Likewise, he wrote: “We have authority to lead about a sister as a wife, even as the rest of the apostles.” (1 Cor. 9:5) That he mentioned this while in the process of outlining things he had the right to do but did not do, indicates that he evidently did not have a wife at that time.
As for concluding that he was a widower, note his expression at 1 Corinthians 7:8: “I say to the unmarried persons and the widows, it is well for them that they remain even as I am.” He had just offered counsel to married persons. Then before going on to other matters involving married Christians, he directed comments to “the unmarried persons and the widows.” The Greek word here translated “unmarried persons” applies to all unmarried persons and can mean bachelors and formerly married persons who were then without living mates. The Greek word translated “widows” definitely means formerly married women. Since Paul recommended his own situation for such ones, it is quite possible that he was a widower himself.
Other arguments have also been offered to support the position that he had once been married. For example, some have reasoned that his insight into marital matters suggests that he experienced marriage himself. Possibly so, but, since he wrote under inspiration, that is not conclusive proof.—2 Pet. 3:15, 16.
Some have reasoned that Paul was formerly a member of the Sanhedrin, and that since being married was a requirement for membership in this high court of the Jews, that would prove he had been married. Proponents of this line of reasoning point to Acts 26:10 to establish that Paul had been a member of the Sanhedrin. That Ac 26 verse 10 reads: “When [some Christians] were to be executed, I cast my vote against them.” But whether he actually cast a vote as a member of the Sanhedrin or just expressed his personal support of the execution, we cannot be certain. Even if he was a member, the requirements for membership apparently were not always the same. At one time only a man with a wife and children was acceptable, and there is nothing to establish that Paul had any children. So the lack of complete details regarding the Sanhedrin membership requirements weakens arguments as to Paul’s marital state that are based on such possible membership.
Hence, if we hold to what can be learned from the Scriptures themselves, the most we can say is that Paul may have been married at one time, but was unmarried during the time of his missionary journeys.
Jehovah’s people have long rejoiced in the victories of their God Jehovah. In harmony with the prophecy at Psalm 68:24 they want men everywhere to see Jehovah’s victory processions. All the preaching that Jehovah’s people do throughout the earth today is really a part of this foretold victory procession. In carrying on their preaching work during July, Jehovah’s witnesses will be offering Bible study-aid publications from house to house. The offer will be the book Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God, with a booklet, on a contribution of 50c.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND COMFORT?
Disappointments face us on all sides. Evidence is to be seen in the unsettled world conditions, the poverty-protest marches, student revolts against classroom and school administration, strikes against employers, rebellion against governmental controls. How will it all end? In an amicable solution of all social issues or as many are beginning to fear, in either anarchy or a police state? Regardless of what men do, God’s purpose for blessing this earth will not fail. Do you know how and when it will take place? how you can benefit? Take comfort! Read “Things in Which It Is Impossible for God to Lie.” Send only 50c. Send now and receive free a booklet on a timely Bible subject.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
August 11: The Holy Scriptures Supply Spiritual Needs. Page 424. Songs to Be Used: 20, 100.
August 18: Drawing Comfort from the Scriptures. Page 430. Songs to Be Used: 41, 70.