Apostles who left their wives to follow Jesus

How do I respond to the argument that the married apostles did evil by abandoning their families in order to follow Jesus.

Which apostles?

St Peter had a mother in-law and by extension had a wife.

While the bible does not specifically state the status of Peter’s marriage, the common view is that St. Peter’s wife had died before Jesus called him.

Given the fact that St. Peter was taking care of his mother in law, & there is no mention of his wife being present at any time, this makes more sense than the idea that Peter “left his wife” to follow Jesus.

After all, if Peter abandoned his wife, why would his wife’s mother be living with him later?

God bless,


But his wife never makes an appearance during his apostleship. There’s no evidence she was even still alive at that time.

I guess that makes sense thanks.

See Luke 18:28-29

And Peter said, “Lo, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

It would appear that some at least had left wives to follow Jesus with His approval.

How does one justify this?

You might mention that there is a tradition that St. Peter’s wife was martyred with him.

First, find a scholar who can explain what the term “left” means here.

For instance, when a man goes to serve his country overseas in the armed forces, one might say he has left his wife and children and home for the sake of freedom and will be rewarded for that sacrifice. This statement does not mean that the husband as abandoned the family, it means he has sacrificed the pleasure of being at home for a greater good.

Also, in that time, extended families lived together or close together and took care of each other. If Peter’s wife were alive, he might have left - even perhaps with her blessing, and in the care of family members. Presumably he would have visited whenever possible, so it’s not so much different than having a spouse today who travels for a living.

Great answer, thanks.

you can demand proof that they were married, that their wives were still living and that their families were still dependent on them. You can also remind them that Jesus is God, and what he demands can never, under any circumstances, be sinful. Since we know from the gospels that many holy women also followed Jesus and the apostles, took care of their basice material needs, of food clothing etc. out of their own resources, you can also demand that your friend prove wives of the apostles (if there were any) were not among that number of holy women.

Great answer, ask them to prove that their wives and families didn’t go too.

There is no evidence that I recall that any Apostles had families when they left to follow Jesus. We do know Peter was at one time Married. The Scriptures speak of his mother-in law, but never about his wife? There is no evidence that he was at the time he followed Christ.

hey everyone. i was searching google about Peter, and his wife. i came across this verse on one of the sites. I think it will add to the conversation. (its from a section where Paul talks of what rights he has, (to be supported, to take a wife, etc) but then shares how he also does not demand many things, and even worked with his hands, though he does not rightly need to, because he is serving those he is serving, and they would do well to serve him by meeting his needs, whether it be health, encouragement, money, etc.

sorry, i hope i didnt ramble too much.

1st Corinthians 9:5

5Don’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[a]?


  1. 1 Corinthians 9:5 That is, Peter


hope that helps. sounds like Peter took his wife with him, at LEAST sometimes when

Eusebius says this in The History of the Church

Clement, whose words we have just been reading, goes on from the passage I have quoted to rebut those who deprecated marriage, by listing the apostles known to have been married men. He says:

Or will they condemn even the apostles? For Peter and Philip had families, and Philip gave his daughters in marriage, while Paul himself does not hestiate in one of his epistles to address his yoke-fellow, whom he did not take round with him for fear of hindering his ministry.

While I am on the subject, I may as well quote another of Clement’s interesting stories, to be found in Book VII of his Miscellanies:

We are told that when blessed Peter saw his wife led away to death he was glad that her call had come and that she was returning home, and spoke to her in the most encouraging and comforting tones, addressing her by name: ‘My dear, remember the Lord.’ Such was the marriage of the blessed, and their consummate feeling towards their dearest.

Those quotations, relevant as they are to this section of my work, must suffice for the moment.

Can anyone that has read this book comment on this a little more?

To me it seems that Peter’s wife died after Peter started following Jesus. Because, from what I remember, Peter wasn’t a very religious man before he started following Jesus, and in this passage he seems to be very religious as he speaks to his wife.