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St. Paul and Christian Tradition

By Carl S. ~

Over the span of my 80+ years on earth, I have read many historical and spiritual accounts of the life of the Apostle, St. Paul. Only recently have I read of discovered ancient writings in regards to his private, as compared to public, missionary life. Two or more writers, including a convert to Christianity himself, mention one particular revelation. Once I discovered their texts, my pre-conceptions of Paul as a noble, spiritual man, also reveal him to be even more like one of us. Paul, after all, did admit to being just another sinner.

You may or may not change your image of St. Paul even after finding out he had an ongoing sexual relationship with a girl, beginning when she was twelve years of age. Whether she bore him a child, or had a child by him aborted; a common practice in his day, is unknown. This, of course, would have had to be covered up.

Throughout periods of history, a marriage to a twelve year old girl was acceptable. It may also be said the laws prohibiting under-aged marriages are of recent invention, and therefore his relationship should not be judged by current standards. Nevertheless, this still may come as shocking to those aware of St. Paul's teachings, even though Paul himself hints at it in one of his many epistles. Consider how disadvantageous it would be for his mission if those closest to him revealed this relationship to his followers. We may rightfully suspect they thought it better if both the child and they remain silent about this, as a distraction from God's plans for mankind.

I wonder if those who preach from the pulpits or on the mega-stages of evangelical television stations are unaware of St. Paul's sexual relationship with a twelve year old girl-child. Or if they are knowingly keeping this information from us, as others did during his lifetime. I wonder.