How do I explain Mary to a group of protestants


I am in a protestant (baptist!!) bible study on Tuesday mornings and the other day the leader suggested we do a study on Mary. All eyes turned to me, and I could see that everyone was worried that if we did it, I might try to “convert” them.

How can I explain to them the truth about our Blessed Mother, but remain respectful to the women in this study that have welcomed me into their group?


First off learn about what the Church really teaches about Mary, a good book such as Mary and the Fundalmentalist Challenge may help.

Second, I would let them ask the questions, and answer them as honestly as you can as far as what you know about Catholic doctrine. Do NOT guess if you are not sure. IF you do not know, just say so and maybe you can get back to them.

If they ask for a general explanation, just say, we Catholics believe that Mary was a very special person selected by God to become the mother of Jesus. As such we believe that God/Jesus granted special favors to Mary before, during, and after her life.

We do not believe she is divine, she is NOT a goddess, she is NOT on par with Jesus. We pray for her help, just as we ask other people to pray for us, we ask Mary to pray for us.

IF it gets more involved than that, just tell them that we have beliefs that are handed down by traditions and teachings from the Church. They may not be in the Bible but they have been practiced or believed by Christians for hundreds of years AND they do NOT contradict anything already in the Bible (our Bible NOT their KJV).


How awesome it is that a human person has been brought so close to the divine Essence; the very God himself has dwelt in her womb and has become her Son. Because her flesh and blood became God’s flesh and blood, we sing to her the most sublime hymns…

“Mary is Theotokos” means that Mary is Bearer of God, in a real sense, as concretely as any human mother is bearer of her child. Mary’s motherhood is of a very special kind. With her, no human father shared the conception of her son. It was the Holy Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity who overshadowed her and animated the seed in her womb, fashioning a perfect human nature which the divine person of the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity assumed and united to Himself, and thus became the Lord Jesus Christ, real God and real man.
Archbishop Joseph Raya


The catholic answers webpage and most catholic bookstores have a set of apologetics books that you might be interested in. I highly recommend them!

Beginning Apologetics 6: How To Explain and Defend Mary

search for it in the catholic answers catalogue or go
Link to “How To Explain and Defend Mary”




Beginning Apologetics 6, How to explain and defend Mary.

It is short, precise and easy to read. My parish priest just gave me this book a couple of weeks ago for pretty much the same reason. I read it in two hours! I’m now on Beginning Apologetics 1 How to explain and defend the Catholic Faith. I would recommend these books to any beginning Apologetic (which is what I am!!) the books come from San Juan Catholic seminars Toll Free 1-877-327-5343
Hope that helps.
I shall be a defendr of Mary.


[quote=mindy]I am in a protestant (baptist!!) bible study on Tuesday mornings and the other day the leader suggested we do a study on Mary. All eyes turned to me, and I could see that everyone was worried that if we did it, I might try to “convert” them.

How can I explain to them the truth about our Blessed Mother, but remain respectful to the women in this study that have welcomed me into their group?

First off…go here and glean all you can and theh by copy and paste you can put together a study sheet that will give your friends a view of what we reall teach. Alos go and get the tracts on the Roary and saint worship so that you are prepared to answer any and all comers. I suggest that you prepare a packet for each person so that they can all get their fair share of the load. My own wexpression would simply be that since they all know that you are Catholic that you wanted to insure that they got the best possible info on what the church (the resident experts) really teaches about her.

One more thing…you might ask them just where they think that the gospel writers got all their info on what Mary, Joseph, and Elizabeth went through for the infancy narratives since all those things occurred about 30 years before Jesus even met the apostles. I personally figure it came from the Blessed Virgin, since she is said to have treasured all these things in her heart. It’s just sort of a thought that most folks don’t seem to consider.

Since it’s their Bible study. I’d actually make them ask your opinion on something before you give any info out.
Also The Catholic Encyclopedia on New Advent is a wealth of info and has a search feature…could be handy too.
Pax vobiscum, :irish1:



I regret that I have to say it sounds like a set-up. This is the classic lead to getting you into a discussion that is not easy to explain in a Bible Study setting. Discussing Mary to Baptists before issues such as Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, or discussing the history of the Bible or the cannon of Scripture is like trying to teach Calculus before learning Algebra or even basic Math.
How many Cathoilcs are in your study…my guess is a very low percentage. They are not worried about you converting them, they are working on you!
Non-Catholic or even so-called “ecumenical” studies are okay/advised if you are very strong in the biblical defense of Catholism.

Good luck and God Bless


Mary is very simple.

First, Jesus followed the 10 Commandments perfectly.
Second, In following the 4th Commandment, He honored/glorified His Mom.
Third, we are obligated to imitate Jesus so we venerate/glorify His mom too.

All the other things (Assumption, Immaculate Conception, etc) flows from this first syllogism. Get your friends to understand the above and accept it–then proving the other stuff becomes much easier, IMO.

Also, there’s an article in Time this week about Protestants beginning to make room for Mary in their theology. I’ll PM you a copy.


don’t forget to remind them that an angel from heaven (gabriel) hailed her…hail mary full of grace.


file’s got too many characters. pm me your e-mail if you want to read it. :thumbsup:


I don’t know if it’s been suggested in this thread because I just skimmed through, but Patrick Madrid’s “Where’s That in the Bible” has a good section on Mary with citations to Scripture.

Also, the common sense argument for Mary’s role as Queen of Heaven is that if you deny Mary as Queen, then you deny Christ’s Kingship. (In the “biblical” Davidic Kingdom the Queen is the mother of the King, not his spouse.) Her current role is akin to the role she played at the wedding feast at Cana (also biblical).

Best of luck in your discussions.

Peace and Charity,


The recent March 21st CAnadian Edition of TIME Magazine has Mary on the front cover. The article explains the growing acceptance of Mary among Protestants. Some interesting info in there. If you get your hands on it, pass it around to teh group. They have Protestants and Methodists speaking in it that will help clarify some thigns. Though they still reject the Catholic veneration, though that is not discussed…


Here are some excellent articles on just this topic from This Rock:

How to Explain Marian Devotion to a Sola Scriptura Protestant


Teenaged Protestants Study Mary


Hi Mindy,

The Bible teaches us to imitate and venerate Mary.

To imitate Mary

In Luke 1, 38, she says, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.” She accepts the word of the Lord without hesitation. Contrast this with what happens to Zachary in vv. 18-22, because he doubted the word of the Lord. Mary’s attitude is praised in v. 45, “Blessed is she who believed in the accomplishment of what she was told by the Lord.”

This is an example of humble submission to God’s will.

In v. 39, we are told of Mary’s love of neighbor. As soon as she learns of her relatives pregnancy, she sets out “in haste” to help her. She did not need to be told; she went “with haste”.

In ch. 2. v 19, we are told that Mary “treasured all these things and and turned them over in her mind.” Meditating on the life of Jesus is highly productive for our spiritual life.

In John 19,25, we read, “Next to the cross of Jesus stood Mary his mother.” Mary is not falling apart. She is standing by her Son, espousing his sacrifice for our salvation. This is also the mission of every Christian in the world, to help save the world by being witnesses to Christ’s sacrifice who died for us all.

To venerate Mary

In Luke 1, 48-49, we read, “From now on, all generations shall call me blessed because the Almighty has done great things for me”.

This is a prophecy of God, and is therefore also a command do all Christians to take an active part in honoring Mary.



I agree you are being set up…that’s why all those eyes were focused on you.

If you want an excellent resource on biblical support for catholic doctrine concerning Mary - get Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn.
Make sure they know Scott Hahn’s protestant (and virulent anti-catholic) background.


Part of your problem is that you are in a Bible study with Protestants who believe the Scripture is their “only” authority, yet 1 Tim 3:15 says…the pillar and support of truth is the Church (1 Tim 3:15) which is according to history the Catholic Church. Yes, they are our separated bretheren (I was a Baptist for 30+ years and convet to Catholicism) but Catholics and Protestants have a plethora of differences when it comes to Mary.

So a few suggestion.

You could:

  1. Have courage and tell them you’ll do it if they don’t mind listening to another “view” on Mary. If you don’t teach the class on Mary and they have a class on Mary, you’ll just be listening to doctrines that are false, i.e. Mary isn’t ever-virgin when she is, she has sin even though she was immaculately conceived and wasn’t assumed when she was. If they agree to let you teach, a word of caution; you MUST know your Catholic faith well in order to teach Catholic dogma or will end up just confusing non-Catholics even more than they are already when it comes to Mary and look silly doing so. If you don’t know your Mariology well, then I’d suggest NOT teaching the class.

  2. Tell the teacher et al in the class that you will only go to their class if you can teach and give the Catholic view and that you’ll really try NOT to cramm it down their throat.

  3. The best thing you could do would be to find a good bible study with other Catholics and invite all of the Protestants. And if you can’t find a Bible study, then start your own! Remember…be not afraid says John Paul ll. Jesus says in Matthew 14:27–"Take heart, it is I; have no fear."
    christi simus non nostri (let us think of Christ and not of ourselves).


Father Corapi says “If she’s good enough for Jesus, she’s good enough for me!”

We all like to praise our mothers and it bothers us greatly when someone speaks badly about them. So it is with Jesus. We show respect for Jesus when we show respect for His mother.


One thing I would keep in mind if you decide to go ahead and accept questions from your Protestant friends: Everything about Mary points to Jesus in one way or another. Even the Marian doctrines are Christocentric at their core (e.g., the Immaculate Conception and title of Theotokos (God-bearer) both point to and defend Christ’s divinity). In the end, following Mary as an example to emulate, we are to remember her words at Cana, “Do whatever [Jesus] tells you”.


**As another poster said. This sounds like a set-up. It is a well known habit of some protestant groups to invite catholics to “Bible study groups” with the sole intention of turning them away from the Church.

This may not be the case here, but beware.

If the intention is to “convert” you, they will bring up a loud of supposedly scriptural objections to Catholic doctrine to try to prove it false.

The most usual arguments are to quote Romans “All have sinned” to argue against the Immacculate Conception. ANSWER The Bible also says all Israel followed Jesus and ALL the world was counted by Augustus.

Then there is the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus approach. You can look up the detailed stuff on this. They were actually cousins/kinsmen. Aramaic has no word for cousin.

Another one will be to ask for biblical proof of the Assumption. Pointing them to Rev 12 usually freaks them out!

but watch out…


How about sticking to Scripture and just elucidating features of Mary’s life that are expressed in the Bible? Start by showing them that Mary is not to be feared. Draw pictures: what was it like to flee to Egypt with the screams of all those babies in her ears?

Go easy on stuff like “kecharitomene” and the Woman clothed with the sun. That will just confuse and annoy them. But John 3:16 applies as much to Mary as it does to God the Father.

Be ready if they goad you about perpetual virginity or Immaculate conception.

You can predict the questions: Where in the Bible does it say Mary was assumed into heaven? Your answer to any of these questions will be the same: There are important things Christians all believe – not just Catholics – that are not found plainly on the face of Scripture. We all believe in the Trinity, and important things about the Incarnation that are not found on the surface of Scripture. Similarly, the Marian doctrines are drawn from a profound understanding of the nature of Jesus Christ. But I wouldn’t begin to try to explain them to you until you were very clear about how profoundly the Church venerates Scripture and how the Church is the deep context of Scripture.
. . . just a start . . .

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