are gathered around Jesus. In John 2:12, we read: "his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples." In Acts 1:13 the Eleven, including James the son of Alpheus, and Simon, and Judas of James, and then it is said that they were accompanied by "his brethren." But the crowning difficulty of this hypothesis of Jerome is the record of the unbelief of the brethren and of their derision of His claims in John 7:3-5.

On the other hand, the arguments against regarding them as sons of Mary and Joseph are not formidable. When it is urged that their attempts to interfere with Jesus indicate a superiority which, according to Jewish custom, is inconsistent with the position of younger brothers, it may be answered that those who pursue an unjustifiable course are not models of consistency. When an argument is sought from the fact that Jesus on the cross commended His mother to John, the implication is immediate that she had no sons of her own to whom to turn in her grief and desolation; the answer need not be restricted to the consideration that unknown domestic circumstances may explain the omission of her sons. A more patent explanation is that as they did not understand their brother, they could not understand their mother, whose whole life and interests were bound up in her firstborn. But, on the other hand, no one of the disciples understood Jesus and appreciated His work and treasured up His words as did John. A bond of fellowship had thus been established between John and Mary that was closer than her nearer blood relationship with her own sons, who, up to this time, had regarded the course of Jesus with disapproval, and had no sympathy with His mission. In the home of John she would find consolation for her loss, as the memories of the wonderful life of her son would be recalled, and she would converse with him who had rested on the bosom of Jesus and whom Jesus loved. Even with the conversion of these brethren within a few days into faithful confessors, before the view of Jesus, provision was made for her deeper spiritual communion with her risen and ascended Son through the testimony of Jesus which John treasured in his deeply contemplative spirit. There was much that was alike in the characters of Mary and John. This may have had its ground in relationship, as many regard Salome his mother, the sister of the mother of Jesus mentioned in John 19:25.

Underneath both the stepbrother (Epiphanian) and the cousin (Hieronymian) theories, which coincide in denying that Mary was the actual mother of these brethren, lies the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary. This theory which has as its watchword the stereotyped expression in liturgy and hymn, "Maria semper Virgo," although without any support from Holy Scripture, pervades theology and the worship of the ancient and the medieval churches. From the Greek and Roman churches it has passed into Protestantism in a modified form. Its plea is that it is repugnant to Christian feeling to think of the womb of Mary, in which the Word, made flesh, had dwelt in a peculiar way, as the habitation of other babes. In this idea there lies the further thought, most prominent in medieval theology, of a sinfulness of the act in itself whereby new human lives come into existence, and of the inclination implanted from the creation, upon which all family ties depend. 1 Timothy 4:3, 4 Hebrews 13:4 are sufficient answer. The taint of sin lies not in marriage, and the use of that which is included in its institution, and which God has blessed (compare Acts 10:15), but in its perversion and abuse. It is by an inconsistency that Protestants have conceded this much to theory of Rome, that celibacy is a holier estate than matrimony, and that virginity in marriage is better than marriage itself. The theory also is connected with the removal of Mary from the sphere of ordinary life and duties as too commonplace for one who is to be surrounded with the halo of a demi-god, and to be idealized in order to be worshipped. The interpretation that they are the Lord's real brethren ennobles and glorifies family life in all its relations and duties, and sanctifies motherhood with all its cares and trials as holier than a selfish isolation from the world, in order to evade the annoyances and humiliations inseparable from fidelity to our callings. Not only Mary, but Jesus with her, knew what it was to grieve over a house divided concerning religion (Matthew 10:35). But that this unbelief and indifference gave way before the clearer light of the resurrection of Jesus is shown by the presence of these brethren in the company of the disciples in Jerusalem (Acts 1:14). The reference to His post-resurrection appearance to James (1 Corinthians 15:7) is probably connected with this change in their attitude. 1 Corinthians 9:5 shows that at least two of these brothers were active as missionaries, undoubtedly within the Holy Land, and to Jews, according to the agreeme nt into which James entered in Galatians 2, and his well-known attitude on questions pertaining to the Gentiles. Zahn regards James as an ascetic and celibate not included in 1 Corinthians 9:5, which is limited then to Jude and Simon. Their marriage indicates "the absence in the Holy Family of that pseudo-asceticism which has so much confused the tradition concerning them" (Alford).

See also JAMES; JUDE.

For fuller discussions, see the extensive arguments of Eadie and Lightfoot, in their commentaries on Galatians, the former in favor of the Helvidian, and the latter, with his exhaustive scholarship, of the Epiphanian views; also, on the side of the former, Mayor, The Epistle of James; Alford, Greek Test.; Farrar, Early Days of Christianity; Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament.

H. E. Jacobs




Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) Members of a brotherhood or order.

2. (n.) Plural of Brother.

Strong's Hebrew
251. ach -- a brother
... Word Origin from an unused word Definition a brother NASB Word Usage alike (1),
another (16), brethren (17), brother (218), brother with his brothers (1 ...
/hebrew/251.htm - 6k


Brethren of Jesus

Brethren of the Lord

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Macedo'nia (20 Occurrences)

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Abode (112 Occurrences)

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Peradventure (35 Occurrences)

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Conclusion (10 Occurrences)

Selling (23 Occurrences)

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Stedfast (84 Occurrences)

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Principal (28 Occurrences)

Acquired (32 Occurrences)

Behalf (140 Occurrences)

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Brotherhood (7 Occurrences)

Masters (59 Occurrences)

Amongst (47 Occurrences)

Corn (107 Occurrences)

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Begat (112 Occurrences)

Christian (41 Occurrences)

Condemnation (30 Occurrences)

Proclaimed (114 Occurrences)

Charges (58 Occurrences)

Answering (202 Occurrences)

Abide (162 Occurrences)

Persons (156 Occurrences)

Builded (65 Occurrences)

Arrived (129 Occurrences)

Complete (246 Occurrences)

Valiant (66 Occurrences)

Valuable (17 Occurrences)

Various (52 Occurrences)

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Kusha'iah (1 Occurrence)

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Perfectly (24 Occurrences)

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Privily (15 Occurrences)

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Psalteries (16 Occurrences)

Purposed (44 Occurrences)

Pharaoh (245 Occurrences)

Prospering (8 Occurrences)

Porters (34 Occurrences)

Preparations (16 Occurrences)

Bounty (14 Occurrences)

Beforehand (38 Occurrences)

Betwixt (16 Occurrences)

Barnabas (33 Occurrences)

Berechi'ah (11 Occurrences)

Bondservants (39 Occurrences)

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