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The Biblical Perspective of Singleness: A Comparison Between Singleness and Marriage

What if a Christian doesn't want to get married? Is it a sin? Is the Bible against the idea of singleness?

In Genesis chapter 3, God made man for woman, and woman for man. They were created to be each other's helpmate, and to complement each other. Then it goes, a Christian who wants to remain single is breaking one of God's commands of man and woman made for each other. Is this really true?

Singleness is viewed in a bad light. It is treated like a dangerous infectious disease. Those who are not married are looked down upon by most of the married people. They are treated as incomplete human beings - lacking the important ingredient which can/will make them to become complete human beings.

Those who have decided to remain as singles have been termed as being out of touch with the world, or reality, for that matter. Actually, singleness is shunned in every society. This has put unnecessary pressure on singles to get married despite their wanting to remain single.

From a Biblical perspective, is it a sin to be single? Is it compulsory to get married? What does the Bible say about singleness? Does it favor it, or is it against it?

We will look at three Biblical readings which will answer the above questions, and compare the two marital status.

First Scriptural Point Of View: Devotion

Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Unlike married people, singles are in a better position to be devoted to God wholly. This is because their focus won't be divided between God, and their spouse.

Apostle Paul stated in his letter to the Christians at Corinth that he wasn't dissuading them from getting married if they desired so. His aim in urging the Christians not to get married is because they'll have few distractions when it comes to serving God.

He tells them, "I am saying this to help you, not to try to keep you from marrying. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few other things as possible to distract your attention from him." (1st Corinthians 7:35 TLB).

Conclusion: Singles are at a better position to serve God because their devotion to God is wholly concentrated to Him. A married man or woman can't neglect their spouse, and focus their attention wholly to God. God places a high value on families.

Thus, "the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband." (1st Corinthians 7:33-34 ESV).

Second Scriptural Point Of View: Temptation to Sin, Sexually

Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:1-2; 8-9; 36

Apostle Paul's desire is for Christians not get married because, as noted above, they would be able to carry God's work without many hindrances brought about by being in a romantic relationship. He says, "So the person who marries does well, and the person who doesn't marry does even better." (1st Corinthians 7:38 TLB).

However, he urges the Christians to get married if they are burning with lust. If a Christian is unable to control their sexual appetite, it's better to get married than burning with lust which might lead to the Christian to commit sexual immorality, which is strongly prohibited in the Bible. Sexual immorality includes fornicating (pre-marital sex), watching pornographic materials, and masturbating.

He tells them, "But if anyone feels he ought to marry because he has trouble controlling his passions, it is all right; it is not a sin; let him marry." (1st Corinthians 7:36 TLB).

He states in the second verse of 1st Corinthians chapter 7 that's it's better to get married than falling in sexual sin. "But usually it is best to be married, each man having his own wife, and each woman having her own husband, because otherwise you might fall back into sin." (1st Corinthians 7:2).

Conclusion: Rather than burning with lust - having a strong desire to have sex with someone, anyone, or something - it's better to get married so that you can legally, in Biblical term, engage in sexual intercourse with the person you're married to.

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Even if you don't engage in any form of physical-sexual satisfaction, you'll still be committing sin. Jesus said when you lust after someone you've committed sin against your heart.

Remember, lusting, or engaging in any form of sexual satisfaction, will affect you negatively - spiritually, physically, and psychologically.

"To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion," says Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 7:8-9 (ESV).

Third Scriptural Point Of View: Extra Problems/Difficulties

Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:26-28

During Apostle Paul's time, Christians were facing difficult times at the hands of those who were against anything concerning Jesus, and Christianity. Christians were persecuted for their faith in Jesus.

In relation to the trying time Christians were undergoing, Apostle Paul's urge for the unmarried Christians not to get married was to relieve them from facing extra problems, or challenges, brought about by being in a marriage, as they stood firmly in their faith in Jesus.

He tells them, "Because of the present crisis, I think it is best to remain as you are. If you have a wife, do not seek to end the marriage. If you do not have a wife, do not seek to get married. But if you do get married, it is not a sin. And if a young woman gets married, it is not a sin. However, those who get married at this time will have more troubles, and I am trying to spare you those problems." (1st Corinthians 7:26-28 TLB).

Considering the numerous problems faced in the world, and the challenges faced by Christians as they live in a world that's becoming increasingly hostile to God, and opposed to anything related to God, married Christians find themselves facing numerous challenges as opposed to the unmarried Christians.

Conclusion: A single has fewer problems to deal with than a married Christian, whether it's related to living in a region where Christians are persecuted, or not.

Apostle Paul preferred unmarried Christians to remain unmarried as:

  1. they were in a better position to serve God wholeheartedly - their attention or interest isn't divided between God and their spouse; and
  2. they would face fewer problems, or challenges, as they wouldn't have added problems to deal with which are brought about by marriages.

However, he encouraged Christians to get married,

  1. If they're unable to control their sexual urges, or they felt the need to be sexually satisfied, or were battling with sexual desires/thoughts;
  2. If they felt the need to. This goes back to the second chapter of Genesis whereby Eve was created only to be a helpmate to Adam, but also to complement him.

NOTE: An unmarried Christian may desire to remain single but struggles with sexual thoughts. In such an instance, the Christian should seek the counsel or assistance from their local pastor, or a Christian counselor, on how to get over sexual feelings. There are helpful online articles and videos that teach single Christians how to overcome sexual urges. You might be demonically oppressed in this area, or under the bondage of lust, if you can't get over sexual thoughts or engaging in any of sexual immorality activities.

The conclusion of the matter: It doesn't matter in the Kingdom of God whether you're married or unmarried. It's a gift to marry, and it's also a gift to remain single. Both require grace. The Bible states that God fulfils the desires of our hearts. If it's your desire to get married, God will bring it into fruition, and if you intend to remain single, God will help you to stind firm in your faith as you stay true to Him.

“I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the gift of a husband or wife, and others he gives the gift of being able to stay happily married," Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Christians at Corinth.

Got Questions Ministries summarizes well on this subject: "Singleness should not be viewed as a curse or an indication that there is “something wrong” with the single man or woman. While most people marry, a single Christian is in no sense a “second class” Christian. As 1 Corinthians 7 indicates, singleness is, if anything, a higher calling.” Furthermore, it is stated: “Following God’s plan, whether that be marriage or singleness, will result in the productivity and joy that God desires for us.”

Your Take

Apostle Paul preferred unmarried Christians to remain unmarried as:

  1. they were in a better position to serve God wholeheartedly - their attention or interest wasn't divided between God and their spouse; and
  2. they would face fewer problems, or challenges, as they wouldn't have added problems to deal with which occur, or tend to spring up in, marriages.

However, he encouraged Christians to get married,

  1. if they're unable to control their sexual urges, or they felt the need to be sexually satisfied, or were battling with sexual desires/thoughts; and/or
  2. if they felt the need to. This goes back to the second chapter of Genesis whereby Eve was created to complement Adam, as a companion. People get married to complement each other, or because we desire to have a lifetime companion - whom we can live together with, or share our life with.

NOTE: An unmarried Christian may desire to remain single but struggles with sexual thoughts. In such an instance, the Christian should seek the counsel or assistance of their local pastor, or a Christian counselor, on how to get over sexual feelings. There are effective online articles and videos that teach single Christians how to overcome sexual urges. You might be demonically oppressed in this area, or under the bondage of lust, if you can't get over sexual thoughts or engaging in any of sexual immorality activities.

The conclusion of the matter it doesn't matter in the Kingdom of God whether you're married or unmarried. It's a gift to marry, and it's also a gift to be single. Both require grace. The Bible states that God fulfils the desires of our hearts. If it's your desire to get married, God will bring it into fruition, and if you intend to remain single, God will help you to stind firm in your faith as you stay true to Him.

“I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the gift of a husband or wife, and others he gives the gift of being able to stay happily married," Apostle Paul says in 1st Corinthians 7:7 (TLB).

Ask the Lord if it's His desire for you to get married. God sees our hearts. He knows our longing. He'll reveal to you whether it is His will for you to get married, or not. And if you desire for a companion, but aren't yet married, enquire of the Lord why you haven't gotten your lifetime partner. There is a reason why you aren't yet married.

The final conclusion

Got Questions Ministries summarizes well on this subject: "Singleness should not be viewed as a curse or an indication that there is “something wrong” with the single man or woman. While most people marry, a single Christian is in no sense a “second class” Christian. As 1 Corinthians 7 indicates, singleness is, if anything, a higher calling.” Furthermore, it is stated: “Following God’s plan, whether that be marriage or singleness, will result in the productivity and joy that God desires for us.”

© 2017 Alianess Benny Njuguna

Comments

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on November 25, 2019:

Being single is not a disease as many married people tend to think. In today's world, finding the right partner is difficult which explains why many people get married late.

You're right that some married people are wishing they're single. As you've said, timing is everything. It matters a lot. Again, it's possible to find a right partner.

tshipp from Charlotte, NC on November 24, 2019:

What an awesome message! I'm single because all the wrong ones want me. Lol. I'm in my late forties and seem to meet all the wrong guys. There are alot of good men out here but it's just the right one finding you. Some people are living their best life being single. Some people are living their worst life being married. Timing is everything.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on November 30, 2017:

@Chava, I agree with you. As a Christian single I have received looks and remarks as to why I am not married. In many churches the singles are usually left out of almost everything that goes in the church. I am in my middle-aged year. I had desired to get married but so far the relationships that I have been end in a breakup. I have learned lessons and in the current one I'm in I know it's the one. Even so if I get married or not, I won't be depressed because I love being alone (somehow single).

There are those who find themselves hitting their forties and still single and wonder why. I believe they need to ponder/reflect why they're still single and they should not give up. I read a story of a Christian lady whose relationships ended on a bad note until she found the one at the age of forty.

As you've said, God does not discriminate that's why He is Great.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on November 30, 2017:

@Thanks Bob. Some of the people who are married have decided to take the route in order to escape the temptations faced by the singles which is better than being consumed with them while still single.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on November 30, 2017:

@Kiss and Tales, thank you. It is my aim to pass the knowledge I have gained through experience and through research in order to enlighten, inspire, educate and show the facts in the subject of relationships.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on November 30, 2017:

@dashingscorpio, I agree with you, God cares less whether a person is single or married. He loves all regardless of their marital status. You are right "You will never truly be free until you stop caring what others think! Life is a (personal) journey!"

Chava on May 20, 2017:

So.. there are two choices only? Mary or stay single, but be happy!..

And what if being single up into your late 40s is not your choice? ..

You described a perfect clear and unbroken world, which is not mine and many others..

So I want to add that there are a lot of single Christians who face more difficulties and pain then many married Christians. They do not choose to burn and want to get married, but it simply doesn't come! in their life. On top of that a lot of (married) people put a mark on them: you have the gift of staying single, so there can't be a problem for you. God should satisfy you, so be thankfull and don't complain..

In this, their hurt and desire is not recognized, but ignored. They don't exist as different people, are excluded from church and fellow Christians are not coming along. Instead they are given reproach and feelings of guilt. Where is the church as family of God, in which joy and grief is shared?

Who says being (unwantedly) single is the best choice?

I'm thankful God doesn't exclude.

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on February 27, 2017:

I found your article very clear in how to view singleness versus marriage. I have been married twice and know that I am not one of those people that have the God-given gift of singleness. I totally understand the temptations you mentioned. Thank you for the information here. Bob.

Kawai from Singapore on February 27, 2017:

Thanks for the interesting summary of the Bible's point of view on being single. I agree there's nothing wrong with being single and God loves all..regardless whether we are married or not..he caters for both the married and unmarried..

Kiss andTales on February 26, 2017:

Ben you are a very good hub writer ! I have really found your hubs to be very informative in relationships. You are a good source of refrences a wonderful asset to HP.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on February 26, 2017:

God could care less about one's marital status.

He loves single people just as much as he loves married people!

Society, peer pressure, friends/family, and a competitive ego are usually the driving forces that make single people feel inadequate for being single.

You will never truly be free until you stop caring what others think!

Life is a (personal) journey!

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