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Jeff Downin wrote:

Hi, guys —

Could you please address the question of why Paul does not emphasize Mary's role.

Paul is the most quoted early Christian in the Bible and his writings provide, at least to some significant degree, the basis for most doctrines upon which Christians agree.

  • If Mary is so central to the life of the Church how could she be so absent from his writings?

Thank you.

  { Why is Mary missing from St. Paul's writings if she is so important to the Church? }

Eric replied:

Hi Jeff,

It could be as simple as, the topic didn't come up.

Many people wrongly look at the Bible as if it were a systematic exposition of theology,
a handbook, as it were, for teaching. I don't mean to say that it isn't inspired and infallible, and suitable for teaching and so forth; it is. What I mean to say is that it is not a Catechism and is not written in a didactic style.

You'll also note that much of the theology all Christians agree on is not expressly stated in so many words in Scripture. No where does Scripture say that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Rather, we have to glean that from fragmentary parts. The Trinity is not taught in one place but is scattered all over the Scriptures.

  • How is Scripture written then?

Paul's epistles are written to address specific issues and disputes in the church:

  • Romans and Galatians are written against the Judaizers.
  • 1 and 2 Corinthians are written against immature Christians who are abusing the Eucharist.
  • The Thessalonian letters address the end times.

In short, the epistles are not intended to be an exhaustive exposition of doctrine. We have to understand that at the time these were not part of a single book, but rather were each half of a conversation expressed through personal letters exchanged between Paul and individuals or churches.

The fact that he does not address Marian teachings may simply be due to the fact that there was no controversy over or abuses of them. He never addressed the issue of polygamy, either, but all Christians condemn it, even though it was permitted in the Old Testament. It may also be due to the fact that Mary was still alive for most of the time he was writing, which kind of changes Marian devotion drastically.

Hope this helps!

Eric

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