Luke 1:36, Was Jesus really a cousin to John the Baptist?

Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren

//Were Jesus and John, son of Elizabeth, really related? Most scholars doubt it, assuming this relationship to be a literary creation of Luke. Or, equally likely, a story Luke had collected. More evidence points to the idea that Jesus was originally a follower of John the Baptist. I’ve discussed this topic before, so I won’t repeat myself.

But if it isn’t true, why does Luke report them as cousins? It seems to be Luke’s personal conclusion, based on a typology of Old Testament relations. Here’s how it works.

Jesus’ mother’s name is Mary. John’s mother’s name, according to Luke (only), is Elizabeth. The only other Elizabeth (written in Hebrew as Elisheba) in the Bible is the wife of Aaron, the brother of Moses. Moses’ sister’s name was Miriam, a form of Mary. So, in the story of Moses, Mary and Elizabeth are sisters-in-law, and their offspring would be first cousins. 

Thus, concludes Luke, Jesus and John were also cousins.



  1. M.Baptist

    Haha, Moses’ wife’s name wasn’t Miriam! Read the Bible if you are going to comment on it. It was Zipporah. Miriam was his sister. Please do not make to conclusions when you do not know what you are talking about. It seems likely Luke’s conclusions have a firmer foundation than yours do.

  2. :) Thank you! That’s a rather embarrassing typo. I’ve corrected the post to read “sister”, not “wife.” The result is the same: first cousins.

  3. Julie Mann

    All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…Luke 1:36.

    Luke did not simply pick ideas out of thin air and write what he thought was good. He, like the other Biblical writers, was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

  4. You can no longer trust the scriptures historically
    For reasons we cannot understand the gospel writers made up a whole lot In fact you cannot take any of it literally ever
    That’s why you have to trust in your own Holy Spirit to enlighten you with what is truth
    If you are a believer your father will reveal everything to you no differently than he did for Jesus
    The scriptures are best left to scholars who can be bothered interpreting them
    The quick route to your own peace of mind is very close at hand

  5. My friend we believe 2 Timothy 3:16 That my friends is called Faith.

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