Q&A: Was Paul Ever Married?

Was Paul Ever Married?

Question

Is there any evidence to suggest that Paul was married in his early life?

Answer

This is a speculation that comes up occasionally, but in the past I have not been able to verify it because the speculations I have seen have not referenced original sources for me to research, except for some that do not fit the proper date range (see below).

The argument that Paul was married generally postulates that he was a rabbi and/or a member of the Sanhedrin, and that one of the qualifications for these roles was that a man be married. However, Paul is never called "rabbi" in the Bible, or said to have been a member of the Sanhedrin. Moreover, the sources I know about (e.g. the Mishna) that list the requirement of marriage for rabbis and members of the Sanhedrin postdate Paul. We cannot know from these sources whether the requirements existed in Paul's day.

Paul probably was not married during his ministry (1 Cor. 9:5). He associated himself with the "unmarried" and "widows" (1 Cor. 7:8), and could have been either.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.