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Singleness and Scripture

Singleness and Scripture

What the Bible really says about those who aren't married
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I had the privilege of speaking at a church last Mother's Day. I felt privileged, because any time I'm able to talk about Jesus is a treat. But I also felt uncomfortable, because I'm over 40, single, and childless. Mother's Day is a celebration earmarked for minivan–driving women with a gaggle of children—not women like me. The day's meant for women who woke up to a lovely breakfast prepared by a doting husband—not women who woke up alone at the Fairfield Inn. The holiday's for women whose adorable children made clay handprints engraved with "I love you, Mom," in Sunday school—not women whose only Creative Memories' subjects are pets. To say I felt a little out of place is an understatement.

Although being single in America no longer is atypical (the latest U.S. census reveals more single/ divorced/widowed women than married ones), in the Christian subculture, singleness often seems an anomaly. I can't count how many times church people have awkwardly asked me, "Do you have any children?" or "Where's your husband?" My favorite answer is, "My future husband's lost and won't stop to ask for directions." The quip usually prompts giggles and diverts attention from my lackluster dating life.

Sometimes I wonder if myths about Christians and singleness contribute to making women without a diamond ring on their left hand feel like misfits. Let's look at some of the faulty theology surrounding singleness, and get the Bible's actual take on the subject.

Myth #1: Since the Bible says God is our husband (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14), an earthly spouse isn't really necessary.

Well, let's not cancel the eHarmony membership quite yet. The Hebrew word for husband refers more to God as someone who rules over his people than to someone who does the heavy lifting and leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor.

While Scripture often uses marriage as a metaphor to describe our relationship with God, this spiritual reality doesn't negate most women's desire for a flesh–and–blood husband. It also behooves us to remember God designed marriage at the beginning of human history, when he created Eve for Adam. Marriage isn't a consolation prize meant for people who don't "have the goods" to go it alone.

Myth #2: Since, according to the apostle Paul, singleness is a desirable gift (1 Corinthians 7), spiritually mature single Christian women should fully—and joyfully—embrace it.

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Related Topics:Bible; Singleness; Truth

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September 12, 2014  12:30pm

I just came across this wonderful article today. It is so on point. Thank you! Like so many others who have posted here, I have never been married, grown disenchanted with the dating scene and no children (birthed or otherwise). At 57, soon to be 58, this has not been the easiest, especially when the sun slips behind the moon and those cool still nights cause me to wonder what lurks in the dark. Of course, it is at these times that I remember the greater Light which for me is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I call His name often during those times, imagine and believe the nearness of His presence or that of a guardian angel and I am at peace and comforted. Now, if I were married . . . uhmmm. Seriously, while I am yet among the living, I know there's a man from God for me. When God sees my (true) readiness, everything will come together as it should.

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May 29, 2014  5:03pm

It is also a myth that men and women can only relate to each other as husband and wife. As a single woman - never married no children - I love having brothers and sisters in Christ where we honour each other as such. Sometimes, other Christians think there must be something sexual in every interaction between a man and a woman - the Bible never teaches this. Instead, this is wordly/Freudian thinking which has no place in scripture.

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September 24, 2013  10:21am

Let me add: "Compete with their husbands" should have been worded "perceived as a threat to their husband's attention."

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