Were the Apostles Married?
There’s been a lot of discussions lately about the celibacy of priests. But what about the apostles? Were the apostles married? Some people say that they were, while others claim that they weren’t. Catholics (and some Protestants) have long believed that the apostles were married. However, there is no biblical or historical evidence to support this claim. In fact, the only evidence we have suggests that the apostles were unmarried.
So why do so many people believe they were married? And what implications does this belief have for Catholic theology?
So, what’s the truth? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence and see what we can find out.
Were the Disciples Married?
The thought of Jesus’ disciples’ marrying isn’t something we often associate with them when we think of the twelve disciples. It’s a fascinating question that comes up now and again. Among the disciples, were there any married ones?
Is there any evidence in the Bible that any of the apostles ever said
At the very least, several of Jesus’ disciples were married. Matthew specifically mentions Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14). When Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 9:5 that he has the right to marry a believing woman because Peter, Jesus’ brothers, and other apostles had married, he mentions that other disciples had married. On the other hand, Paul was not married at the time of his writings.
When we think of the twelve disciples, we don’t usually think of them marrying. It’s an intriguing question that comes up now and again. Was there anyone in the group that was married? Is there any evidence in the Bible that any of the apostles ever said, “I do?”
“It is better to marry than burn with passion,” he added (1 Corinthians 7:9). The spouses and families of elders and deacons are mentioned in the qualifications for elders and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1–13; Titus 1:5–9). These standards do not stipulate that church leaders must be married, but they plainly show many of them were.
The Roman Catholic teaching on clerical celibacy differs from the disciples’ examples. Some of the participants were married, while others were not. Catholics believe that Peter, the first Pope, and the church’s head, was married.
In any circumstance, Christians can serve God. The bond between Christ and the church is mirrored in marriage (Ephesians 5:22–33). It can be a loving and supportive relationship where both spouses are encouraged to grow in their faith and work together to further God’s kingdom.
When a person is single, they may be more intent on God’s kingdom. Singleness also permits you to rely only on God for your emotional needs. Of course, each situation has its unique set of difficulties and hurdles. We are called to rely on God and follow Him dutifully regardless of current circumstances.
Were any of Jesus’ apostles married? Jesus or his apostles did not condemn marriage. On the other hand, Christ verified marriage’s divine origins, and the apostle Peter was a married man.
The Disciple Peter Was Married
Although the Bible doesn’t say much about the twelve disciples’ marital status, a few verses provide some insight on the matter. The book of (Matthew 8:14–15) states that, When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, he discovered Peter’s mother-in-law in bed, feverish. The fever subsided when he touched her palm, and she stood up and began to wait for him.
The healing of Peter’s mother-in-law is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s gospels. We now know Peter had a wife as a result of this. The Bible does not say if Peter was married or a widower when his mother-in-law was healed. His wife is never specifically named in the Bible.
What the Bible Says about Peter’s Wife
Peter’s marital status is established by the comment regarding “Peter’s wife’s mother.” “Do we have no right, as do the other apostles, the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas, to bring along a believing wife?”
Paul asks later in I Corinthians 9:5, “Do we have no right, as do the other apostles, the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas, to bring along a believing wife?” This indicates that a number of the apostles were married at some point during their lives.
Roman Catholics believe and reference Apostle Peter as the first pope, the vicar of Christ, and the rock upon which the church was constructed. So how can they suggest that marriage is bad for “priests”? Why did Christ not immediately dismiss Peter as an apostle, even though he had a wife if this was a sin?
Even though Peter was married, the Catholic Church taught that he was the “first Pope,” a model for all his successors, preventing its priests from marrying!
The New Testament idea of priestly celibacy is contradicted by the practice of priestly celibacy (I Timothy 4:1, 3). “A bishop must then be blameless, the husband of one wife, one who manages his own house wisely, having his children in obedience with all reverence (since if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how can he care for God’s church?).
The Other Apostles/Disciples’ Wives
1 Corinthians 9:5 – Don’t we have the same right to bring a believing woman with us as the other apostles, the Lord’s brothers, and Cephas?
Apart from Peter, we don’t find anything in the Bible that mentions the other eleven disciples getting married. Paul’s question in 1 Corinthians leads us to believe that at least some of the other apostles were married. Paul assumed the right, as had the other apostles, to bring a believing lady with him.
Keynote Takeaway Were the Apostles Married?
Because Peter had a mother-in-law, we know he was married (Matthew 8:14). The apostle Paul, who was not married, asked the Corinthians if he, like “the other apostles and the Lord’s brethren and Cephas [Peter], did not have the right to take a believing wife” (1 Corinthians 9:5). We can deduce that Peter was not alone in having a wife.
We might conclude that some of the disciples were married, ministers can marry, and that the Roman Catholic rule of clerical celibacy is incompatible with the apostolic example.
If that was the case, why didn’t Christ immediately reject Peter as an apostle because he was married? How incredible that he should be installed as the head of the church, setting an example and serving as a role model for all who would follow him.
On the other hand, a celibate priesthood is a human habit that contradicts the New Testament (1 Timothy 3:2-5). Marriage was specifically said to be “honorable in everyone,” with no exception made for clergy, indicating that Peter’s wife was not a barrier to his being an apostle (Hebrews 13:4).
Finally, missionaries have the freedom to marry and bring their wives to the mission field. The apostles were missionaries, just like missionaries today, who worked in heathen societies. It’s also worth remembering that some people, like Paul, can accomplish more good without getting married. It is not advisable to marry in situations like his, and there is no doubt that Paul believed his status as a missionary to be preferable and advisable.