Bible Question:

Should I have statues of Mary and Jesus in my home?

Bible Answer:

Many people have statues of Mary and Christ in their homes or on their property. Sometimes the statues of Jesus and Mary are displayed seasonally only as part of a Christmas display. Other times the statues are on display all year on a table, wall shelf, fireplace mantel, or niche in a wall for the purpose of venerating or worshipping them. But does Exodus 20:4-6 prohibit statues of Mary and Jesus? What follows answers this important question, “Should I have statues of Mary and Jesus in my home?”

Idol of the Golden Calf

You shall not make an idol.

The second commandment of the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue, states that we are not to make an idol and worship or serve them. The second commandment first appears in Exodus 20:4-6.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 20:4-6 (NASB)

The commandment also appears in Deuteronomy 4:15-19, 23-25; 5:7-9; 27:15. The common message of these passages is that we are not to worship any other gods. In that context, we are prohibited from making any idol of anything. Deuteronomy 4:23-25 connects the making of an idol for the purpose of worshiping it.

Principles of idol making

There are two principles that we must remember about idols.

First, the Hebrew word for idol, pesel, is also translated as “graven image, and image.” It can be made from clay, wood, stone, silver, gold, or metal. That is, an idol or an image can be made from anything. That is, the basic meaning of an idol or an image refers to an object on a table, wall shelf, fireplace mantel, or niche in a wall.

Second, the purpose of the idol is the real issue. God connects the making of the idol with the purpose of worshiping it. Leviticus 19:4 and 26:1 helps us understand this point,

Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:4 (NASB)

You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 26:1 (NASB)

Notice that Leviticus 19:4 clearly connects idols with “gods.” Then Leviticus 26:1 connects idols and images with bowing down to them. That is, the images or idols the second commandment prohibits are those made with or for the purpose of worshiping the god or goddess behind them.

Third, this means that a figurine of Mary is not prohibited by the second commandment if it is not worshipped as a god. If it is worshiped, it has become an idol. But why have a figurine of Mary? the Bible simply states that she was the mother of Jesus. For those who want an idol of Mary, what about Joseph? Jesus never says anything special about her, except to acknowledge that she was His human mother.

Fourth, we should not make a figurine of Jesus for a different reason. The  reason is that when God told Moses to make the tabernacle, he was never told to make an idol of Yahweh in the holy of holies. Yahweh does not want us to make any idol, including one that is supposed to represent Yahweh.  Besides, what would the idol look like? How do you make an idol of an invisible God?

Venerating v.s. worshiping

The important fact for us to consider is that the veneration of Mary is the worship of Mary. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines veneration as giving someone “reverential respect.”  [1] The dictionary also defines worshiping as “showing reverence” for a divine being  [2] Notice that reverence is common to both definitions. The Roman Catholic Church wants us to believe that they do not give the same reverence to Mary that they give to God. So in order to avoid the concept of worship, they call it veneration. Someone has said,

“The simplest definition of worship is to “ascribe worth.” Worship can be more completely defined as “showing respect, love, reverence, or adoration.” Based on the dictionary, no clear difference between veneration and worship exists.”

When Roman Catholics pray to Mary, they are treating her as if she were God. Throughout the Bible, prayer is only directed to God Himself  and no one else, except in Isaiah 45:20. There the verse refers to those who pray to idols. This means that prayer should only be offered to God and not to Mary. Without realizing it, many Roman Catholics are treating Mary as if she were a god. That is contrary to the second commandment.


Should you have statues of Mary and Jesus in your home?  If they are used just to illustrate and joyfully celebrate the biblical accounts of the birth of Christ etc, there is nothing wrong with that.  But if they are present and are viewed with a sense of veneration, the answer is no!


1. Merriam-Webster (
2. Merriam-Webster (

Suggested Links:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego Refuse to Worship An Idol
What is an idol? What is a graven image?
Are there idols? Can we eat food that has been offered to an idol?