What does Luke 1:34 mean?
ESV: And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
NIV: How will this be,' Mary asked the angel, 'since I am a virgin?'
NASB: But Mary said to the angel, 'How will this be, since I am a virgin?'
CSB: Mary asked the angel, "How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man? "
NLT: Mary asked the angel, 'But how can this happen? I am a virgin.'
KJV: Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
Verse Commentary:
Mary is an unmarried virgin (Luke 1:26–28) hearing amazing news from the angel Gabriel. His message is that Mary will conceive a Son, to be named Jesus (Luke 1:31). He will be the Messiah: God incarnate and the Savior of the world (Luke 1:32–33; 22:70; 2 Corinthians 1:19; John 3:16). That Mary would bear the very Son of God is incredible—and it leads her to a very natural question.

When Gabriel delivered news of a child to an aging priest and his wife (Luke 1:5–7, 13), his message implied a miracle, but not something unheard of (Genesis 21:1–2). The priest's reaction, unfortunately, was to wonder "if" what the angel said would happen (Luke 1:18). In response, he was temporarily rendered unable to speak (Luke 1:19–20). Mary's reply here is not a question of "if" these things would happen, but "how." She uses the Greek phrase "Pōs estai touto," which literally means "how will this happen?"

Mary's uncertainty is to be expected. The second part of her statement declares "andra ou ginōskō." This literally means "I know no man," a polite but clear reminder that she has never had intercourse. Any number of questions may have been going through her mind, but something about Gabriel's statement seems to have implied this conception was to take place immediately. When this conversation is over, Mary will visit a relative (Luke 1:39), whose unborn child would already recognize the One Mary carried (Luke 1:41–42).

Gabriel will explain that Jesus Christ will be conceived through a miracle of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). This will make Him truly the "Son" of God, as well as free from the inherited sin nature of Adam (Romans 5:12).
Verse Context:
Luke 1:26–38 relates how a virgin learned she would miraculously bear the Son of God. The angel Gabriel comes to Mary, who is engaged to a man named Joseph. Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son, to be named Jesus. He will be the Promised One long awaited by the people of Israel. Since Mary has never been intimate with a man, God will miraculously conceive the child. Gabriel is the same angel who predicted the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:13), and he informs Mary about this happy occurrence for her relative, Elizabeth. Mary responds in submissive faith. A parallel account is found in Matthew 1:18–25.
Chapter Summary:
The angel Gabriel predicts two miraculous births. The first is a son born to Zechariah and Elizabeth: an older, childless priest and his wife. Because Zechariah initially doubts this message, he is temporarily made unable to speak. Their child will be known as John the Baptist, a powerful herald of the Messiah. The Promised One whom John will proclaim is the second birth predicted by Gabriel. He tells an engaged virgin, Mary, that God will miraculously conceive His Son in her. The two women meet and rejoice over their blessings. John's arrival sets the stage for Luke's familiar account of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Chapter Context:
Luke was a travelling companion of the apostle Paul (Acts 16:10); his book of Acts is a direct "sequel" to the gospel of Luke (Acts 1:1–3). Those two books make up more than a quarter of the New Testament. Luke begins by explaining how his orderly approach is meant to inspire confidence in Christian faith. His work is based on eyewitness interviews and other evidence. The first chapter details the miraculous conceptions of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Chapter 2 continues with Jesus' birth.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
Accessed 4/22/2024 9:35:37 AM
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