By toyboy07 • 11th Mar 2019 • 37 views • 1 comments

Does the Bible indicate that men and women in ministry

should remain unmarried? A careful examination of Scripture

clearly reveals that it does not.

Hebrew priests were eligible to marry. "And the high priest …

shall take a wife in her virginity" (Lev. 21:10,13). Priests had

children by their wives, see Ex. 29:4-9; 1 Sam. 1:3.

In the New Testament era deacons and presbyters (bishops,

pastors) were married. "A bishop then must be blameless,

the husband of one wife…" (1 Tim. 3:2).

The Apostle Peter (whom some erroneously suppose to

have been the first pope) was married. But in the Bible we

read: "When Jesus was come into Peter's house, He saw his

wife's mother laid and sick of a fever. And He touched her

hand, and the fever left her" ( Matt. 8:14,15). See also Mk.

1:30,31; Lk. 4:38,39.

Paul implied that some of the other apostles were married,

and stated that they certainly were free to do so. "Have we

not power to lead about a sister, wife, as well as other

apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas

[Peter]?" (1 Cor. 9:5)

Scripture further makes it clear that "marriage is honorable

in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and

adulterers God will judge" (Heb.13:4). While God does not

exclude any class of society from marriage, He does

denounce s*xual immorality in all, irrespective of occupation

or calling. He offers no exemptions from purity, least of all

for those who represent Him as ministers, see Jas. 3:1, cf.

Rom. 2:19-24.

Marriage is a sacred bond, and Jesus taught that its sanctity

and permanence are to be preserved inviolate. Jesus

affirmed that infidelity to the marriage vow constituted the

only grounds for divorce. See Matt. 19:3-9. Astonished by

this high standard, His disciples said to Him, "If the case of

the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry" (Matt.


This question drew from Jesus a beautiful truth about

celibacy as a special calling for some, "All men cannot

receive this saying, but they to whom it is given. There are

some … which have made themselves eunuchs for the

kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let

him receive it" (Matt. 19:11,12).

The preceding texts show that:

Celibacy is a state that some voluntarily embrace for the

Kingdom of heaven's sake, in order to serve God without the

distractions of attending to the duties and intricacies of

personal family life. Celibacy can never legitimately be

mandated by a church for its clergy or any portion of its

membership.Celibacy, even for those who serve God in full-

time ministry, is the exception rather than the rule. No one

who chooses celibacy is free to have s*xual relations with

anyone at any time. True celibacy implies the practice of

inviolate chastity. God's word is clear, "This is the will of

God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from

fornication: that every one of you should know how to

possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in the

lust of concupiscence" [epithymia, i.e., sinful desires] (1

Thes. 4:3-5).

We see then that celibacy is for those who find special grace

with God to transcend s*xual desire and the need for a

marriage partner. This state of singleness is for the relative

few, and is a choice (or calling) that lies between the

individual and God alone; it cannot be prescribed by anyone

else for another. See 1 Cor. 7:7-9.

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