Many people, including Catholics, believe that Peter was the first Pope. With this in mind, some people wonder if the Apostle Peter, or other Apostles for that matter, left wives and families when they were called to ministry by Jesus. If so, then the question that comes to mind, at least as far as the Apostle Peter is concerned, is was the Apostle Peter married?
Although finding the answer about Peter’s marital status is not to difficult too determine using the Bible, there are other clues about the marital status of the apostles as well as if they had families.
Starting with Peter, we find three passages in Scripture that describe an event when the Lord Jesus Christ came to Peter’s (Surnamed Simon) house to heal his wife’s mother or mother-in-law. They are found as follows:
(Matthew 8:14-15 KJV) “And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. (15) And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.”
(Mark 1:29-31 KJV) “And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. (30) But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. (31) And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.”
(Luke 4:38-39 KJV) “And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. (39) And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.”
When we read on in the book of Luke, we find that Peter was not the only Apostle that had a wife. In fact, the Lord, responding to Peter’s comment on how the Apostles had “left all” to follow Him, told of how they would be rewarded not only in this life, but in eternity:
(Luke 18:28-30 KJV) “Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. (29) And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, (30) Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Emphasis added)
In describing how the Apostles had left all, Jesus described the word “all” as meaning “house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children for the kingdom of God’s sake.” Looking closer, Jesus says there is no man that has left all that will not be rewarded. Considering the fact that Peter was referencing himself and the rest of the Apostles, it is clear that not only was Peter married, he had children, as did the other Apostles.
How the fact that Peter was married fits into Catholic theology, the Catholic church will have to decide. As for those of us who are not Catholic, the fact that he, along with the other Apostles, left homes and wives and families to turn the world upside down (Acts 17:2-6) to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ should inspire us. If the rest of us gave up only a fraction of what they gave up to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others, the world might be a better place.