Why Didn’t Paul Mention the Virgin Birth of Jesus?

Virgin BirthJesus Mythicists frequently comment on Paul’s lack of description of aspects of Jesus’ life, including the virgin birth. Does Paul omission of this event mean that Paul was unaware of it or rejected it?

It is unlikely that Paul was unaware of the virgin birth. Luke, who wrote one of the two Gospels that mention the virgin birth, was a companion of Paul (Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:11, Philemon 1:24).

I am aware that some would deny that Luke actually wrote the Gospel attributed to him. Assuming the author of the Gospel and Acts are the same, Acts includes a “we section” where the author accompanies Paul for certain journeys. Either way, the author of the Gospel of Luke and the recorder of that nativity story was known to Paul.

So why didn’t Paul mention it? Is omission the same as rejecting?

Paul’s writings, unlike the Gospels, are not biographies. His goal for his epistles was not to provide historical information on Jesus. He is writing usually to address specific issues in particular churches.

Keep in mind that there is much that Paul doesn’t say about Jesus’ life. But remember there is much that Paul doesn’t say about his own life. Paul never mentions in his letters that his other name was Saul or that he was from Tarsus.

To put things in perspective, I rarely mention the virgin birth in my sermons. It is not that I reject the virgin birth, it is that most often it is not relevant to the topic I am dealing with. I can understand why Paul didn’t just insert random mentions of the virgin birth.

There may be a reason, one highlighted by the concerns of the Jesus Mythicists. The virgin birth found in Matthew and Luke is very different from the supernatural conceptions in the pagan myths. However, there were many tales of gods mating with human women. Emphasizing the virgin birth could have easily been misunderstood by Gentile audiences.

In Acts 17:18, the Athenians misunderstood Paul’s preaching about Jesus and the resurrection (anastasis), assuming with preaching about the god Jesus and his consort. Imagine if Paul brought the virgin birth into every sermon!

I don’t think that Paul’s omission of the virgin birth suggests that he was either unaware or rejecting the virgin birth of Jesus.

See my post Was the Virgin Birth of Jesus Based on Pagan Myths?

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