Question: Who are the Lord’s brethren referred to in 1 Corinthians 9: 5?
Answer: 1 Corinthians 9: 5: “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?”
The Lord’s brethren referred to in this verse are the Apostles James and Jude, the writers of the epistles that bear their names. That the brethren of the Lord referred to in this verse are Apostles is evident from the fact that eleven Apostles as a whole are first mentioned as having the authority to be married, and then particular ones of them are singled out for special emphasis as among the most important of them, in proof of the point at issue – that St. Paul might marry, as is evident by the fact that one of the “other apostles,” Peter, under the name of Cephas, is expressly mentioned as one of the particular ones.
This passage, therefore, shows that the Apostles James and Jude are meant by the Lord’s brethren. St. Paul shows that he had the right to marry, just as the other eleven Apostles had. Then he particularizes, showing that the most influential ones among them, the Lord’s brethren – James and Jude – and Peter had this privilege. This thought would be clearer as his, if the Greek word kai, having as it does the three meanings “also,” “even” and “and” were rendered by these three words in the order given for the three occurrences of the word kai in this verse. The following translation will clarify this: “Do we not have authority to lead about a wife [who is] a sister [a believer], as also the other apostles [have], even the brethren of the Lord [James and Jude], and Cephas [Peter].” The three renderings of the word kai have been italicized.
The fact that St. Peter, one of the twelve, is here mentioned after all of the other twelve Apostles, except St. Paul, are spoken of as such, proves that the brethren of the Lord – James and Jude – were also Apostles; and also proves that St. Paul singles them and St. Peter out as the most prominent examples of the Apostles to be cited in proof of his proposition that he, an Apostle, might marry.