We have such little information given to us about the Apostle Paul’s family in God’s Word. We know that he and his father were of the sect of the Pharisees. In Acts 23:6, Paul said, “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee…” We know the Jewish tribe he was born into. In Philippians 3:5, he said he was, “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee.” Acts 22:3 tells us that Paul was “born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia.”

Paul’s given name was not Paul. His parents had named him Saul. Acts 13:9 says, “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.” This is the first time we are told that his name had been changed to Paul. ‘Saul’ means ‘large’. Perhaps his parents named him Saul because they considered him to be large in their eyes and hoped he would become large in the eyes of the world. Paul, however, means ‘small’. Paul was ‘freeborn’, which means that although he was a Jew, he was a Roman citizen. Because he was born free, it is most likely that his parents paid for that privilege. Acts 22:27-28 says, “Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.” Perhaps Paul’s family was wealthy enough to purchase citizenship for their son.

Once, while being held captive in Jerusalem, there were over 40 Jewish men who vowed not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. They conspired with the chief priests and elders to have Paul brought out of the prison. Then they would kill him. We read in Acts 23:16, “And when PAUL’S SISTER’S SON heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.” With that information, Paul was able to alert the chief captain and his life was saved. We see from this that Paul had a sister, and he had a nephew. However, nothing is ever said about either one again.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 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.” For the sake of the ministry and all the hardships that it caused him, it appears that Paul remained unmarried. There is no mention at all of a wife or children for Paul. He certainly had a right to marry as he said in 1 Corinthians 9:5, “Have we not power (the right) to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?”

Other than these few references, we know little about Paul’s family. We do not have any indication of any brothers, and know of only one sister that he had. Rather than speaking much about Paul’s family, the Bible tells us much more about him as a servant and Apostle of the Lord and of the wonderful message of Christ that he gave to the world.

In closing, I will quote a few of the last words that Paul gave to us. May we be obedient to this Word of God and serve Him faithfully. 2 Timothy 4:2-8 says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (229.6)