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New King James VersionDo we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
The phrase "a sister, a wife", is an Hebraism, and answers to (hlkytxa), "my sister, spouse", (Song of Solomon 4:9 Song of Solomon 4:10; Song of Solomon 4:12) ( 5:1 ) . The Jews called their wives, sisters, not on account of religion, which also is not the meaning here; but because of the common relation that men and women, all mankind, stand in to one another, antecedent to any nearer relation, as that of man and wife. The sense the Papists put on these words, to secure them from being a proof of the lawfulness of the marriage of the ministers of the Gospel, can by no means be the true one; which is, that they are to be understood of a rich woman, or women, the apostles had a power to carry about with them, to minister of their substance to them, and provide for them; for such a sense is directly contrary to the subject and argument the apostle is upon; which is to show the right that he and others had, of casting themselves entirely upon the churches for a maintenance; whereas this is contriving a way for relieving the churches of such a charge; besides, the act of "leading", or carrying "about", is expressive of such a power over them, as cannot be thought to agree with persons of such substance; and whose voluntary act this must be, to go along with them and supply them; add to this, that for the apostles to lead about with them wherever they went women, whether rich or poor, that were not their wives, would be of no good report, and must tend to hurt their character and reputation: moreover, though these words clearly imply the lawfulness of a minister's marriage, and suppose it, yet they do not express the act itself, or the lawfulness of entering into such a state, but rather what follows after it; and the sense is this, that the apostle and others, supposing them to have wives, and it may be added also, and children, they had a right to take these with them wherever they went, and insist upon the maintenance of them, as well as of their own, at the public expense:
who it seems did so, that had wives and families, as Philip the Evangelist had four daughters, (Acts 21:8; Acts 21:9).
who it seems were married persons, and took such a method; by whom are meant James, Joses, Judas, and Simon; who were the near kinsmen of Christ, it being usual with the Jews to call such brethren:
that is, Peter, who it is certain had a wife; see (Matthew 8:14) and therefore it is with a very ill grace that the pope, who according to some Christian denominations is to be Peter's successor, should forbid the marriage of ecclesiastical persons.
Cross reference: Deuteronomy 25:4