Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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The apostle Paul got married at some point?

The apostle Paul is major figure in the New Testament. He argues that being married is not superior to being single. Theologian Denny Burk writes that at some point Paul was actually married.

I think this interpretation [of 1 Corinthians 7:8-9] is mistaken. It may be that Paul’s words have implications for all who are unmarried, but I think Paul’s reference to the unmarried refers to widowers specifically. There are a number of reasons for this. Not the least of which is the fact that the Greek word for “widower” was rarely used in ancient Greek and was never used in the Koine period (Fee).

For some reason, first century speakers did not use the word “widower.” My hunch is that they didn’t use it because of the negative social connotation attached to the term. In the first century, a widow was not only bereft of her husband, she was also often destitute. It was a patriarchal culture, and to be without a husband was to be in an extremely vulnerable position. That vulnerability is why the “widows” and “orphans” are often paired together in the Bible (e.g. James 1:27). In a patriarchal culture where there’s no social security safety net, widows and orphans are extremely socially disadvantaged.

(HT: Tim Challies)

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