Was Paul married?
In “Your Bible Questions” for September 2005, you said that “it’s possible Paul was married.” My pastor says Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin, and as a member of the Sanhedrin, he would have been required to be married and may have had several wives. I think Paul was married and that his conversion to Christianity broke his marriage. When he converted to Christianity, his entire family would have basically considered him dead to them from that point on.
Bob Payne, Bishop, California
Editor’s response: Your pastor is correct in stating that members of the Sanhedrin were required to be married. In Acts 26:10, Paul said that “when they [Christians] were put to death, I cast my vote against them.” This suggests that Paul was a voting member of the Sanhedrin. However, the Bible doesn’t actually say that Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin, which is why we said that “it’s possible he was married earlier in his life, . . . but that’s a conjecture.”
Saved without obedience?
Celeste Walker’s article “Rest Assured” (July 2005) assures us that salvation is a gift from God, but I was disappointed with her emphasis. There is a large class of people who want to be saved from hell without becoming loyal and faithful disciples of Jesus. To this class, “free salvation” means “little or no obligation to obey Jesus.” But Jesus said otherwise: “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Salvation was designed to be a paradox. There is a necessary tension between God’s gift and the response He seeks. Ms. Walker correctly pointed out that works cannot save us, but she said nothing about the necessity of being willing to pay the price of discipleship. But isn’t that a distortion of the gospel?
Larry Wilson, Cleveland, Tennessee
Editor’s response: Near the end of her article, Mrs. Walker said, “We obey Jesus because we love Him and want to express our appreciation for what He’s done for us. . . . He’s paid the entire price for our sins. Our part is to accept what He has done for us and let obedience be our loving response to that gift.”
Signs helps an addict
I have leukemia, hepatitis C, and liver disease. I drank every day and did dope every chance I got. I was talking to God on the bus, and I said, “Come on, God, I’ve prayed thousands of times to be free of drugs. I feel like giving up on You.” When I got off the bus, I looked down, and there was your magazine in the trash can, so I picked it up. The next day I woke up, and I didn’t want a beer or to get high. My wife saw me with no beer and asked what was wrong. I said God took it away. Thank you!
Was Paul out of his body?
In the article “Is Heaven Where You Thought It Was?” (July 2005), Gerald Colvin said that “the apostle Paul gave us a direction for reaching the third heaven—up! He apparently saw the third heaven in a vision, because he wrote, ‘I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.’ ” Dr. Colvin then said, “It’s interesting to note that 14 years earlier, Paul had been stoned at Lystra and left for dead, but he miraculously revived, as related by physician Luke.”
I didn’t know that Signs gave credence to near death experiences as being a genuine depiction of Bible truth.
Carolyn Hammond, email
Editor’s response: In 2 Corinthians 12:2 Paul said God gave him a view of heaven that was so real he couldn’t tell whether he was there physically or in a vision. Dr. Colvin said that Paul “apparently saw the third heaven in a vision.” A vision is not the same thing as an out-of-body experience.
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