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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

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In Hebrew MIRIAM ,

1. "The Mother of Jesus," Acts 1:14 . Her amiable and lovely character, and her remarkable history in connection with the wonders relating to the birth of Christ, are recorded in Matthew 1:1-2:23 Luke 1:1-2:52 . The genealogy of the Savior through her, in the line of David and Abraham, is preserved in Luke 3:1-38 , to prove that he was born "as concerning the flesh" according to ancient prophecies. After the return from Egypt to Nazareth, she is but five times mentioned in the gospel history: three on the part of Christ, Matthew 12:46-50 Luke 2:49,50 John 2:4; one when he commended her to the care of John, John 19:26; and lastly as among the disciples at Jerusalem after his ascension, Acts 1:14 .

Thenceforth, throughout the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the Revelation, no allusions made to her. Manifestly the worship of Mary had not then commenced. The inventions of the Romish church in after-centuries are wholly destitute of foundation in Scripture, and subversive of the gospel. One of these unauthorized inventions is the alleged immaculate conception and spotless holiness of Mary. See Romans 3:10,23 Galatians 3:22 1 John 1:8; and compare also the reproofs above alluded to, and her own confession of her need of a Savior, Luke 1:47 . Another unauthorized invention is her alleged virginity after the birth of Jesus, Matthew 1:25 Luke 2:7 . No case can be found in Scripture where "firstborn son" is used of an only child. In other passages the brethren, sisters, and mother of Christ are mentioned together, apparently as one family, Matthew 13:55,56; and she was known as the wife of Joseph probably for almost thirty ears, John 6:42 . To adore her as the "queen of heaven," and the "mother of God," is, in the light of the Bible, blasphemous idolatry; and to pray to her as divine, or even as a mediator with God implies that she possesses the attribute of omnipresence, and degrades the only and sufficient Mediator, 1 Timothy 2:5 Hebrews 4:16 . She was "blessed" or signally favored "among women," as Jael was "blessed above women," Judges 5:24 Luke 1:28; but Christ himself declares that a higher blessing belongs to those "that hear the word of God and keep it," Luke 11:27,28 .

2. The mother of Mark the Evangelist. She had a house in Jerusalem, where the followers of Jesus were wont to convene. Hither Peter, when delivered from prison by the angel, came and knocked at the gate, Acts 12:12 . Many such hospitable Christian homes, and places of social prayer, even in troublous times, are forever enshrined in the remembrances of the people of God.

3. The wife of Cleophas, and mother of James the Less and Joses, Matthew 27:56,61 Luke 24:10 John 19:25 . This last passage leaves it uncertain whether this Mary was sister to Mary our Lord's mother, or not. Some suppose that four persons are there named: Christ's mother, his mother's sister, Mary of Cleaophas, and Salome. See James 3 . She believed early on Jesus Christ, and accompanied him in some of his journeys, to minister to him, followed him to Calvary, and was with his mother at the foot of his cross. She was also present at his burial, prepared perfumes to embalm him, and was early at his sepulchre on the morning of his resurrection. See CLEOPHAS .

4. The sister of Lazarus, whom our Lord raised from the dead. Her character presents a beautiful companion-picture to that of her more active and impulsive sister Martha. Contemplative, confiding, and affectionate, it was like heaven to her to sit at the feet of her adored Teacher and Lord, Luke 10:39-42 . The character of the two sisters was well contrasted at the supper in Bethany, after the resurrection of Lazarus. No service was too humble for Martha to render, and no offering too costly for Mary to pour out, in honor of their Savior, John 11:1-57 12:1-8 . This occurrence should not be confounded with that described in Luke 7:37-50 .

5. The Magdalene, or native of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee. She was foremost among the honorable women of substance who ministered unto Christ and his disciples, Matthew 28:1-10 Mark 15:47 16:1-10 Luke 24:1-12 John 20:1,2,10-18 . She was especially devoted to Christ, for his mercy in casting out from her seven evil spirits, Luke 8:23 . She was early at his tomb; and lingering there when the disciples had retired, she was the first to throw herself at the feet of the risen Savior. There is no evidence that she was ever a profligate.

6. A benevolent and useful Christian at Rome, saluted in Paul's epistle, Romans 16:6 .

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Mary'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​ats/​m/mary.html. 1859.
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