I am reading a book called The Man Who Shook the World, by John Pollock. I'm not sure if you've read it or heard of it, but it is a book written about the life of Paul. In it the author writes: "Soon after his thirtieth birthday Paul returned to Jerusalem -- with or without a wife. He almost certainly had been married. Jews rarely remained celibate and parenthood was a qualification required of candidates for the Sanhedrin. Yet his wife never crosses the story." I know that, from what I've heard, people generally assume Paul was celibate and never married. After reading this, however, it got me wondering if that maybe wasn't necessarily the case. Also, if you have any other sources that may help me in studying out Paul, I'd appreciate it. -- Grace Henry
Yes, I have read that book, though the title changed many years ago. I believe it is now called simply The Apostle. Let me begin by recommending a few great books on Paul. The Paul Quest, by Ben Witherington III, is excellent. I could also recommend F. F. Bruce's Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. And I am currently reading Thomas Schreiner's Paul: Apostle of God's Glory in Christ. It is very good.
As for Paul's marital situation, the scriptures simply do not say. One can always cite a rabbinical passage from, say, 150 or 200 AD, but without complete certainty that later practice reflects earlier custom. Maybe he had been married, maybe not. If this were an important detail, surely the scriptures would have supplied it.
As a single, Paul had a choice. He decided, since he had the gift of celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:1-7), to remain single and thus enhance his service to Christ. While marriage is generally-speaking the will of God for singles (Genesis 2:18), it is not for everyone (Matthew 19, 1 Corinthians 7). That means that although most singles should plan on marrying, not all should.
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