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1 Corinthians 9:5

    1 Corinthians 9:5 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Have we no right to take about with us a Christian wife, like the rest of the Apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

    Webster's Revision

    Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

    World English Bible

    Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5

    Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife - The word εξουσιαν is to be understood here, as above in 1 Corinthians 9:4, as implying authority or right; and authority, not merely derived from their office, but from Him who gave them that office; from the constitution of nature; and from universal propriety or the fitness of things.

    When the apostle speaks of leading about a sister, a wife, he means first, that he and all other apostles, and consequently all ministers of the Gospel, had a right to marry. For it appears that our Lord's brethren James and Jude were married; and we have infallible evidence that Peter was a married man, not only from this verse, but from Matthew 8:14, where his mother-in-law is mentioned as being cured by our Lord of a fever.

    And secondly, we find that their wives were persons of the same faith; for less can never be implied in the word sister. This is a decisive proof against the papistical celibacy of the clergy: and as to their attempts to evade the force of this text by saying that the apostles had holy women who attended them, and ministered to them in their peregrinations, there is no proof of it; nor could they have suffered either young women or other men's wives to have accompanied them in this way without giving the most palpable occasion of scandal. And Clemens Alexandrinus has particularly remarked that the apostles carried their wives about with them, "not as wives, but as sisters, that they might minister to those who were mistresses of families; that so the doctrine of the Lord might without reprehension or evil suspicion enter into the apartments of the women." And in giving his finished picture of his Gnostic, or perfect Christian, he says: εσθιει, και πινει, και γαμει - εικονας εχει τους Αποστολους, He eats, and drinks, and marries - having the apostles for his example. Vid. Clem. Alex. Strom., lib. vii., c. 12.

    On the propriety and excellence of marriage, and its superiority to celibacy, see the notes on 1 Corinthians 7:1, etc.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Corinthians 9:5

    Have we not power? - Have we not a right? The objection here seems to have been, that Paul and Barnabas were unmarried, or at least that they traveled without wives. The objectors urged that others had wives, and that they took them with them, and expected provision to be made for them as well as for themselves. They therefore showed that they felt that they had a claim to support for their families, and that they were conscious that they were sent of God. But Paul and Barnabas had no families. And the objectors inferred that they were conscious that they had no claim to the apostleship, and no right to support. To this Paul replies as before, that they had a right to do as others did, but they chose not to do it for other reasons than that they were conscious that they had no such right.

    To lead about - To have in attendance with us; to conduct from place to place; and to have them maintained at the expense of the churches amongst which we labor.

    A sister, a wife - Margin, "or woman." This phrase has much perplexed commentators. But the simple meaning seems to be, A wife who should be a Christian, and regarded as sustaining the relation of a Christian sister." Probably Paul meant to advert to the fact that the wives of the apostles were and should be Christians; and that it was a matter of course, that if an apostle led about a wife she would be a Christian; or that he would marry no other; compare 1 Corinthians 3:11.

    As well as other apostles - It is evident from this that the apostles generally were married. The phrase used here is οἱ λοιποὶ ἀπόστολοι hoi loipoi apostoloi ("the remaining apostles," or the other apostles). And if they were married, it is right and proper for ministers to marry now, whatever the papist may say to the contrary. It is safer to follow the example of the apostles than the opinions of the papal church. The reasons why the apostles had wives with them on their journeys may have been various. They may have been either to give instruction and counsel to those of their own sex to whom the apostles could not have access, or to minister to the needs of their husbands as they traveled. It is to be remembered that they traveled among pagans; they had no acquaintance and no friends there; they therefore took with them their female friends and wives to minister to them, and sustain them in sickness, trial, etc. Paul says that he and Barnabas had a right to do this; but they had not used this right because they chose rather to make the gospel without charge 1 Corinthians 9:18, and that thus they judged they could do more good. It follows from this:

    (1) That it is right for ministers to marry, and that the papal doctrine of the celibacy of the clergy is contrary to apostolic example.

    (2) it is right for missionaries to marry, and to take their wives with them to pagan lands. The apostles were missionaries, and spent their lives in pagan nations as missionaries do now, and there may be as good reasons for missionaries marrying now as there were then.

    (3) yet there are people, like Paul, who can do more good without being married. There are circumstances, like his, where it is not advisable that they should marry, and there can be no doubt that Paul regarded the unmarried state for a missionary as preferable and advisable. Probably the same is to be said of most missionaries at the present day, that they could do more good if unmarried, than they can if burdened with the cares of families.

    And as the brethren of the Lord - The brothers of the Lord Jesus, James and Joses, and Simon and Judas, Matthew 13:55. It seems from this, that although at first they did not believe in him John 7:5, and had regarded him as disgraced Mark 3:21, yet that they had subsequently become converted, and were employed as ministers and evangelists. It is evident also from this statement that they were married, and were attended with their wives in their travels.

    And Cephas - Peter; see the note at John 1:42. This proves:

    (1) as well as the declaration in Matthew 8:14, that Peter had been married.

    (2) that he had a wife after he became an apostle, and while engaged in the work of the ministry.

    (3) that his wife accompanied him in his travels.

    (4) that it is right and proper for ministers and missionaries to be married now.

    Is it not strange that the pretended successor of Peter, the pope of Rome, should forbid marriage when Peter himself was married? Is it not a proof how little the papacy regards the Bible, and the example and authority of those from whom it pretends to derive its power? And is it not strange that this doctrine of the celibacy of the clergy, which has been the source of abomination, impurity, and licentiousness everywhere, should have been sustained and countenanced at all by the Christian world? And is it not strange that this, with all the other corrupt doctrines of the papacy, should be attempted to be imposed on the enlightened people of the United States, or of Great Britain, as a part of the religion of Christ?

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Corinthians 9:5

    9:5 Have we not power to lead about with us a sister, a wife - And to demand sustenance for her also? As well as the other apostles - Who therefore, it is plain, did this. And Peter - Hence we learn, That St. Peter continued to live with his wife after he became an apostle: That he had no rights as an apostle which were not common to St. Paul.