Gift of Singleness? You’re not Serious? -- By: Kirsten Birkett

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 05:2 (Fall 2000)
Article: Gift of Singleness? You’re not Serious?
Author: Kirsten Birkett


Gift of Singleness? You’re not Serious?

Kirsten Birkett

Lois Hagger

A Look At Paul’s Call To Singleness In 1 Corinthians 7

The Idol of Relationships

1 Corinthians 7:40 says it is better to be single than married. What statement could be more outlandish in our culture? Most Christians probably react to this with confused acceptance. “Yes, I can see it’s true in theory — and the apostle says it, so I believe it, but that’s just not my gift.”

Finding a partner is the essence, or at least the required sub-plot, of just about every sitcom, movie and popular novel. The majority of us grew up expecting to become a part of a couple. It is hard to get our minds around the idea that being single is better than being married, or even (more incredibly) that it is possible to be happier single, as 1 Corinthians 7:40 says. How could this be?

Indoctrinated as we are by our relationship and sex-worshipping culture, it can take us some time to understand the reasons behind Paul’s thinking. We have to get over our culture shock first. Nevertheless, it is a very worthwhile exercise for us to face a portion of God’s Word that may seem quite foreign to our mindset. It convicts us that what we believe may be wrong, and forces us to confront our own unwilling-ness to conform to Scripture.

Reasons to Stay Single

So why is it better to be single? The reasons are very straightforward. We live in a unique time of history, a time of crisis, as we see in verse 26: “I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.”

This time of crisis is what should shape our decisions about whether or not to marry. The Christ has come; the Kingdom of God has begun. We are just waiting on the last knife-edge of time before the world ends. Why this short delay? So that more may come to repentance, according to 2 Peter 3:9. This is why Paul urges us to remain single now.

Verse 34 tells us that as singles we can be devoted to the Lord, which is a great blessing even if our sinful hearts don’t realize it. It means we can have a mindset more like the Apostle Paul. It means time to be committed to and sharing in the work with the Lord and Creator of the universe. That is an amazing privilege.

While marriage is part of creation, and a good gift central to our humanity, we are in a time when the urgency of the situation demands that singleness be seriou...

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