9. Is a widow allowed to marry?




Yes, a widow can marry because the bond of marriage is dissolved by death, for Paul allows the widows to marry anyone they wish, only in the Lord. Here are the words of Paul: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). The words “if her husband be dead” are very clear and don’t allow us to state that if a widow marries she commits a sin, nor that the Church must have nothing to do with her.

It is true that Paul says: “But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgement – and I think I also have the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 7:40 – NKJV), but with these words he does not forbid the widows to marry, for he says also: “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). Therefore, since it is better to marry than to burn with passion, it is good for a widow to marry if she cannot control herself (that is, if she is not able to remain as she is).

The fact that no widow may be put on the list of widows unless she has been the wife of one man, that is to say, unless she has had but one husband (and besides this, unless she has been well reported for good works, has brought up children, has lodged strangers, has washed the saints’ feet, has relieved the afflicted and has diligently followed every good work) as Paul says to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:9), does not nullify the marriage of a widow at all, I say it again, it does not nullify her marriage; and nobody is allowed to despise her marriage. The fact is, however, that if a widow marries and his new husband also dies, even if she has all the other qualifications she must have to be put on the list of widows, she will not have the right to be put on the list of widows to be helped by the Church. This situation is like that of a believer who desires the position of a bishop: if he has two wives (for instance, he is an Arab sheikh with many wives, or a believer called by the Lord when he was already divorced and remarried), then he cannot be ordained as a bishop. However he is still a believer we must receive in Christ. Note, however, that while the widow, who is to be helped, must have been the wife of one man, the believer who desires the position of a bishop must be the husband of one wife. In other words, it is not written that he must have been the husband of one wife; for if it were so, this would mean that the position of a bishop is only for a believer who has been left a widower and has had but one wife, which would be absurd!