Re: The termination of Paul's marriage? (Was: 1 Corinthians 7:27-28)

From: George Athas (
Date: Sun Aug 30 1998 - 01:20:43 EDT

G'day Ward! From one aussie to another:

> [...]
> 4. There is evidence that to be a married man was a requirement for
> membership of the Sanhedrin. It would appear from the evidence that Paul
> (Saul) was a member of the Sanhedrin. [...]

The Sanhedrin had no fixed membership, thus the use of the term 'member' may be too
strong a word to use for those who used to sit on it. It is possible that Saul, on
occasion, sat on the Sanhedrin, but there is no express evidence of that. Gemaliel,
his mentor, certainly was, but that does not guarantee Saul also was.

> 5. Paul was a chosen and prepared vessel for the ministry he was given. His
> perception of the nature of the marriage relationship (especially in 1 Cor
> 7:2-5 and Eph 5:21-33E) strongly suggests that the Lord is enabling him to
> understand the nature of a relationship with which he himself is familiar
> from experience. Now it would be POSSIBLE for the Lord to use, as the
> vehicle for the Bible's teaching about the nature of the marriage
> relationship, a person who had never been married. But the Lord's usual way
> is to work through someone whom he has prepared for a particular role, and
> the normal preparation for a person to write about the nature of marriage
> would be to be married.

This is very much an assumption, though. We have no indications that Jesus was
married, but he taught on marriage. (Of course, there is every possibility that
Jesus was married, but we aren't told of it.)

> [...]
> There is no evidence on the other side, that is, is support of the view
> that Paul had never married; and there are no reasonable grounds for
> holding such a view. [...]

This is perhaps too harsh a statement to make. Certainly there is no concrete
evidence that Paul had not been married, but by corollary, there is also no
concrete evidence that he had been married. There may be hints in the various texts
towards one view or the other, and we are welcome to take one or the other view.
However, in the end, we simply do not know for sure.

Best regards!
George Athas
-University of Sydney & Moore Theological College
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