The Case of Peter’s Wife

Whenever I think of the 12 apostles I am tempted to think of them as a rag-tag group of young guys who were just hanging around as Jesus called them to follow Him. Of course, this perception is contrary to Scripture. We know that some of them left presumably thriving careers, several as fishermen and another as a tax collector. At least one of them, Peter, was married. We know this because Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31). The only way for Peter to have a mother-in-law, was for him to have a wife.

Scripture doesn’t give us much detail about Peter’s wife. Because of his seminal role in the Early Church, I think it’s safe to presume that Peter and his household met the requirements of elders given in the epistles (I Tim. 3:2-7; Titus 1:5-9). However, the details of who Peter’s wife was, how long she lived, and what her role was in her husband’s ministry is not provided. We do know, though, quite a bit about Peter. We know that he was part of Jesus’ inner circle and traveled with him throughout Israel; we know that he denied Christ there times; we know that he was instrumental in the building of the Early Church and that as a result he, along with other church leaders, faced severe persecution. And  while how his wife responded to all of these things is not share, it’s helpful to think how I may have responded if I were her. Specifically,

1) When he came home and shared that he was abandoning his career in order to follow the Lord, what would I have said?

2) Would I conduct myself in such a way that our family would give credibility to his calling and not distract from it?

3) When he was downcast over the Lord’s death and his denial, would I have encouraged and uplifted him?

4) Would I continue to support the work that God had called him to even when it meant persecution and jail?

It’s easy to respond with an enthusiastic “yes.” After all, we have the benefit of hindsight. We can see all that God did through and in the life of Peter. However, where it gets convicting is when I stop and apply the same questions to my own relationship. Specifically am I…

1) Willing to support what God has called my spouse to even if it means great personal sacrifice?

2) Conducting myself in such a way that it gives credibility to my husband’s ministry and doesn’t distract from it?

3) Encouraging him when God’s plan are uncertain and unclear?

4) Supporting him and the work that God has called him to regardless of the costs to us or our family?

As I think about my imperfection in doing this within the comfort and convenience of the world I live in, I can not help but mentally applaud Peter’s wife. And I can’t help but think that perhaps the silence of Scripture on her response is perhaps more instructive than had it been described in detail. After all, we have no reason to believe that she was anything but loving and supportive. May the same be true and rightly assumed of our marriage.

3 comments

  1. Natalie:
    I am supposed to be writing a paper, but paused to look at facebook and then just had to find out about Peter’s wife. Never even thought about her before. Yet, I imagine that being married to Peter might be a bit like being married to an entrepreneur. Peter failed quite a bit on the road to being the rock of the church. We know the end of the picture as you said, but she didn’t. She didn’t even have the opportunity of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
    Point 4 is the hardest. We are taught in business to give sweat equity but not blood equity as we work to get stuff going. Yet, Jesus gave blood equity. I think to accomplish point 4 concerning the cost to family, one has to dwell on the God that works everything together for good for all who are called according to His purpose. It’s hard trusting part of it all.

    Maybe you should write a book about Peter’s wife 🙂 Historical fiction, but still thought provoking.

    1. What a fun idea to write a historical fiction book. I might have to ponder that. Thanks!

      I think you’re right about the trusting part. It requires having faith that the costs will be worth it because ultimately it is God who is going to use them to accomplish what He wants.

      Hope that the paper comes along great!

What do you think?