Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Paul and His Wife

"In rebuttal of those who rejected marriage, Clement goes on to list those apostles who married: 'Or will they reject even the apostles? For Peter and Philip had children, and Philip gave his daughters in marriage, while Paul himself does not hesitate in one of his letters to address his wife, whom he did not take around with him in order to facilitate his ministry.'
To quote another interesting narrative from Clement on this theme, from Book 7 of his Miscellanies: 'They say that when the blessed Peter saw his wife led away to death, he rejoiced that her call had come and that she was returning home. He called out to her by name in encouragement and comfort, "Remember the Lord!" Such was the marriage of the blessed and their perfect affection.'" -Eusebius, The Church History

The part of this quote that has intrigued me for a few years is the suggestion that Paul was married. This goes against the impression many have of Paul's views on marriage, particularly in light of 1 Cor. 7. (Jeff Meyers has written a particularly good article on this passage.) However, I remember one of my professors in college making a very convincing argument that Paul was married based on the Pharisees' views of marriage. The Pharisees considered the command,"Be fruitful and multiply," to be important and binding. Any man who was not married was in rebellion against this command of God. Therefore, it would be inconceivable that Paul could be trusted and approved of by the Sanhedrin as we see in Acts 7-9 if he did not have a wife.

In addition, Eusebius quotes Clement stating that Paul addressed his wife in one of his letters. The reference here is to Phil. 4:3, "Yes, I ask you also, true companion,* help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life" (ESV). The word translated "true companion", synzygus often means "wife". Similarly, Paul comments in 1 Cor. 9:5, "Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?"

It seems likely then that Paul was married at some point, but that by the time he wrote to the Corinthians his wife had died.