Did Paul have a lady friend? 1st Corinthians, ch 9

Multicolored Lemur

New member
Nov 23, 2021
1 Corinthians 9: 4-6

4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink?

5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?

6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?


Yes, sometimes it’s more effective to challenge evangelicals on the small things. And they certainly can defend this as, Paul is just standing up for Barnabas.

Or, Paul did have a lady friend, almost a common law wife? He certainly talked about struggling with his fleshy desires.

Or, and I think this is most common, is 1st Corinthians a compilation on the general subject of church controversies, written by a number of different persons?


Agnostic, Independent (politically)
Oct 1, 2020


Welcome to the forum, Multicolored Lemur!👋

The topic asks about Paul's lady friend so I'll give my view on that first. It is a very interesting question. A lot of people also want to know if Jesus was married or if he had a lady "friend" at the least (Mary Magdalene?)🤔

Back to Paul...

For now, I think the likely answer is that Paul was not married since he boasts about not being married in 1 Corinthians 7. I haven't found any scholars that believe that Paul was married. The 1 Cor. 9:5 passage that you brought up may just be a hypothetical point. Or it could be a contradiction as well, or as you bring up it could be another author writing. The only issue with multiple writers (other than Paul) is that most scholars agree that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.
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Multicolored Lemur

New member
Nov 23, 2021

Thank you for the nice welcome. I will try to be a reasonably good citizen. :)

And hate to question most scholars, but . . .

1st Corinthians is a mess. Throughout a big chunk of this chapter 9 Paul isn’t quite saying, I do and do and do for you people and these are the thanks I get.

But he kind of is!

And then in another chapter, the author is saying women shouldn’t talk in church, and then in yet another chapter, the author is matter-of-fact and accepting of women preaching and prophesizing.

And then I thought the gospels were maybe single author, but pulling from multiple sources — that is, more of an editor.

And then, Paul is the prestige name.


But I’m by no means an expert.

Multicolored Lemur

New member
Nov 23, 2021
1 Corinthians 11: 4-6

4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.

5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved.

6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.



Besides really obsessing about men having their head uncovered and women having their head covered, this verse is very accepting of women praying or prophesying.

Presumably out loud in a public setting for the benefit of fellow Christians.