Did Jesus remain single during his 33 years on the earth?

Question: I’ve always wondered if Jesus actually remained single during his 33 years on the earth. Can you provide any perspective on this?

Answer: It is most likely true that Jesus himself never married and was a single adult during his thirty-three years on the earth.

There have been attempts, however to deny this. William A. Phipps suggested that Jesus was married in his article written in 1968 entitled, “Did Jesus or Paul Marry.”1 This article was followed by a book entitled, Was Jesus Married, in which Phipps analyzed the question thoroughly in the context of the sexual attitudes prevalent in ancient Judaism, and the silence of the New Testament on the issue. He concluded the New Testament assumes that Jesus had a normal sex drive and lived with the sexual identity of a male, both of which were needed elements for humanness and requirements to marriage.

He went on to list ways that these bio-social qualities were indicated (in his opinion), and concluded that Jesus was married and participated in sex! He then added a statement which could have been his motivation for study, by exclaiming, “If such an opinion becomes widely endorsed it should have a beneficial effect on the Christian church and on the quality of life that western man idealizes as truly human.” 2

I cannot resist the urge to say this statement reeks of arrogance, one-sidedness, judgment, and is totally misleading and undeniably false! I have ministered to and with far too many single and single-again adults, who, like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Jesus, the apostle Paul, John the Baptist, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, not to mention Mary Magdalene, Timothy, Titus and others, were examples of godly, influential, effective people who changed the course of history as single adults! Their marital status had nothing to do with God’s accomplishments of significant ministry through them. Their singleness actually enhanced the opportunity for God to do great things in and through their lives! (I Cor. 7: 32-35) There is not a need to prove Jesus was married because of an opinion that marriage is the proof of an ideal human life. Being “complete in Him” is proof of an ideal human life! (Colossians 2:10) Thus, believing the opinion Phipps purports would not have a beneficial effect on the Christian church. His attitude is ludicrous!

“Phipps used the silence of the New Testament as a platform from which to leap from his assumptions to his conclusions.”!3 Yes, it is probable that Jesus had a normal sexual desire (he was human as well as divine!). It is also possible that Jesus could have participated in marriage if he had so desired. The fact that these possibilities existed, however, does not necessitate a conclusion that Jesus was actually married! Would a wife of Jesus have been left out of the scripture? I don’t think so! The silence of the New Testament lends more support to the claim that Jesus was single than it does to the possibility that He was married. His full, busy and effective life of ministry was probably one of the best reasons for remaining single. It is appropriately mentioned here that Paul states in I Corinthians 7: 32-35 that for ministry sake, it is better to be single than married. Jesus, by not marrying, certainly did not prescribe singleness for all of us. His example, however, certainly validates singleness as a viable and credible option.

1 Brian L. Harbour, Famous Singles Of The Bible, (Broadman Press, Nashville, 1980), p. 121.
2 Brian L. Harbour, Famous Singles Of The Bible, (Broadman Press, Nashville, 1980), p. 122.
3 Ibid.

The purpose of Assemblies of God Single Adult Ministries is to help districts, churches, pastors and leaders build spiritually-strong single and single-again adults of all ages.

Single Adult Ministries  |  CONTACT US
© 2018 The General Council of the Assemblies of God
1445 North Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802  •  Telephone: 417-862-2781
Terms of Use      Privacy Policy