Singleness: What the Bible Says About Being Single

Updated on June 23, 2020
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Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

The Bible has some things to say about singleness. If you want to know what those things are, then you should search the scriptures because the Bible gives some important teachings about being single as well as about being married.

Singleness According to the Old Testament

Marriage was ordained by God, according to Genesis 2 when he presented the first woman to the first man. This does not mean that marriage is mandatory for all people. nor does it mean that marriage is God's will for everyone.

God's own son remained single, and so did Jeremiah and Paul and many others who were servants of God.

The Old Testament gives us numerous examples of godly adult singles. This should be a wake-up call for those who constantly complain about being single. God shows no partiality to those who are married, and there is no evidence today that He favors married people over single people.

Old Testament Singles

While there were plenty of Old Testament singles, Jeremiah is one that stands out because God commanded him specifically not to marry. God's plan was for Jeremiah to be a prophet among his people. That included for Jeremiah to remain single even though many of the other prophets were married.

God instructed Jeremiah, “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place” (Jeremiah 16:2). To further complicate matters, Jeremiah was also told to refrain from attending social events, such as weddings and funerals (Jeremiah 16:5-9). His life was consumed with fulfilling his prophetic role without distractions.

Jeremiah didn't have a spouse or family. He wasn't allowed to attend social functions. To top it off, he was called to a thankless and despised profession. Even so, Jeremiah displays ways to persevere. Perhaps these ways will help you as well.

  1. Jeremiah knew he was called by God for a specific purpose, and he took his calling seriously.
  2. Jeremiah wanted to please God at his own expense.
  3. The prophet trusted that God knew what was best for him.
  4. The weeping prophet saw things from God's perspective and not his own.
  5. Jeremiah focused on the eternal instead of the temporal.
  6. The major prophet kept a line of communication open with God.
  7. Jeremiah concluded that nothing is too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17).

Singleness According to the New Testament

The New Testament provides additional insight into God's views regarding singleness. Jesus taught that singleness to be a gift from God. Matthew 19:11-12 states that a person who marries is to leave his or her parents and remain married, but the person who remains single does not carry the responsibility of marriage.

Jesus is our model and a perfect example of how we should live our lives. Jesus was not married. However, that does not mean that people should not marry if it is God's will. Jesus remained single because it was God's will for Him to be single.

Paul remained single, and he gives sound advice to those dealing with their own singleness. A good view of Paul's beliefs about singleness and marriage are found in First Corinthians Chapter 7.

Stay Single According to First Corinthians 7

Paul has much to say about singleness in First Corinthians 7.

  • Singleness is a gift from God (Verse 7).
  • A married person is concerned about serving God and pleasing a spouse (Verses 26-35).
  • Celibacy brings the freedom to serve God unencumbered (Verses 32-35).
  • Unmarried persons can develop a deep relationship with God because they have fewer distractions (Verse 35).

Paul sums up the subjects about marriage, singleness, and self-control by saying, "I wish that all men were as I am. But each has his own gift from God, one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows, I say it is good for them to stay unmarried as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:7).

New Testament Singles

Mary and Martha, along with their brother Lazarus, remained single. They served God faithfully and were close and loyal friends of Jesus who also remained single.

Mary Magdalene was also a close friend of Jesus who never married.

To Marry or Not to Marry?

Since marriage and singleness are both gifts from God, then should people marry or remain single?

The Bible is quite clear about marriage and singleness. In order to fulfill one's purpose, the Bible says it is best for some not to marry. If you continue wanting to be married when God has plans for you to remain single, you will never find real peace as long are you are striving to be married. If you do happen to get married, you will never be happy. Deep inner frustrations will always be there.

People should ask God what is His will for their lives. If it does not involve marriage, then they should accept God's will. Before you say "I do" at the altar, make sure it is what God wants for you.

Reasons Not to Marry

There are many good reasons not to marry. First of all, God doesn't want everyone to marry. If you are one of those people, you should not fight against God's decision. God knows some people will have more time and will work better in the Kingdom of God if they are not married.

Some singles follow the advice of Paul who did not criticize marriage but said he wished more people would remain unmarried like he was. That way they could devote themselves completely to the ministry without the added concerns of spouse and family.

Some singles are comfortable with their lives and prefer to remain single because they can serve God better.

Reasons To Marry

God calls some people to marry and some to remain single. Marriage is not automatically better than being single. Therefore, married people should not put a burden on single people to get married. Singleness and marriage are gifts from God that people can use for the glory of God.

It is important to accept the situation that has been given to you whether it is to marry or not marry. However, there are reasons to marry.

  1. God said, "It is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). In ideal marriages, there are close companionship and mutual support. God ordained marriage, and it is for God's glory.
  2. Those who marry find favor of the Lord. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favor of the Lord” (Proverbs 18: 22).
  3. God has gifted most people to desire sexual intimacy and children, according to Malachi 2:15. God wants to expand his kingdom this way.
  4. If a person doesn't have the gift of celibacy, then he or she should marry "for it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:8).
  5. God compares his relationship to the church with marriage (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 31:32; Hosea 2:16; Ephesians 5:22-3;).
  6. Married people can avoid the sins of fornication and sexual immorality (Galatians 5:18-21)
  7. Married people have someone to witness to their life, according to Susan Sarandon in the movie Shall We Dance.

Are you single or married?

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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      3 weeks ago from Richmond, VA

      For some, being single is a personal choice. There is nothing wrong with being single if that is what makes you happy.

    • profile image


      3 weeks ago

      Hey,,, I’m 19 and I have always been single,, I’m not interested in having a relationship with someone, never was,,, I actually like being single,,,, and I wanna remain single for the rest of my life,,,, I’m not sure if this is a calling from God,,,, are if it’s just a phase,,,,, do you think it weird that I like being single and don’t have thoughts of being with a man or starting a family,,,, I’m a Christian,,, but I’ve just been wondering,,,what are your thoughts on it ,,,,, thanks in advance xoxo

    • profile image

      Karen Coote 

      5 months ago

      As a single I really cannot see that it helpful to constantly hear that singleness is a calling & that it is better than to marry. I believe a small amount of believers have this calling, yet it is constantly spoken in the context that if you are still single; it must be your calling. It is quite insulting an not the truth to singles who want to marry.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      9 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Gisela, actually the Bible says a good man is supposed to find you. Stop looking on your own and see what happens.

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      I hate being single and pray it's gods will allow me to find someone soon!!

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      Hello I would like to know and I also asked God but I haven’t got direction yet on what to do with myself since he has choosen menti be single for life? I have accepted it, it is very painful and depressing but I know he knows what mmmmm is best. I stay busy with work and other activities about 6 days a week. But I can’t shake this single/depressed cloud hanging over me. It is so funny how the good church girls end up single and depressed while everyone else has great lives. Thanks a lot God.

    • profile image

      Eileen Johnson 

      16 months ago

      I mat a man he is marry but his wife is very sick.

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      Im married but has been single for 10 yrs. I have no desire to fix the marriage. I forgave and moved on living the single life. Totally single. What does the bible say abt this situation.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks for your question, Julias. First of all, I am a Woman of God. My name is Rev. Margaret Minnicks. I gave many scriptures in the article about what the Bible says about being single. I also gave examples such as Jeremiah, Paul, and Jesus.

      I think it would help to read those scriptures. Many of them I have written out in the article. I hope that helps.

    • profile image

      Julias Mitch 

      2 years ago

      My pleasure Man of God. you know I couldn't figure out were exactly in the Bible to start and find that knowledge as I'm still a bit young to the Word in order to come out with what you gave.As for myself you dragged me far away. Once again THANK YOU.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks so much, Julias, for reading and commenting on my article about being single. Blessings to you!

    • profile image

      Julias Mitchel T 

      2 years ago

      You know this was well said what i really like the most is you were referring with the Holly Scriptures Man of God and you took your time to put it all together.As for myself I've learnt something from the knowledge you decided to share with the World. May God Bless you to strive and succeeded for Eternity promised life (John 3:16).

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Richard, thanks for reading and commenting on my article about what the Bible says about being single.

    • profile image

      Richard koipapi 

      2 years ago

      Very informative and inspiring..

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      dashingscorpio, thanks for sharing your opinion about whether to marry or not marry. You included a lot of nuggets worth reading.

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      2 years ago from Chicago

      There's nothing wrong with being married or single.

      A problem occurs when you're in one status wishing for the other.

      Ultimately I believe it comes down to free will and desire.

      God does not play cupid. I'm sure if he did the divorce rate wouldn't be close 50%. He's hands off unless he's (asked).

      Mark 11:24

      "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

      However one must also keep the following in mind James 2:17

      "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

      The "law of attraction" does not replace (the law of action).

      I've been happy single and I've been happy married. No one is ever happy (all the time) whether they're single or married. That's life! Suffering is optional. You're always where you choose to be.

      "The grass is always greener on the side you water."

      - Michele Obama

      Life is a (personal) journey

      The world may not owe you anything but (you) owe yourself the world. Do your best to have the best and let the chips fall where they may. We only get one time at bat; swing for the fences!

      Happiness has nothing to do with one's marital status. It's about living the life you want to live moment to moment and evolving.


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