virgin

virgin (Heb. bethulah; Gk. parthenos)

A woman who has not had sexual intercourse. In the OT the term bethulah is used for a woman who is a virgin, while another word, almah, means simply “a woman of marriageable age,” though that word is also sometimes translated “virgin” in English Bibles. The Greek word parthenos is used to translate both Hebrew words in the Greek LXX and, so, apparently carries a range of meanings. Thus, in the NT, which was written in Greek, context must determine whether literal virginity is at issue or whether the reference is simply to unmarried persons (for whom, of course, virginity might sometimes be assumed even if it is not being explicitly indicated). Paul encourages virgins, both male and female, not to marry, but he does permit it (1Cor 7:25-38). The book of Acts refers to four virgin daughters of Philip who prophesied (Acts 21:9). The word is also used metaphorically of the church (2Cor 11:2-3) and of the morally faithful (Rev 14:4).

1Cor 7:25-38

The Unmarried and the Widows
25Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.26I th ... View more

Acts 21:9

9He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.

2Cor 11:2-3

2I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.3But I am afraid that as the serpe ... View more

Rev 14:4

4It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from humankind as ... View more

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.