Many people have wondered what was Paul’s marital status. Given his role within the Jewish community it is likely he would’ve been married. But what we read in his letters indicates he was single. That’s just about as much as my previous studies have shown me. Then I read this in the commentary I’ve been studying during our 1 Corinthians reading plan:
Orr and Walther [two biblical scholars] make a strong case that Paul was a widower. They write, “Jewish leaders holding the position attributed to Paul in the New Testament ordinarily were married.” But Paul is clearly traveling without a wife (9:5). Apparently his wife had died. Greek has a word for “widowers” (kheros), but that word does not appear in the New Testament time period when Koine Greek was in use. Later in this passage when Paul discusses the “unmarried,” (7:25) he uses the traditional Greek word for “virgin” (parthenos). In the present text [1 Corinthians 7:6-9] he discusses “a-gamois and widows.” The natural way to read the text is to see these two words as a pair and understand that Paul is writing about “widowers and widows.” Orr and Walther translate a-gamois literally as “de-married” and explain that in this passage it means “widowers.” Paul uses this word three times in this chapter. All of them can best be understood as mean, “once married, now not married.”
Ken Bailey, Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes. 204.
I thought this was pretty convincing. What do you think?