Were the Disciples Married?

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Leviticus 25; Mark 1:23-45


29 After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. 31 He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them (Mark 1:29-31, Common English Bible).

I have just spent the weekend in Boerne, Texas, where my mother and some of our other family members live. We were there for my niece’s wedding. I had the privilege of officiating the ceremony. So, maybe I have wedding on the brain right now. It was a great time and got to catch up with some family I haven’t seen in quite a long time.

When I sat down last night and started reading the lessons for today, deciding which lesson I would use for writing today’s post, my mind went back some 26-28 years ago to a conversation that took place at a church Bible study.

I was serving as pastor at Elwood United Methodist Church outside of Madisonville and Midway Texas. That congregation had a long-running Wednesday night Bible study. I forget how long the study and run or how many times they had worked their way through the Bible. It had been several times. Each week we would read two chapters a paragraph or so at a time, discussing what we had read as we moved through the text.

One night, as part of our discussion, Bill asked a simple question. He was looking at me for an answer but would gladly have taken it from anyone in the room. He asked, “Were the disciples married?”

I told him that I knew some of the disciples were young and may not have married as yet. But, others, like Matthew, were older and perhaps were married. I didn’t really know, I told him, I didn’t think it was something anyone would probably know, a fact lost to history.

We left Bible study that night and I thought it was the end of the subject. How could anyone really know the answer?

The next Wednesday came around and we were all back in Bible Study. We had our opening prayer and then Roscoe said, “Before we begin our lesson for the night in earnest I would like to reopen a topic we discussed last week.” I thought to myself, what were we talking about that he would like to open again?

Roscoe then said, “Turn in your Bibles to Mark 1:29-31.” I quickly read the Scripture in question. When I finished, I still had no idea what we were looking at or why. Back in those days, I didn’t know the Bible as well as I do today but I am still not sure I would have picked up on what Roscoe was talking about. When everyone had a chance to finish reading he said, “Last week we asked if the disciples were married. No one knew the answer. The answer is right here.  “Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once.”

As Roscoe looked around the room, he must have thought his fellow classmates were all pretty dense. Not one of us still picked up on what Roscoe was trying to say. Roscoe, then a bit exasperated said, “If Simon had a mother-in-law he would also have a wife. If, then, he had a wife, the disciples were obviously allowed to be married.”

Obviously, that idea and logic, while sound, was not something I would have picked up. I am not even sure that with a sounder Biblical education by now, that I would have picked up on it today.

That, and today’s lesson, which always these days, reminds me of that conversation. It also reminds me, don’t shut the door on what the Bible has to say. Most anytime we read Scripture, we miss some things. Hopefully, we don’t let the search of Scriptures deviate us from trying to learn and discover new things in the Scriptures.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


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