Last week on The Single Life, I shared that I had recently read a couple of blog posts on Biblical womanhood and that both posts based their definition on Titus 2:3-5. I also felt that they came across as saying that being a wife and a mother is the epitome of Biblical womanhood so I decided to do a study on Biblical womanhood and singleness.
This week we are starting with a look at 1 Corinthians 7. I suggest that you read the whole chapter before reading the rest of this post.
Some background on this chapter, Paul wrote this chapter in response to some questions that the Corinthian church had sent to him. In this chapter he speaks to the subjects of marriage and singleness.
Singleness is an Assignment
In 1 Corinthians 7:17, the Apostle Paul states that we are to each lead the life that the Lord has assigned to Him. I hadn’t caught that until I was reading a chapter of Barbara Hughes’ book Disciplines of a Godly Woman.
If you are single, you have been assigned that life from the Lord. If you are married you have been assigned that life from the Lord.
In this context, this means that we have been appointed to the duties or responsibilities of singleness. It is not a right or a privilege just as marriage is not truly a right or a privilege. There is something that God wants us to accomplish in period of singleness. There is something that God wants to accomplish in people who are married.
For some this assignment will last longer than others, but all of us have been given this assignment at some point in our lives. And some will have this assignment again if they are widowed or divorced.
Singleness is a Calling
The Apostle Paul also tells us that we are to each lead the life that we are called to live in 1 Corinthians 7:17. How many of us think of singleness or marriage as a calling?
When we are called to something, it means that we have been invited or summoned to a particular vocation. Whether we are single or married, we have been called to that state.
It is not an accident that you are single. It does not make you less of a Biblical woman.
I’m going to paraphrase Barbara Hughes: Life is about discovering where you fit into God’s plan, whether single or married.
Singleness is a Gift
In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about the “gift of singleness” and a lot of people are asking, “How do I know if I have the gift of singleness?” (And they usually mean, “How do I know if I will ever get married?”)
My answer: “If you are single, you have the gift of singleness.”
Does that mean that you will always have this gift? No, it doesn’t, but it seems like many times when we speak of “the gift of singleness” we treat it as if it is a spiritual gift, and I truly don’t believe that Paul is speaking of singleness as a spiritual gift.
I believe that he is speaking of attitude. I believe that he is saying in this chapter that we need to view both marriage and singleness as gifts. They are both something that are meant to bring good to our lives and are different ways of sanctifying us. One is not necessarily better than the other, and just like we can’t consider ourselves better than others I don’t believe that we can consider marriage or singleness better than the other. They both have benefits, and both have drawbacks. It is how we view them that make them seem good or bad.
We can choose to see singleness as a gift which allows us to live freely as singles, or we can choose to see it as a chain which enslaves us and keeps us from living the life that the Lord has for us.
Both marriage and singleness are valuable. Both are assignments from God. Both are callings from God, and both are gifts from God. They are both good, and both of them have their pros and cons, but in the end, it is our attitude and how we view them that matters.
Do we view our marital statuses through God’s lens? Or are we viewing them through the world’s lens? Do we believe that being single makes us less of a Biblical woman? Or do we believe that we can be strong Biblical women and be single at the same time?