Was Paul divorced? - Prophet Joel Ogebe

 Prophet Joel Ogebe Recently took His time to share on Was Paul divorced? Here’s my stand point and what our congregation (Salem) should follow:

Prophet Joel Ogebe 

The claim that Apostle Paul was a divorcee simply because he identified as a Pharisee lacks scriptural support. Let's examine the evidence to clarify this matter.

Firstly, Acts 7:58 describes Paul (then Saul) as "one of the young men" present at Stephen's stoning, indicating his youthful zeal and commitment to Judaism from an early age. Paul himself reflects in Galatians 1:14 on his zealous advancement in Judaism, surpassing his peers in dedication to the traditions of their fathers. This zeal likely contributed to his recognition and acceptance within the Pharisaic high council.

Moreover, in 1 Corinthians 9:5, Paul questions whether he lacks the right to marry, as other apostles have, yet he chooses not to. This rhetorical question implies his unmarried status, as suggesting remarriage would contradict Jesus' teachings—a notion Paul, with his deep commitment to integrity, would never entertain.

Paul's life, as documented in Scripture, showcases his extreme devotion to his beliefs, prioritizing his spiritual mission over personal matters. He viewed marriage as a potential distraction from fully pleasing the Lord, as a married individual's attention is divided between their spouse and God (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

The Pharisees, a powerful group known for their strict adherence to oral law and tradition, did not have specific entry requirements based on marital status. Becoming a Pharisee was about embracing and embodying certain beliefs. Paul leverages his Pharisaic belief in the resurrection as a defense in Acts 23:6, demonstrating his alignment with their ideology, not their marital customs.

In Philippians 3:5, Paul lists his credentials, including being "circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee." This statement emphasizes his commitment to the law and Pharisaic beliefs, rather than suggesting a marital requirement for Pharisees. While many Pharisees were married, there is no evidence to suggest that marriage was a prerequisite for membership or holding a position within the group. And there is no document that says an unmarried zealot cannot be part of the Pharisees, hold to their beliefs or in Paul’s case become their law enforcement agent who was saddled with the responsibility of punishing defaulting Jews. 

Therefore, all available evidence points to Paul being unmarried. To assert otherwise is to base arguments on presumption rather than on the clear testimony of Scripture. Let's respect the textual evidence and recognize Paul's unmarried status without resorting to unfounded assumptions.

Reply to the Above Beleif

Evidently, there was no woman at Paul's side identified as his wife. Paul carefully avoided ever mentioning if he were ever married. He chose to be without one althrough what we read about him in the scriptures. But we never read anything about his life in Tarsus, as a student under Gamaliel or the years preceding his conversion. 

However, we know that Jews traditions have a system of betrothal. Paul's family was an influential one, and "reasonably" wealthy. His father was also a Pharisee, at least he said so in Galatians. That means they kept "the traditions of the fathers" in their home. The young man Saul also was a brilliant and  highly intelligent one who hold family pride. 

So sir, while there are no iron clad proof he married, there was a possibility he might have been betrothed to be married. Remember he was the best student of Gamaliel. He was the Jewish star of Tarsus. Even historians said after he graduated from the School of Gamaliel and returned to Tarsus, Gamaliel recommended him to the Sanhedrin. They sent for him and he came. It was his second coming to take a seat in the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem that he encountered the christians who he believed were destroying the traditions of the fathers.

He can't be that shining, darling, effective and most preferred and almost took a seat (or have taken) in the Sanhedrin without having at least a woman betrothed to him.Although betrothal is not marriage, but it was a sign that marriage was an almost possibility for him until he encountered Jesus Christ in Damascus. 

My opinion: Paul would have had a WIFE, if he had continued in the ways of his fathers. But I suggest he had a betrothed woman which he couldn't continue with for the sake of the gospel.

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