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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians 9:5

Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

Adam Clarke Commentary

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.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-corinthians-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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?


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-9.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife,.... The phrase "a sister, a wife", is an Hebraism, and answers to אחתיכלה, "my sister, spouse", Song of Solomon 4:9. 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:

as well as other apostles; who it seems did so, that had wives and families, as Philip the Evangelist had four daughters, Acts 21:8.

And as the brethren of the Lord: 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:

and Cephas; 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 pretends to be Peter's successor, should forbid the marriage of ecclesiastical persons.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-corinthians-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(e) One that is a Christian and a true believer.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-corinthians-9.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

lead about a sister, a wife — that is, “a sister as a wife”; “a sister” by faith, which makes all believers brethren and sisters in the one family of God: “a wife” by marriage covenant. Paul implies he did not exercise his undoubted right to marry and “lead about” a believer, for the sake of Christian expediency, as well to save the Church the expense of maintaining her in his wide circuits, as also that he might give himself more undistractedly to building up the Church of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:26, 1 Corinthians 7:32, 1 Corinthians 7:35). Contrast the Corinthians‘ want of self-sacrifice in the exercise of their “liberty” at the cost of destroying, instead of edifying, the Church (1 Corinthians 8:9, Margin; 1 Corinthians 8:10-13).

as other apostles — implying that some of them had availed themselves of the power which they all had, of marrying. We know from Matthew 8:14, that Cephas (Peter) was a married man. A confutation of Peter‘s self-styled followers, the Romanists, who exclude the clergy from marriage. Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 7.63] records a tradition that he encouraged his wife when being led to death by saying, “Remember, my dear one, the Lord.” Compare Eusebius [Eccleiastical History, 3.30].

brethren of the Lord — held in especial esteem on account of their relationship to Jesus (Acts 1:14; Galatians 1:9). James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. Probably cousins of Jesus: as cousins were termed by the Jews “brethren.” Alford makes them literally brothers of Jesus by Joseph and Mary.

Cephas — probably singled out as being a name carrying weight with one partisan section at Corinth. “If your favorite leader does so, surely so may I” (1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:22).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-corinthians-9.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Have we no right? (Μη ουκ εχομεν εχουσιανMē ouk echomen exousiaṉ). Same idiom.

To lead about a wife that is a believer? (αδελπην γυναικα περιαγεινadelphēn gunaika periageiṉ). Old verb περιαγωperiagō intransitive in Acts 13:11. Two substantives in apposition, a sister a wife, a common Greek idiom. This is a plea for the support of the preacher‘s wife and children. Plainly Paul has no wife at this time.

And Cephas (και Κηπαςkai Kēphās). Why is he singled out by name? Perhaps because of his prominence and because of the use of his name in the divisions in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:12). It was well known that Peter was married (Matthew 8:14). Paul mentions James by name in Galatians 1:19 as one of the Lord‘s brothers. All the other apostles were either married or had the right to be.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-corinthians-9.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

A sister, a wife

Wrong. Sister means a christian woman, a fellow-member of the Church, as Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 7:15; James 2:15. It is in apposition with wife: A wife that is a sister or believer. So Rev. Such an one has also the right, like her husband, to be maintained by the Church. Some of the fathers claimed that not a wife was meant, but a female attendant, serviens mantrona, who contributed to the maintenance of the apostles as certain women ministered to Christ. There is no foundation for this. It is contradicted by the example of Peter cited at the end of this verse; compare Matthew 8:14; and besides, the point of the argument is that these companions should be maintained. Such a practice, however, did grow up in the Church, but was abolished by the Council of Nicaea on account of its abuses. Stanley remarks that the fact of these women accompanying their husbands, may be explained by the necessity of females to gain access to and to baptize the female converts in Greece and in oriental countries; the same necessity which gave rise to the order of deaconesses.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-corinthians-9.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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?

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, 1. That St. Peter continued to live with his wife after he became an apostle: 2. That he had no rights as an apostle which were not common to St. Paul.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-corinthians-9.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The brethren of the Lord. They are mentioned as disciples in Acts 1:14.--Cephas; Peter.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-corinthians-9.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5.Even as the other Apostles. In addition to the Lord’s permission, he mentions the common practice of others. And with the view of bringing out more fully the waiving of his right, he proceeds step by step. In the first place, he brings forward the Apostles He then adds, “Nay, even the brethren of the Lord themselves also make use of it without hesitation — nay more, Peter himself, to whom the first place is assigned by consent of all, allows himself the same liberty.” By the brethren of the Lord, he means John and James, who were accounted pillars, as he states elsewhere. (Galatians 2:9.) And, agreeably to what is customary in Scripture, he gives the name of brethren to those who were connected with Him by relationship.

Now, if any one should think to establish Popery from this, he would act a ridiculous part. We confess that Peter was acknowledged as first among the Apostles, as it is necessary that in every society there should always be some one to preside over the others, and they were of their own accord prepared to respect Peter for the eminent endowments by which he was distinguished, as it is proper to esteem and honor all that excel in the gifts of God’s grace. That preeminence, however, was not lordship — nay more, it had nothing resembling lordship. For while he was eminent among the others, still he was subject to them as his colleagues. Farther, it is one thing to have pre-eminence in one Church, and quite another, to claim for one’s self a kingdom or dominion over the whole world. But indeed, even though we should concede everything as to Peter, what has this to do with the Pope? For as Matthias succeeded Judas, (Acts 1:26,) so some Judas might succeed Peter. Nay more, we see that during a period of more than nine hundred years among his successors, or at least among those who boast that they are his successors, there has not been one who was one whit better than Judas. This, however, is not the place to treat of these points. Consult my Institutes. (Volume 3.)

One thing farther must here be noticed, that the Apostles had no horror of marriage, which the Papal clergy so much abominate, as unbecoming the sanctity of their order. But it was after their time that that admirable discovery was made, that the priests of the Lord are polluted if they have intercourse with their lawful wives; and, at length matters came to such a pitch, that Pope Syricius did not hesitate to call marriage “a pollution of the flesh, in which no one can please God.” What then must become of the poor Apostles, who continued in that pollution until death? Here, however, they have contrived a refined subtilty to effect their escape; for they say that the Apostles gave up the use of the marriage bed, but led about their wives with them, that they might receive the fruits of the gospel, or, in other words, support at the public expense. As if they could not have been maintained by the Churches, unless they wandered about from place to place; and farther, as if it were a likely thing that they would run hither and thither of their own accord, and without any necessity, in order that they might live in idleness at the public expense! For as to the explanation given by Ambrose, as referring to other persons’ wives, who followed the Apostles for the purpose of hearing their doctrine, it is exceedingly forced.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-corinthians-9.html. 1840-57.

Vv. 5. The right of Paul and Barnabas, as apostles of the Lord, is demonstrated down to 1 Corinthians 9:14 by a series of arguments, the first of which, 1 Corinthians 9:5-6, is taken from the example of the other apostles and of the Lord"s brothers. Not only were these personally maintained by the Churches they visited, but each of them had his wife with him, who shared in this advantage. The Greek text signifies: "a sister as wife." The Vulgate translates: "a wife as sister;" it is obvious in what interest. "Clement of Alexandria, at the end of the second century, makes no difficulty about recognising the fact that all the apostles were married (Strom. iii. p. 448); Ambrosiaster (probably the Roman deacon Hilary in the fourth century) declares (2 Corinthians 11:2) that all the apostles, except John and Paul, had wives" (see Heinrici, p. 240).

The term περιάγειν, to lead about, can apply only to habitual missionary journeys. This little word dissipates to some extent the obscurity in which the book of Acts leaves the career of most of the Twelve. It reveals to us also what an important part the brothers of Jesus played in the early propagation of Christianity. They must have occupied the first rank among the evangelists, who came immediately after the apostles (Ephesians 4:11). These brothers of Jesus were, according to the Gospels, four in number: James, Joses, Simon, and Jude (Matthew 13:55 and parallels). An ancient tradition makes them elder brothers of Jesus, the issue of a first marriage of Joseph. Later it was sought to identify two or even three of them with the apostles of the same name; they were held to be cousins of Jesus, sons of a brother of Joseph, called Alphaeus. After his death, Joseph and Mary took them into their house to bring them up with Jesus; this is what led to their being called His brothers. The eldest, James, was the Apostle James, son of Alphaeus (Matthew 10:3); Simon, the last but one, was the Apostle Simon Zelotes (Matthew 10:4; Luke 6:15); and the youngest, Jude, was the Apostle Jude Lebbaeus, or Thaddaeus (Matthew 10:3; Luke 6:16). This ingenious combination falls to pieces before the two sayings, John 7:5, where, some months before the Passion, it is said of the brothers of Jesus, "that they did not believe in Him,"—they were not therefore of the number of the Twelve,—and Acts 1:13-14, where, even after the Ascension, they are still placed outside the circle of the apostles. Our passage, too, has been relied on to identify them with the Twelve. For, it is said, since Peter is mentioned along with the apostles, though he was one of them, it may well be so with the brothers of Jesus. But it is not necessary to give to the two καί, and, in our verse an identical meaning. We may explain it: "the other apostles, as well as (first καί) the brothers of Jesus, and specially (second καί) Cephas." As to the brothers of Jesus, therefore, there are only two suppositions possible: either that they were, according to a tradition already quoted, brothers of Jesus by the father, or that they were his later-born brothers. It is well known what an ascendancy in the Church was given to the eldest of them, James, by the fact of his being the Lord"s brother; comp. Galatians 1:19; Galatians 2:1-10; Acts 15.

The Gospels positively inform us that Peter was married (Matthew 8:14). Tradition calls his wife sometimes Concordia, sometimes Perpetua. Peter is expressly mentioned, because he occupied the first rank among the apostles and evangelists; his was the example par excellence.


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Bibliography
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/1-corinthians-9.html.

Scofield's Reference Notes

sister

a wife who is a sister.


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Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/1-corinthians-9.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 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?

Ver. 5. To lead about a sister] At the Church’s charge likewise. The Papists that deny the lawfulness of ministers’ marriage, are condemned and cursed by their own canon law (Distinct 29 and 31.) See Acts and Monuments, fol. 1008. Paphnutius opposed this proposition in the Nicene Council, and prevailed.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-corinthians-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Corinthians 9:5. To lead about a sister, a wife It is very improbable that the Apostle would have carried about with him, in these sacred peregrinations, a woman to whom he was not married; so that the answer which the Papists generally make to the argument often brought from these words in favour of a married clergy, is absolutely inconclusive. The disjuncture between the Apostles and the brethren of the Lord, is a proof that James bishop of Jerusalem, and Jude, our Lord's brethren, were not of the number of the Apostles. The last clause of this verse, And Cephas, is important; both as it declares in effect that St. Peter continued to live with his wife after he became an Apostle, and also that St. Peter had no rights as an Apostle, which were not common to St. Paul.—A remark utterly subversive of popery, if traced to its obvious consequences. See Locke, Doddridge, and Wall.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-corinthians-9.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

5.] Have we not the power to bring about with us (also to be maintained at the cost of the churches, for this, and not the power to marry, is here the matter in question) as a wife, a (believing) sister (or, ‘to bring with us a believing wife:’ these are the only renderings of which the words are legitimately capable. Augustine, De Opere Monachorum, 4 (5), vol. vi. p. 552, explains it thus: “Ostendit sibi licere quod ceteris Apostolis, id est ut non operetur manibus suis, sed ex Evangelio vivat:.… ad hoc enim et fideles mulieres habentes terrenam substantiam ibant cum eis, et ministrabant eis de substantia sua,” &c., and similarly Jerome adv. Jovin. 1 Corinthians 1:26, vol. ii. p. 277. So likewise Tertull., Theodoret, Œcum., Isid(37) Pelus., Theophylact, Ambrose, and Sedul(38) So too Corn.-a-Lap. and Estius. See Estius, and Suicer, γυνή, II. And from this misunderstanding of the passage grew up a great abuse, and such women are mentioned with reprobation by Epiphan. Hær. 78, vol. i. (ii. Migne), p. 1043, under the name of ἀγαπηταί. They were also called ἀδελφαί: and were forbidden under the name of συνείσακτοι by the 3rd Canon of the 1st Council of Nicæa. See these words in Suicer), as also the other Apostles (in the wider sense, not only the twelve, for 1 Corinthians 9:6, Barnabas is mentioned. It does not follow hence that all the other Apostles were married: but that all had the power, and some had used it) and the brethren of the Lord (mentioned not because distinct from the ἀπόστολοι, though they were absolutely distinct from the Twelve, see Acts 1:14,—but as a further specification of the most renowned persons, who travelled as missionaries, and took their wives with them. On the ἀδ. τοῦ κυρ. see note, Matthew 13:55. They were in all probability the actual brethren of our Lord by the same mother, the sons of Joseph and Mary. The most noted of these was James, the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19; Galatians 2:9; Galatians 2:12, compare Acts 12:17; Acts 15:13; Acts 21:18), the resident bishop of the Church at Jerusalem: the others known to us by name were Joses (or Joseph), Simon, and Judas, see note on Matt, ib.), and Cephas (Peter was married, see Matthew 8:14. A beautiful tradition exists of his encouraging his wife who was led to death, by saying μέμνησο, ὦ αὕτη, τοῦ κυρίου, Clem(39) Alex. Strom. vii. § 11 (63), p. 868 P. Euseb. H. E. iii. 30. Clem(40) Alex. Strom, iii. § 6 (52), p. 535 P., relates that he had children)? On a mistake which has been made respecting St. Paul’s (supposed) wife, see note on ch. 1 Corinthians 7:8.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-corinthians-9.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Corinthians 9:5. ἀδελφὴν γυναῖκα, a sister, a wife) Expressed in the nominative case this is the proposition implied, this sister is my wife; wherefore the name, sister, does not prevent marriage.— περιάγειν, to lead about) an abbreviated expression(73) for to have and to lead about; for he had no wife. Expense was laid upon the Churches, not from having, but from leading about a wife.— ὡς, as well as) this word also refers to 1 Corinthians 9:4.— οἱ λοιποὶ, the others) The article shows that all the others had done so. We may presume the same of John.— καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ κυρίου, and the brethren of the Lord) Acts 1:14; Galatians 1:19.— καὶ κηφᾶς, and Cephas) There is a gradation here; comp. 1 Corinthians 3:22, note.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-corinthians-9.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife? Those that by those terms, adelfhn, gunaika, understand, not (as we translate it) a sister, a wife, but a woman, that should out of her estate have contributed to the apostle’s maintenance, (as Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, followed Christ, and ministered to him of their substance, Luke 8:3), seem not to consider:

1. That such women would have been no burden, but a help to the church (which is quite contrary to the apostle’s sense).

2. That the term lead about, imports a conjugal relation to the woman.

3. That if this had been the sense, it had been enough to have said, to lead about a woman; he should not need have said, a sister, a woman.

4. That such leading about a woman, not their wife, had been scandalous.

5. That the very phrase, a sister, a wife, answers the phrase, Acts 23:1, Men, brethren, which signifies no more than, O ye Christian men; as a sister, a wife, signifies here a Christian wife.

6. That we no where read, that Peter, James, John, Judas, (here called the brethren of the Lord), or any of the other apostles, ever in their travels carried about with them any such rich matrons, not their wives, who (as those, Luke 8:3) ministered to them of their substance. Our interpreters have therefore justly translated it, a sister, a wife; and the sense is: Have I not power to marry? Yet the phrase teaches us two things:

a) That Christians have no power, that is, no lawful power, to marry such as are no Christians, their wives must be their sisters also in Christ.

b) That husbands and wives ought to be undivided companions one to another.

As well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas: he instanceth in several apostles that were married, Peter, (called Cephas), James, John, and Judas the son of Alpheus, Christ’s kinsmen. Whence we may observe, that ministers may lawfully marry, no law of God hath restrained them more than others. The popish doctrine forbidding to marry, is by the apostle determined to be a doctrine of devils, 1 Timothy 4:1,3.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-corinthians-9.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Power to lead about a sister, a wife; he had as good a right to be married, and have his family supported, as Peter and other apostles had. Ministers of the gospel, whether settled in Christian or missionaries to heathen lands, have a right to be married, and with their families to be supported; though it may sometimes be wise not to exercise this right.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-corinthians-9.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

5. ἀδελφὴν γυναῖκα περιάγειν. The ordinary interpretation of this passage is [1] that St Paul here asserts his right, if he pleased, to take with him a wife who was a member of the Christian body, and to have her maintained at the expense of the community. The word sister, like the words brother, brethren, is equivalent to ‘member of the Christian Church’ in Romans 16:1; James 2:15; 2 John 1:13 (perhaps) and ch. 1 Corinthians 7:15 of this Epistle. This privilege was claimed by the other Apostles with a view, as Stanley suggests, of obtaining access to the women, who in the East usually dwelt apart. But there is [2] another interpretation which would translate the word here rendered wife by woman (as in the margin of our version), and suppose that the tie which connected St Paul with the Christian woman he claimed to ‘lead about’ with him was nothing but that of their common Christianity. In support of this view Luke 8:2-3, is quoted. This opinion can be traced back as far as Tertullian in the second century. But it is most improbable that in a society so corrupt as the heathen society of that age everywhere was, the Apostles of Christ would have run so serious a risk of misconstruction as would have been involved in such a practice. The conduct of Simon Magus, who led about with him a woman of scandalous character, the misinterpretations so common in the Apostolic age of the innocent affection of the Christians for each other, and of their nightly meetings, shew how necessary prudence was in those times. Besides, this interpretation misses the point of the argument, which was, that the original twelve Apostles claimed the right to throw not only their own maintenance, but that of their wives, upon the Church. The various readings found in this passage would seem to have been introduced to support the view that a wife could not here be intended.

οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ κυρίου. These have been regarded [1] as the children of Joseph and Mary, [2] the children of Joseph by a former wife, [3] as the kinsmen of our Lord, the word brother having been used in Hebrew to denote any near relation. See Genesis 13:8; Genesis 29:12; Leviticus 10:4. The question has been hotly debated. [1] or [2] seem of course to suit the more obvious meaning of the word ἀδελφοί; but in support of [3] we find from Scripture and ecclesiastical history that the names of our Lord’s brethren James and Joses and Simon and Judas were also the names of the sons of Alphaeus, who were our Lord’s cousins. See Matthew 13:55; Matthew 27:56; Luke 24:10; John 19:25. Also Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; and Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. III. 11, 32. See Bp Lightfoot on the Epistle to the Galatians, Dissertation II. Also Dean Plumptre on St James, in the present series, Introduction pp. 12–18.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-corinthians-9.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5. Lead about—Implying an itinerancy, not a settled pastorate.

A sister, a wife—A sister of the Church, who is a wife of the apostle. The English version gives the exact verbal Greek, except that the latter word may signify either wife or woman. That here, however, the word does not mean woman is plain, for a sister is of course a woman, and the latter word would be superfluous. If sister express a relation, so must the latter term. Dr. Wordsworth, however, renders it, as do some of the Greek and Roman fathers, a Christian woman. But the word sister alone would express that meaning. Wordsworth’s rendering assumes that the apostles took upon their circuits female attendants of suitable character, who should perform those Christian offices, such as baptism for females, who were in that age inaccessible to the male minister. But of this practice there is no trace in the New Testament or earliest Church history. Nor is the case of those women who upon occasions ministered to our Lord at all parallel. This erroneous view of the text was probably the occasion of the later introduction into the Church of an order of women called after this passage συνεισακται, which led to such immoralities that it was abolished by the Council of Nicea. The Rhemish (Romanistic) version unscrupulously transposes the terms, and reads a woman, a sister, which would give the same sense as Wordsworth, liable to the same objection. Tradition (which Romanism usually presses upon us as a binding authority) asserts, as this passage also implies, that several of the apostles were married, and Matthew 8:14 asserts that Peter (claimed as the first pope) was. Paul declares that “a bishop must be the husband of one wife.” When Orientalism became more fully developed in the Church, about the middle of the second century, virginity began to become an exaggerated virtue. As the popedom developed itself, the celibacy of the clergy, contrary to the above quoted express Scripture, was found to be a powerful aid to the central despotism. Separated from all other ties, the clergy became, as now, the devotees of absolute ecclesiastic power. Hence the pope has been the most violent advocate of celibacy, and the late enactment of the infallibility of the pope renders the dogma of clerical celibacy absolutely immutable.

The brethren of the Lord—Who were not of the twelve apostles, but who, after the Lord’s resurrection, became apostolic men. See note on Matthew 13:55.

Cephas—Mentioned here specially as the high authority with the Judaizers whom Paul is answering.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-corinthians-9.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Evidently it was customary for the other apostles and the Lord"s physical brothers to take their wives with them when they traveled to minister. The churches they served covered the expenses of these women as well as those of their husbands. Paul may have mentioned Peter in particular because he had a strong following in Corinth ( 1 Corinthians 1:12). His references to the Lord"s brothers in this verse and to Barnabas in the next do not necessarily mean that these men had visited Corinth. Perhaps the Corinthians knew about their habits of ministering second-hand.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-corinthians-9.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 9:5. Have we no right to lead about—to take along with us in our missionary journeys

a wife who is a believerGr. ‘a sister.’ An absurd interpretation of these words, which found support even among the best of the fathers, when once the ascetic principle had taken possession of the Church, led Christians to regard celibacy as a holier state than marriage, and by degrees threw discredit on the marriage of the clergy. The interpretation we refer to is, that the apostle is here claiming the right of preachers to follow our Lord’s example (Luke 8:1-3), who allowed rich women to follow Him and His apostles, ministering to them of their substance. But on that view, what is this about “a wife”? For to translate it ‘a woman’ here is absurd. But absurd as it is, modern Romanists—even Cornelius à Lapide and Estius—are obliged to take refuge in it. In fact, the great fluctuation in the Greek readings of this verse—especially that strange reading ‘sisters, women’—is a proof (as has been well observed) of the desperate shifts to which people have been driven to obliterate the testimony against compulsory celibacy in the ministers of Christ which the true text of this verse contains.

even as the rest of the apostles—not necessarily each of them, but the class; for Paul himself was certainly not married (1 Corinthians 7:7).

and the brethren of the Lord. Though named hereafter “the apostles,” it would not necessarily follow that none of these were themselves apostles, for “Cephas,” one of the apostles, is named immediately after them. At the same time, the mode of expression more naturally suits with their not being apostles, as on other grounds we believe can be established.

and Cephas—whose marriage none can doubt of (see Mark 1:30).


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-corinthians-9.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Mulierem sororem, Greek: adelphen gunaika. Sororem mulierem, where Estius brings examples to shew that it is the same sense and construction, whether we read mulierem sororem, or sororem mulierem. Tertullian, the most ancient of the Latin fathers, read: mulieres circumducendi, not uxores. De pudicitia, chap. xiv. p. 566. Ed. Rig. and lib. de monogam. chap. viii. p. 519. he first says, Petrum solum invenio maritum. And on this place, non uxores demonstrat ab Apostolis circumductas....sed simpliciter mulieres, quæ, illos eodem instituto, quo et Dominum comitantes, ministrabant. St. Jerome. Ubi de mulieribus sororibus infertur, perspicuum est, non uxores debere intelligi, sed eas, ut diximus, quæ de sua substantia ministrabant. St. Augustine. Hoc quidam non intelligentes, non sororem mulierem, sed uxorem interpretati sunt, fefellit illos verbi græci ambiguitas....quanquam hoc ita posuerit, ut falli non debuerint, quia neque mulierem tantummodo ait, sed sororem mulierem, neque ducendi, sed circumducendi: verum alios Interpretes non fefellit hæc ambiguitas, et mulierem, non uxorem interpretati sunt.

====================


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-corinthians-9.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Corinthians 9:5 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?

"lead about a wife that is a believer"-Which infers: (1) The apostles had the right to marry. (2) Paul didn"t even consider than an apostle would marry an unbelieving woman. (3) That such families of apostles and evangelists had the right to be supported also.

Point to Note:

To avoid the clear teaching of this passage, some have argued that what Paul is saying... is that the apostles had the right to have a Christian woman (not a wife) accompany them in their travels and minister to their needs, i.e. cook for them, do their laundry, etc..And yet the clear meaning is "a sister as a wife." (Fee p. 403) For to translate the phrase, "a sister who is a woman", is silly. What other kind of "sister" is there? This interpretation makes nonsense out of the passage.

"even as the rest of the apostles"-"this passage creates a fair presumption that at least the majority of the apostles were married." (McGarvey p. 89)

"and the brethren of the Lord"-"and the brothers of the Lord." (NASV) Since Paul is arguing, and has already mentioned one prominent group of individuals, it seems that this phrase must refer to another, i.e. the actual physical brothers of Jesus. (Mark 6:3; Matthew 13:55)

"This passage makes clear that even though they had questions during his earthly ministry (Mark 3:31; John 7:3), they eventually came to believe in Jesus and were among his earliest followers after the Resurrection (Acts 1:14)." (Fee pp. 403-404)

This text also implies that the brothers of the Lord preached, traveled, had families and were supported by churches.

"The only reason that anyone doubted whether Jesus had brothers was in the interest of the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary." (Willis p. 284)

"and Cephas?"-i.e. Peter () In the gospels we find that he had a mother-in-law (Mark 1:30; Matthew 8:14).

"It is rather disconcerting to the papacy that Peter, who is regarded as the first pope, is represented as a married man in the Scriptures." (Lenski p. 356)

"Why is he (Peter) singled out by name? Perhaps because of his prominence and because of the use of his name in the divisions in Corinth ()" (Robertson p. 143)


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Bibliography
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-corinthians-9.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

a sister a wife. i.e. a wife who is a believer, and so entitled to be provided for, as well as her husband.

other = the rest of the. App-124.

brethren. See App-182.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-corinthians-9.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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?

Lead about a sister, a wife - `a sister as a wife;' "a sister" by faith, which makes all believers brethren and sisters in God: "a wife" by marriage. Paul implies he did not exercise his right to marry and "lead about" a believer, for Christian expediency, as well to save the Church the cost of maintaining her in his wide circuits, as also to give himself more undistractedly to building up the Church of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:26; 1 Corinthians 7:32; 1 Corinthians 7:35). Contrast the Corinthians' self-pleasing in the exercise of their "liberty" at the cost of destroying, instead of edifying, the Church (1 Corinthians 8:9-10, margin, 1 Corinthians 8:11-13).

As other (Greek, 'the other') apostles - implying that some had used the power which they all had of marrying. We know from Matthew 8:14 that Cephas or Peter was married. A confutation of Peter's self-called followers, who exclude the clergy from marriage. Clemens Alexandrinus, 'Stromata,' 7: 63, reports that he encouraged his wife, when being led to death, by saying, 'Remember, my dear one, the Lord' (cf. Eusebius, 'E. H.' 3:30).

Brethren of the Lord - held in especial esteem on account of their relationship to Jesus (Matthew 13:55; John 7:5; Acts 1:14; Galatians 1:19) - James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. Probably (according to the Jewish meaning of "brethren") cousins of Jesus, sons of Cleopas and Maria, Mary's sister.

Cephas - singled out as a name carrying weight with one partisan section at Corinth. 'If your favourite leader does so, surely so may I' (1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:22).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-corinthians-9.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

And take a Christian wife with me? The other apostles did this, and asked the church to pay their bills wherever they went. The Lord's brothers, who would be of special interest to the false teacher, also did this, And Peter. [Cephas is the Aramaic version of Peter.] Peter was a married man and continued to live with his wife as an apostle, taking her along with him on his tours of mission. Compare note on 1 Corinthians 7:3.


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-corinthians-9.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) To lead about a sister, a wife—i.e., to take with us on our journeys a Christian woman as a wife. Roman divines have interpreted this as referring to “the custom of Christian matrons attending as sisters upon the Apostles.” But as the Apostle illustrates his meaning by a reference to Peter, who we know had a wife, such an interpretation is inadmissible. St. Paul, in this verse, carries his statement of apostolic right to support one step further. Not only had he a right to be supported himself, but the support of the married Apostles and their wives by the Church implied the same right on the part of all. A practice which grew out of a misapprehension of the real meaning of this passage, led to grave scandal, and was finally condemned by the first Council of Nicæa (A.D. 325).

The brethren of the Lord, and Cephas.—These are mentioned specially, not as distinct from the Apostles (for Cephas, of course, was one), but as examples which would have great weight with the particular Jewish faction to whom this argument was adduced. James was Bishop of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; Acts 21:18). The other brethren of our Lord were Joses, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). They were not of the twelve Apostles, even after their conversion being mentioned as distinct from the Twelve (Acts 1:14), although James subsequently occupied an apostolic position (Galatians 2:9). Various and ingenious suggestions have been made as to who these “brethren of the Lord” were; amongst others, that they were cousins, or that they were children of Joseph by a former marriage. These views grew out of a desire to establish the perpetual virginity of Mary. The natural conclusion from a study of the mention of their names in the Gospels, without preconceived prejudice, would be that Joseph and Mary lived together after the miraculous birth of Christ, and that these were their children. This, too, is supported by the use of the word “first-born” in reference to our Lord (Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7), and the word “till” (Matthew 1:25), and “before they came together” (Matthew 1:18), and the repeated mention of them as brethren in connection with His mother Mary. (See Note on Matthew 12:46.)


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-corinthians-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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?
to lead
1 Timothy 3:2; 4:3; Titus 1:6; Hebrews 13:4
a sister
7:15,39; Song of Solomon 4:9,10,12; 5:1,2; Romans 16:1; 1 Timothy 5:2
wife
or, woman. the brethren.
Matthew 12:46-50; 13:55; Mark 6:3; Luke 6:15; John 2:12; Acts 1:14; Galatians 1:19
Cephas
1:12; Matthew 8:14; Mark 1:30; John 1:42

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-corinthians-9.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

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?

This is an amplification of the preceding verse. Have we not the power, i.e. the right. To lead about, a form of expression chosen because the apostles were not stationary ministers, each with his own parish or diocese, but were constantly traveling from place to place. A sister, i.e. a Christian woman. A wife, this determines the relation which this traveling companion sustained. It is as much as saying, ‘A sister who is a wife.' Many of the Fathers explain this passage as referring to the custom of rich women attending the apostles on their journeys in order to minister to their support. In this interpretation they are followed by many Romanists in order to avoid the sanction which the ordinary and only legitimate interpretation gives to the marriage of the clergy. As other apostles; literally, "the other apostles." This does not necessarily imply that all the other apostles were married; but the implication is that as a body they were married men. Olshausen and others understand the apostle, in the 1 Corinthians 9:4-6, as asserting his liberty as to three points;

1. As to meats, ‘Have I not the same liberty that you claim as to eating and drinking?'

2. As to marriage, ‘Have I not the right to marry?'

3. As to support.

But this introduces more into the text than the connection warrants. There is no question about the right of marriage alluded to in the context; and what follows is a defense neither of his liberty to disregard the Jewish laws about meats and drinks, nor of his right to be married.

And the brethren of the Lord. Whether these were the children of Joseph and Mary, or the children of Mary, the sister of our Lord's mother, is a point very difficult to determine. Tradition, or the general voice of the church, is greatly in favor of the latter opinion. The former, however, is probably the opinion embraced by a majority of modern commentators. The discussion of this question belongs properly to the evangelical history.‹11› The following passages may be compared on this subject: Matthew 1:25; Matthew 12:46; Matthew 13:55. Luke 2:7. John 2:12. Acts 1:14. Galatians 1:19. And Cephas; this is the name by which Peter is called whenever he is mentioned by Paul, except in the epistle to the Galatians; and Lachmann reads Cephas instead of Peter in Galatians 1:18; Galatians 2:11, Galatians 2:14, leaving Galatians 2:8, Galatians 2:9 the only exception. That Peter was married is clear from Matthew 8:14. Mark 1:30.


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Bibliography
Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/1-corinthians-9.html.

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