Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Paul was most likely not married. By his statement in 1 Cor 7:6 - Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, bone of one kind and one of another. He tell others that if they cannot control themselves then they should take a wife even though he would prefer they be like him without one. Also to be able to be without one is a gift in itself just like taking a wife is also a gift from God.
The Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus was mentored by Gamaliel who was a leading authority in the Sanhedrin in the early-1st century CE. Saul was also part of the Jewish leadership and called himself "a Jew's Jew" in that he was known for his strict keeping of "The Law." That being the case he most assuredly was married to a Jewish woman who probably left him after he became a Christian, although the Bible doesn't have anything to say on the subject.
I believe Paul was not married. His claim to celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7:6 was in my view informed by his personal sacrifice that he had made in serving the Lord. As to whether he was previously married and his wife died or left him, this is just speculation not supported by Scripture. Nowhere in scripture is it mentioned that he was a member of the Sanhedrin and therefore on that basis may have been married. His religious capacity as a persecutor of the believers is also not specified in Scripture save for his role in leading a team of people for that purpose. My view is that Paul (Known as Saul up to Acts 9) was at the time of his calling not married because he is described as a young man during the persecution of believers and specifically the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:58). He probably headed the youth league of the religious leadership system with express powers to round up and lock up believers (Acts 8:1-3). The mention of his name among the group of religious persecutors shows his prominence in the group. His claim to celibacy was a personal choice and shows that he was a man of extreme modesty as regards the pleasures of life (1 Timothy 6:6-8). This trait is evident in his ministry life and is best exemplified in his forfeiture of apostolic privilege on church support despite the fact that he was entitled to it and was perhaps that this privilege was accessed by the Jerusalem church apostles (Acts 20:33-34). Paul learnt to operate an independent life where he worked to earn his keep, leaving us a good lesson for church leaders today that where necessary we should apply professional skills to supplement church support. Paul was arguing in 1 Corinthians 9:5 that marriage was a privilege he voluntarily chose to deny himself, suggesting that he was actually not married but could have taken a wife If he chose to. He gives the reason for this decision in 1 Corinthians 7:32-33 saying "But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." This scripture is a possible hint to the reason for Paul's singleness. His missionary work was just impossible to accomplish if he had a family to worry over. This is probably why he chose celibacy. Roman Catholics impose celibacy on its ministers, but the Bible does not demand it.
Much of this has to do with our misunderstanding of what marriage is. In the time of Christ and before marriage was actually sexual union and didn't necessarily include man and wife, but was a natural result of the man and wife state. Paul was arguing for celibacy, which would result in having children, but not arguing against having a wife. This is why in I cor. 7 Paul could say, " But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion." and then in I Cor.9 say, "My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Do we have no right to eat and drink? 5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? " Paul was not arguing against having a wife or that he didn't have a wife, otherwise Paul is arguing that he didn't eat or drink either, but that one could have a wife and be celibate due to the distressing times at hand. I.E. Joseph was the husband of Mary, but had not had relations with her (marriage), when we are introduced to them. This was not uncommon to the Jews.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.