The Master's instructions about everyday life. (1 Corinthians 7:1-40).
In Matthew 19:11-12, Jesus said that some people are given a special calling and enabling by God to be single. If it is God’s will for you, then to be anything else would be disobedience. In fact, to want to be anything else would be disobedient. How can anyone accept contentedly that God is going to use them more in the state of singleness?
Remember everyone is single as a child.
Everyone is born single! This is no accident of creation. Creator God knows there is a value in being single and He wants every one of his children to learn what it is.
Remember you can be single and Christian
From 1 Corinthians 7 it seems that the Corinthian Christians lived in a
society that pointed the finger at anyone who was single. Such folk were
regarded as abnormal – either those who slept in a different bed every
night or those who did not have the usual sexual desires (prostitutes,
perverts or prudes). ‘Is it proper for a Christian to remain single when
people may categorise him or her as strange?’ the Corinthians wrote and asked
His answer was simple and straightforward. There is nothing wrong with
remaining single in the sight of God (v.1). Singleness is morally acceptable
in His eyes.
Singleness enables special consecration to the Lord
Verses 32-34 encourage the believer to use the time during which he or she
is single to develop a strong and vital relationship with the living God.
Married people will always have demands upon them which will be
legitimate and proper, but also limiting over priorities. A married person
will always have to consider their partner before moving in response to
God’s call. The single person, a free agent, would be able to make the
move much more quickly.
Paul doesn’t say that one is right and the other wrong. He says that both
are right for different people, or even for the same people at different
times. You must discover and do what God wants you to do.
Singleness encourages self-control
Self-control is a much neglected fruit of God’s Holy Spirit which is used
as an illustration in 1 Corinthians 7:36-38. It shows that true love is
patient and is not self-seeking. A Christian is not put off from God’s
ultimate design by following his own immediate desires.
The single Christian should seek self-control as a fruit of God’s Spirit and
as a fact of God’s calling in his life.
Singleness can bring a studied contentment to anyone who is called by God
Not everyone is called to be single. Christian marriages are one way of
ensuring that Christianity doesn’t die out! Perhaps the key verse of
chapter 7 is verse 24: ‘Each man, as responsible to God, should remain in
the situation God called him to.’ See also verses 17 and 20. To receive
God’s calling brings blessing. To rebel against God’s calling brings no end
The church in today’s world does need to look at the special groups of
single people who are within her ranks. All need to be ministered to in
the spirit of Acts 2:42-47. There are children, teenagers, single adults,
divorced people, separated people, one-parent families, widows and
widowers. All have needs which God seeks to meet through the caring of
His family on earth.
Discussion guide on ‘Living as a Single Christian’
Read 1 Corinthians 7:1-40.
1. In Matthew 19:11-12 Jesus makes it clearly acceptable for anyone
to remain single without being criticised or suspected of sexual sin.
From the earlier verses in Matthew 19, where did Jesus take His
teaching on marriage, singleness and divorce from? Why?
2. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul begins by saying singleness is acceptable and
honourable before God, verse 1. Looking through the chapter, how
many ways can singles express their commitment to God by their
singleness? Describe each of these in your own words.
See verses 1,8,15,17,20,24,26,32,34,37,38.
3. How is a single person better placed to be “concerned about the
Lord’s affairs” than a married person? See verses 32-35.
4. When an unbeliever leaves his or her Christian partner, how is that
partner now to be viewed by the Christian community? Verses 12-17.
5. How can anyone come to “settle the matter (of marriage or
singleness) in his or her own mind”? Verse 37.
6. How can a person who wants to be married accept that God wants
them to remain single?
See Romans 12:1-2;
1 Corinthians 7:37; 12:21-22, 27; 13:4-8;
2 Corinthians 12:7-10;
7. In what ways can a local church group help single Christians with
their specific needs?