*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Matthew 1:18-19 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Matthew 1:18
  • Matthew 1:19

Matthew tells his account of Jesus’s miraculous conception and birth. His description of these events demonstrate and emphasize the dual natures of Christ, who was fully God and fully human.


There is no apparent parallel account of this event in the Gospels.

Matthew’s nativity account of the birth of Jesus Christ is largely told from the perspective of Joseph. (Luke’s nativity is mainly from Mary’s perspective.) When Joseph was betrothed, or engaged to be married to Mary, it was discovered that she was with child. Mary became pregnant before they came together, meaning prior to having sexual intercourse.

Mary was with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, of course, only knew they had not come together. He did not know Mary was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit (v 18). He naturally presumed she had slept with another man. He was probably deeply hurt. Under Jewish law he would have had the right to disgrace her, or worse. But he was a righteous man, and rather planned to send her away secretly to protect Mary (v 19). Presumably, sending her away secretly included calling off the marriage. But even in his anguish, he was righteous. He did not want to punish Mary for her apparent “betrayal.”

Biblical Text

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

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