My Protestant friend argues to me that Acts 6:8 says Stephen was "full of grace". How is that any different than Mary? – Abraham on Mary’s Immaculate Conception
Well, that’s a common argument made by members of Do-it-yourself-religion. Like your opponents, an unknown protestant apologist named Gerry Soliman once said in his article: [I]n Acts 6:8 of the Douay Rheims version, Stephen was full of grace. So was Stephen immaculately conceived?
[Luke 1:28] And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women
[Acts 6:8] And Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people.
If you live during inscripturation period, surely your answer is a BIG NO!
Both Gospel of Luke and the book Acts of the Apostles were written in Greek, not in modern English as always portrait by Bible-only groups. Now:
Language can never adequately translate another language with the same feeling, emphasis, rhyme, idiom, etc. Due to these and other factors inherent in language, doing a word-for-word translation is not really that meaningful. This would only be a valid kind of exercise if there were two languages that corresponded so close in structure that the only difference in the two was their vocabulary. Then there would also be the requirement that each word in one language had one and only one word that exactly corresponded to it in the other language. There are no two languages that correspond to each other in grammar, rules of syntax, semantic structure, etc., especially not modern English and Koine (Biblical) Greek. [www.ntgreek.org]
Acts 6:8 plērēs charitos
We must then, go back to the original Greek texts and let see if both verses use the same word “full of grace”.
[Luke 1:28] Kai eiselthon pros auten eipen, "Caire, kecharitomene!, ho Kurios meta sou."
[Acts 6:8] Stephanos de plērēs charitos kai dynameōs epoiei terata kai sēmeia megala en tō laō
Are they the same? Obviously, not.
"Pleres charistos" [Acts 6:8]
"Kecharitomene" [Luke 1:28]
The word “grace” came from the Greek word charis
The word used in Acts 6:8 referring to Stephen is a different word from the one referring to Mary.
Here, Stephen is described as "pleres charitos" literally "filled up with grace" meaning at that moment, he was full of grace.
But the term used to Mary is "Kecharitomene" perfect passive participle of "charitoo" [charitoo (verb) comes from the same Greek root of “charis” - which means “grace” and charitoó means to fill or endow with grace] or in other words: "Hail, one who has always been full of grace"
To make it more clearer, "kecharitomene" is the perfect passive participle tense of the verb meaning "to fill with grace," Because it is in the perfect participle tense, it means that Mary was already filled with grace and there is no room for sin in her before the Annunciation, the implication being that she was the immaculate!
No other character in the bible was called kecharitomene except for Mary. The Angel Gabriel is not speaking his own words, rather he is delivering God’s message to her.
Luke 1: 28 "Hail, (kecharitomene: one who has always been full of grace), the Lord is with you. Blessed you among women."
So in Luke 1:28, Mary has always been and remains full of grace, and Stephen gets filled with grace only from a certain point in time [Acts 6:8]
Ephesians 1:6: echaritosen
Some may oppose the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception using Ephesians 1:6, they attempted to argue that the use of the verb "charitoo" in Luke 1:28 is the same verb (action word) used in Ephesians 1:6 for all Christians although in different form.
Luke 1:28 uses a special conjugated form of "charitoo." It uses "kecharitomene," while Ephesians 1:6 uses "echaritosen," which is a different form of the verb "charitoo." Echaritosen means "he graced (bestowed grace.) Echaritosen signifies a momentary action, an action brought to pass. (Blass and DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament, p.166.),
Kecharitomene, the perfect passive participle, shows a completeness with a with permanent result. Kecharitomene denotes continuance of a completed action (H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968 ) 108-109, sec 1852:b) (Blass and DeBrunner p.175.)
Mary’s Immaculate Conception
Sinless at the moment of her existence
John 19:30 "It is finished.": the word “is”, the work of the redemption is complete and forever enduring.
Perfect Participle Tense
Luke 1:42 "… Blessed is the fruit of your womb.": the word “blessed”, Jesus is perfectly and endlessly blessed by God the Father.
At what point in her life is Mary made without sin?
Luke 1:42 "Blessed are you among women…” : the word “blessed”, Mary is perfectly and endlessly blessed by God.
Therefore, Luke 1:28 points to Mary being without sin at the moment of her conception!