Is singleness really a gift according to the Bible? What does the Bible say about the benefits of being single? And what advantages are there to biblical singleness?
While not all Christian singles enjoy the experience of singleness, the Bible does say that there are benefits to being single. I’ve talked a lot about the fact that it is not a sin to be discontent “with” singleness as long as you are still content “in” singleness because you are rejoicing in the Lord. I mention that because I do not believe you must be happy about singleness to benefit from singleness.
These 5 gifts of singleness are not me saying that everyone who is single must never seek to be married. However, everyone, whether you want to be single forever or if you want to be married as soon as possible, should take advantage of the biblical benefits of singleness while they have the opportunity to do so. There are unique gifts in adult Christian singleness that cannot be experienced at any other point in life.
- The Bible Says Singleness Is a Gift Because It Gives You a Greater Opportunity to Focus on God
The most in-depth Bible passage on singleness is 1 Corinthians 7. If you are not careful, you might even read that Bible passage and believe that singleness is better for all people at all times in life. That is not Paul’s point.
The point in 1 Corinthians 7 is that singleness in a vacuum is better than marriage in a vacuum. When you introduce individuals with unique variables to the equation, however, the Bible does not say that singleness is better than marriage for all people. Singleness or marriage are both gifts (1 Corinthians 7:7) and one should choose to pursue either lifestyle based upon which one will help a person glorify and serve God more.
But what is the advantage that singleness provides over marriage when there are not individual, personal variables in the equation? Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 that biblical singleness is a gift because it provides an opportunity to focus on God in a direct way free from common distractions:
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But 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. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”
So whether you wish you were married or not, while you are single you can use this season as a gift. It can be a gift when you use your singleness as an opportunity to focus on God and pursue him without other distractions. In fact, to the married, Paul says that they too should live as they were single, “From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none” (1 Corinthians 7:29).
Does Paul mean men should abandon their wives and not take care of their family responsibilities? Of course not! He’s saying that the benefit of singleness is that one can have an undivided focus on pleasing God. In this way, the married should emulate the single by not allowing their marriages to distract them from God. In their hearts, they should seek to have an undivided focus on pleasing God just as a single person should.
So the gift of biblical singleness is that it provides practical advantages to the spiritual goal of all Christians – which is to be completely consumed with pleasing God in all things.
- Biblical Singleness Is a Gift Because If You Are Single, You Are Not in a Terrible Marriage
It’s not wrong to want to be married. However, one often overlooked gift of biblical singleness is that it protects you from being in a terrible, unbiblical marriage. While many Christian singles wish they were married, I think one way they might be able to appreciate their singleness more is by realizing how unhappy they could be if they were trapped in a dysfunctional marriage.
Again, I don’t want to minimize the pain one can feel who wishes they were married, but Christian singles would do well to realize that marriage itself is really not the desire of their hearts. A healthy, enjoyable marriage is really what they want. So if they are single, it means they are not in an unhealthy, hurtful relationship. And this is a gift from God. The Bible says it is better to be single than it is to marry someone who is not following the Lord. I believe this is partly the point of what Jesus said in Matthew 19:7-12:
They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
Or for example, in Proverbs 21:9 states, “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” In other words, be careful who you marry! It is better to be single than to marry someone who does not love God.
- Biblical Singleness Is a Gift That Can Teach You How to Be Content in Christ Even When Life Is Not How You Want It to Be
Singleness is not a trial for every Christian. For some Christian single adults who want to be married, singleness can be a trial to go through. The Bible says that trials are actually our opportunity to grow in Christ. James 1:2-4 explains:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
If biblical singleness is a trial for you, it can also be a gift if you allow God to use it to shape you positively. If you allow yourself to grow bitter, this trial can have a negative impact. Like all difficulties in life, you have to choose how you will allow it to shape you.
- Biblical Singleness Is a Gift that Can Be Used to Increase the Other Relationships in Your Life
One common temptation that Christians fall into once they start dating is that they begin to ignore all the other people in their lives. As Christians, God has desired us to need more people in our lives than just one man or one woman. When we start isolating ourselves with one person, we are often doing this because we have made him or her our god. We think all we need is this one person; then we offer our allegiance, time, and all of our energy only to this one person. This is not good.
When you are single, you have the opportunity to go even deeper in the other important relationships in your life. You can focus on becoming a great friend, a great sibling, a great son or daughter, or a great servant in an area of ministry. While there still might be an ache in your heart if you want to be married, don’t allow this void to cause you to have voids in other areas of your heart. God might not be giving you a marriage right now, but he can give you other relationships as gift too:
Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” (Psalm 68:4-6)
Of course Christians who are dating or married should also seek to have other healthy relationships too, but biblical singleness is a gift because it provides a special opportunity for singles to develop a well-balanced social life that can be a support system for years to come, including in a future season of marriage.
- Biblical Singleness Is a Gift Because It Can Be Used to Increase Your Favor with God
There are many more biblical blessings to singleness. Perhaps one of the best gifts that singleness can offer is that it provides an opportunity for Christians to increase their favor with God as they seek to become more obedient through dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to God:
For thus says the Lord: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.’” (Isaiah 56:4-5)
As Jesus said in Matthew 19:12,3 there are different kinds of eunuchs. The point here is that those who were single and dedicated themselves fully to God have a special favor with the Lord. A married person who dedicates themselves wholeheartedly to God can have the same special favor, but it’s clear that God wants singleness to be used to fully please him.
Biblical singleness is a gift for many reasons, but when we use any season of life, including singleness, to seek God passionately, we receive the best gift of all – a deepening relationship with God.