In 1 Corinthians 7:8, Paul states that he is unmarried, but in 1 Corinthians 9:5 he claims to have the right, along with the other apostles, to take a believing wife along with him on his evangelistic missions. I understand that, for the most part, 1 Corinthians 9:1-6 is a defense made by Paul for his right to be supported by the church. What is confusing about this passage is that he includes himself as not only having a right to get married, but possibly also having a wife to take with him. Is it possible that Paul did get married? Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says, "He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he had any, from the churches, without laboring with his own hands to get it." Whether he was married or not would not change my view of Paul as being totally dedicated to preaching the gospel of Christ: I just want clarity on the passage... -- Karen

Paul is simply making an ad hoc argument. He isn't saying he is married, only that as a preacher he has a right to material support for both himself and a wife. That is the context of the discussion on the role of giving up rights in promoting Christian unity. There is nothing in the logic of the passage to lead us to the conclusion that he was married. Not that anything would be wrong with that, as you point out. Moreover, he would surely not contradict himself within the space of three chapters!

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