06 | Joy and Tension in Singleness


1 Corinthians 7:25-40

We wrap up Part 2 of our Strong Church series with Paul's reflections on the joys, benefits, and challenges of singleness. Christianity embraces singleness as a unique and beneficial calling - Jesus was single, as was Paul - and Paul argues that it is in many ways preferable to marriage. At the same time, he's wonderfully pragmatic: singleness means celibacy, and that is no easy calling for sexual beings. In the end, we're all made for a love and intimacy with Christ that marriage and sex only hint at, and living in the anticipation of the coming fullness of that love frees us to be single or married with joy, selflessness, and contentedness.


1. Read 1 Corinthians 7:25-40. The best way to understand “the betrothed” is “those who have not married.” Paul’s clarifying for the Corinthians the benefits and pitfalls of singleness, arguing that singleness is uniquely advantageous. What benefits of singleness does he mention?

2. Considering Paul’s positive vision of singleness, why do you think marriage is so often assumed to be the ideal? To what degree does Paul agree or disagree here?

3. What are some of the biggest challenges or tensions for single people in the church and the world?

4. How can single people steward the gift of singleness well? How can married people honor and encourage them?

5. How can we as single and married people mutually encourage one another toward “undivided devotion” to the Lord (v.35)?

March 10, 2019 | Steve Hart