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20. Living as a single Christian

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

Paul (vs1).


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

of trouble.


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;

Galatians 5:22-25.


7. In what ways can a local church group help single Christians with

their specific needs?

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