At the TGC Women’s Conference Jenny Salt did a workshop entitled “Singleness: What Does God Think?” (only audio available).
I thought it might be helpful to pull together a few resources I’m familiar with regarding singleness—for those who are struggling and for those who are looking for theological foundations to this discussion.
Carolyn McCulley, Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God with a Hope Deferred.
“This book is one of the most biblical, substantive, and helpful resources I am aware of on this topic. Carolyn gives single women a map to help them discover God’s purpose, mission, and calling for their lives. Her writing is engaging, practical, thought-provoking, and refreshingly transparent. I am confident that every woman who reads this book will be greatly blessed, challenged, and encouraged.”
—Nancy Leigh DeMoss, author, radio host, Revive Our Hearts
“Carolyn McCulley has written a remarkable book, biblically saturated and Christ-exalting. Her words are wise, encouraging, personal, and much needed. I highly recommend it.”
—Randy Alcorn, author; founder and director, Eternal Perspectives Ministries
Lydia Brownback, Fine China Is for Single Women Too
“This wonderful little book proves that fine theology obviously is for single women. Every woman who partakes of the truths served here will discover a feast of encouragement that will nourish her soul and enable her to live a life of joy and zealous service.”
—Elyse Fitzpatrick, Author of Idols of the Heart
“Though specifically written for single women, this important book will engage the entire Christian community. Lydia Brownback directs us to Scripture to clarify how we can find contentment regardless of our situation. A superb book.”
—Vesta Sproul, Ligonier Ministries
Jennifer Marshall, Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century
“Jennifer Marshall has a fresh, positive, God-centered perspective on singleness as one of the many callings we live by in the Christian life. Now and Not Yet is about much more than marital status; it is about loving and serving Jesus in the space between the way things are and the way we expect them to be. Marshall is honest about life’s struggles and open to the legitimate desire to be married during what she calls “the unexpected in-between.” What she writes is full of biblical and practical wisdom for pursuing single-minded devotion to God and finding joyful contentment in His unique plan for your life.”
—Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College
“With sensitivity and a sharp-edged knowledge of God’s Word, Jennifer Marshall reveals the sweet and satisfying answer to our deepest longings, helping us all—whether married or single—find true pleasure in God. Thank you, Jennifer, for shining so much light on an oft-troubling topic.”
—Joni Eareckson Tada, JAF International Disability Center
Barry Danylak, Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life.
John Piper’s foreword:
The greatest, wisest, most fully human person who has ever lived, never married. Jesus Christ. His greatest apostle never married, and was thankful for his singleness. Jesus himself said, that in the age to come we do not marry. And he added that the age to come had already broken into this world.
Therefore, the presence of single people in the church not only “attests the sufficiency of Christ for the reception of God’s covenantal blessings in the new covenant,” but also reminds us “that the spiritual age has already been inaugurated in Christ and awaits imminent consummation.”
When I met Barry Danylak at Tyndale House in Cambridge, England, in the summer of 2006, I was amazed at the research he was doing on a biblical theology of singleness. Not only was the scope of it unprecedented, but the theological and practical insights struck me as biblically compelling and practically urgent. I don’t know of anyone else who has ever provided the extent of biblical reflection on singleness that Barry has provided for us here.
Both marriage and singleness demand the most serious and solid biblical insight. These are realities that affect every area of our life and thought. We cannot settle for superficial pep talks. Our lives cry out for significance. And significance comes from seeing ourselves the way God sees us. Including our singleness. My guess is that virtually every single who reads this book will finish with a sense of wonder at who they are, and how little they knew about this gift and calling.
Barry is keenly aware of the progress of redemptive history and its stunning implications for the single life. Early in that history, marriage and physical children were fundamental to the blessings of the Mosaic Covenant. But they are not fundamental to the New Covenant the way they were then. And what is beautiful about the way Barry develops this historical flow is that the glory of Jesus Christ is exalted above all things.
Barry elevates but does not absolutize the calling of the single life. It’s greatness lies in this: “It is a visible reminder that the kingdom of God points to a reality which stands beyond worldly preoccupations of marriage, family, and career.” Indeed. And that greater reality is the all-satisfying, everlasting friendship of Jesus himself in the new heavens and the new earth. Marriage and singleness will be transcended, and Christ himself will make those categories obsolete in the joy of his presence. A life of joyful singleness witnesses to this.
And finally, a sermon by John Piper: