What Does the Bible Say About Worshiping Mary?

The scriptures may not explicitly mention the worship of Mary, but they certainly guide us on how to perceive her, affirming that only Jesus is deserving of our reverence.

How should we view Mary? 

We can hold Mary in high honor the way the Lord did. When an angel was sent to tell her that she would give birth to Jesus, the angel said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” Mary had found favor with God.

After Jesus was born, the Bible shows us a wonderful event in Matthew 2:11 of wise men traveling all the way from the east to fall down and worship not Mary, but Jesus. 

He would become the Savior and take away the sins of humankind, and even Mary herself would worship Him (Luke 1: 46-55).

What Does the Bible Say About Mary?

Mary was a young woman who lived in a lowly town called Nazareth. She was a humble person, and a virgin whose parents had arranged her marriage to a man named Joseph. 

She most likely enjoyed a good marriage. When Joseph saw that she was pregnant before being with her, he was going to divorce her quietly instead of publicly humiliating her or having her stoned. Mary likely would have been very young at the time of her betrothal to Joseph.

Mary experienced a visitation by an angel and then a special miracle in her own body, so she knew the reality and power of God at an early age. Other extraordinary things happened around the time she would give birth to Jesus as well (Luke 1: 36, 2:8-38):

  • Her aunt, passed childbearing years, has a child
  • An angel and a multitude of the heavenly host praising God are seen by shepherds
  • These shepherds come to her and Joseph to see Jesus
  • A man named Simeon holds Jesus and declares his destiny as the Savior of the world
  • A well-known prophetess speaks of Jesus as the redemption of Jerusalem

As a new mother, Mary heard her name called by God and had to leave her homeland and embark on what must have been a dangerous journey to Egypt to escape a political leader who wanted to kill Jesus. This wasn’t some oracle from a fortune teller, but a direct Word from God.

Later, able to return to her country, Mary raised her son, but dealt with moments of stress and confusion as Jesus grew and followed His heavenly Father.   

Even after all she had experienced, Mary continued to feel amazed at the things Jesus said and did. Can you imagine being the mother of God, raising a part of the Holy Trinity?

But she also had to witness the cruel agony and death of her child. The pain she felt at seeing Jesus on a cross was like a sword piercing her own soul (Luke 2:35).

I believe part of her pain came from realizing it was her sin, too, that her Son was dying for. 

What Does the Bible Say About Our Worship?

From start to finish, the Bible is clear God alone is worthy of our worship. 

What we know today, what we can see and touch, had a beginning. But God was before this time. He started time by bringing form and light to a shapeless and dark mass (Genesis 1: 2-3). 

God also knows the end of time and has revealed in the Bible everything we need to know about what will happen at the end. Then eternity will begin. 

For those who have not repented and turned to Jesus, eternity will be in hell. For those who have repented and now live in Christ, eternity will be in heaven with the One who created everything and set it all in motion.

This is why God is worthy of our worship. Man only has the power to kill the body, but God has the power to cast both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). 

We can be deeply grateful He is a merciful and loving God to send us Jesus. 

Our gratitude for who God is and for His mercy and love should result in worshiping Him. We see this in the Old Testament all the way through to the New Testament. Our lives are an offering of worship to Him.

Worship in the Old Testament

There are numerous reasons to worship God, but He seems to emphasize the importance of worshiping Him after He demonstrates His great ability to save.

After delivering His people from Egypt where they had lived as slaves, the Lord tells them not to worship any other god or to have any other god before Him (Exodus 34:14, Deuteronomy 5:7).

He had, after all, caused miraculous and terrible things to happen in bringing them out of Egypt. Bodies of water turned into blood, and He made the firstborn son die of any house that did not have lambs’ blood on the doorposts.  

When Daniel, a man of God, was thrown into a den of lions for praying only to God and not worshiping the ruler of his day, an angel of the Lord stopped the lions from harming him. 

David, a King of Israel, defeated a giant with enormous strength and weaponry through a slingshot and a single stone by the power of God. 

Then, God did something new. 

Instead of being present with His people through interventions, a cloud that leads them through a desert, or in a great Temple – people themselves, once they repent and receive Christ as their Lord and Savior, become “temples” of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). 

We can worship God in a new and more wonderful way. 

Worship in the New Testament

Jesus tells us how to worship through a conversation he has with a woman drawing water at a well. 

They are discussing where their ancestors worshiped and Jesus says, “an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” (John 4:23) Two things stand out here.

True worshipers will worship the Father. There is no mention at all of Mary at this point. She had a purpose in God’s plan, but the greater focus was our Savior, not the mother of our savior.

The other part that stands out is worshiping the Father in spirit and truth. How is this possible with people who still sin even after they’ve come to faith in Christ?

It is possible because when Jesus died and rose again, He was able to send “the helper” to us (John 16:7), the Holy Spirit that would live in us, and bring about spiritual gifts.

We can be very glad that because of Jesus’ obedience to suffer and die a criminal’s death, “greater is He that is in [us] than he [the evil one] that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) The worship of a believer can be pure and right at last because it is God’s Spirit enabling that worship.

Mary is to Be Honored, Not Worshiped

Mary will always hold a position of honor as the mother of Jesus. Even before she had conceived, the Lord looked on her with favor. But she was still human like any one of us, and in need of a Savior. 

Like chasing shooting stars or visiting graves, worshiping Mary isn’t a token of good fortune or luck. Perhaps a token of Mary is okay, but don’t go and get a tattoo of her.

She understood this and rejoiced (Luke 1:46-55). Her son, Jesus, was human yes, but he was also God, perfect in love and righteousness. We are to worship only Him, and He alone deserves to be worshiped. 

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