Who was married?

It has been my privilege to hear arguments from time to time that the Apostle Paul was married, despite the impression you get in 1 Corinthians 7:7. (What state exactly is Paul recommending when he says, “I wish that all were as I myself am”?) Usually, when people say that Paul was married, it’s on the basis that everyone back then knew that the first requirement to be a Pharisee was that a person had to be a father. Since Paul called himself “a Pharisee of Pharisees.” He must therefore have actually been a father. It sounds pretty shaky to me, but then I’m not the foremost authority on the Pharisees.

Nevertheless, in his letter to the Philadelphians, Ignatius lists Paul among the married:

Not, however, that I blame the other blessed [saints] because they entered into the married state, of which I have just spoken. For I pray that, being found worthy of God, I may be found at their feet in the kingdom, as at the feet of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; as of Joseph, and Isaiah, and the rest of the prophets; as of Peter, and Paul, and the rest of the apostles that were married men.

Concession time again: this is from the longer version of the letter (and boy is it longer!). This may in fact not be Ignatius writing this around 110 AD. But when you think about it, even if you want to argue that this is a spurious document written hundreds of years after the fact, it doesn’t help any. Whoever it was that was sitting around writing spurious documents, had to have at least enough sense to say something that was remotely plausible to his readers. “Paul was married” should have been a tough one to swallow, if everyone then believed the way we do now. It seems reasonable to assume that the author thought *everybody already believed* that Paul was married. So was he?

Incidentally, there’s also an interesting list of who Ignatius believed was celibate their whole lives:

May I have pleasure in your purity, as that of Elijah, of as of Joshua the son of Nun, as of Melchizedek, or as of Elisha, as of Jeremiah, or as of John the Baptist, as of the beloved disciple, as of Timothy, as of Titus, as of Evodius, as of Clement, who departed this life in chastity.

Author: KB French

Formerly many things, including theology student, mime, jr. high Latin teacher, and Army logistics officer. Currently in the National Guard, and employed as a civilian... somewhere

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