The Virgin Birth of Christ (Part 1)

When the movie, The Nativity Story, was released in theaters years ago, Anne Graham Lotz of AnGeL Ministries also commented about it: “From what I have observed, THE NATIVITY STORY is Biblically accurate, historically authentic and visually stunning. Written with heart, directed with sensitivity, produced with excellence and performed with artistic grace, it is destined to become a beloved, cherished classic.”[1]

One of the essential truths of the nativity is the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus. Is this aspect of the Biblical record important? Definitely! Consider how Scripture reveals the miraculous nature of Christ’s birth and its significance for salvation and abundant living.

This study will show that the Savior’s virgin birth was historical, supernatural, and doctrinal.

1. The virgin birth was an historical event.

Skeptics have challenged the historical reliability of the Gospels. However, when liberal scholars’ humanistic bias is set aside, the internal and external evidence for the Gospel’s reliability is indisputable.[2]

Secular voices have questioned the textual transmission of the New Testament manuscripts. “How can we be sure that the Bible of today corresponds with the original?” This deserves an informed answer. When the facts are explored, we discover over 5,000 handwritten copies of portions or complete books of the Greek New Testament. (This does not include thousands of copies of translations in other languages and comprehensive quotations from ancient authors in church history.) When studied and compared, the manuscripts prove the essential accuracy of the Gospels and other New Testament books.[3]

Those who assume that the Gospel writers based their record on hearsay need to take a closer look at the way Scripture correlates with first century people, places, and events. Listen to Luke’s methodology: “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:1-4).

To document the Messiah’s lineage as the Son of Abraham and David (to whom God made covenant promises of the coming redeemer), Matthew recorded a genealogy tracing His legal credentials through his stepfather, Joseph (Matt. 1:1-17). Just as the previous generations could be historically validated, so the birth of Christ is historically confirmed.

The scribes knew that the Bible prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:4-6). The “seventy weeks” prophecy of Daniel even predicted the year that the Messiah would come (Dan. 9:23-27).[4]

Matthew recorded the virgin birth as follows:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS” (Matt. 1:18-25).

Preview Ministries gave further information about the movie based on these pivotal events: “The studio and filmmakers have worked hard to ensure that the The Nativity Story is both historically and biblically accurate: There are many Christians involved with the film, such as screenwriter Mike Rich and producer Wyck Godfrey, and a wide spectrum of Christian New Testament scholars and historians has been involved in the pre-production process… ”

Whether you see a movie about the Nativity, hear this theme in Christmas carols, or read the Biblical account personally, you can be confident that this “story” is not myth or legend. The virgin birth is historically documented as a vital witness to the unique person and work of Christ.

Part 1 of 3

[1] As quoted from Preview Ministries web site

[2] For extensive evidence on the reliability of New Testament Scripture, see The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel (Zondervan, 1998).

Legal scholar, J. Harold Greenlee stated, “…the number of available MSS of the New Testament are overwhelmingly greater than those of any other work of ancient literature….The earliest extant MSS of the N.T. were written much closer to the date of the original writing than is the case with almost any other piece of ancient literature.” – Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, Eerdmans, 1964, p.19. (quoted in Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict, vol. 1, ch. 4).

[3] See Metzger, Bruce. The Text of the New Testament, 4th Edition (Oxford University Press: 2005).

[4] Although a difficult passage to interpret, Daniel ch. 9:26 gives a complex prophecy that could only be fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Here is a sample article on interpreting the 70 week prophecy with its dating issues:

Copyright 2006 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint for non-commercial use. Biblical quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright by Thomas Nelson.

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