Of the books that I have seen come off the press so far this year, by far the one I would recommend for all Christians is this book by Sam Allberry. This book is for single people, true, but it is also for every person who knows someone who isn’t married.
For my single friends: Sam gets us. He writes with an honesty that can only be found in someone who has walked the singleness road for as long as he has (he is in his 40s). But not only has he been single for this long, he is a pastor who desires to know and love Jesus with his whole being. In these pages, you will find that first and foremost, he calls us to follow Jesus in our singleness.
And for my married friends: if you want to know and love your single friends better, please do them a favor and read this short book.
Pastors, if you desire to better shepherd the single people in your congregations, this book is a must-read for you as well.
While I could give an extended review of this book, I think you would be better served by getting a sample of this book through 20 of my favorite quotations from 7 Myths about Singleness.
- If we balk at the idea of singleness being a gift, it is not because God has not understood us but because we have not understood him (37).
- If singleness requires a special spiritual superpower just to survive it, it must be really terrible (38).
- Thinking that singleness uniquely requires a special gift masks the extent to which marriage is also very challenging to sinners like us (40).
- Gifts (as Paul will go on to explain later in his letter to the Corinthians) are about building up the church rather than feeling a sense of individual, personal fulfillment. It is about serving others and not about feeling a special sense of peace (40).
- To call singleness itself a “threat to marriage” [John MacArthur] is to speak about it in a profoundly unbiblical way that I am sure would astonish Paul (45).
- We need to rediscover a biblical category for intimacy that has been neglected in our cultural context and sadly even in many of our churches—friendship (50).
- A friend is someone who has chosen you. The obligation is entirely self-imposed, which can make it all the sweeter (54).
- It is a gift to have someone who knows your soul, knows the best and worst about you, yet through it all is deeply committed to you (59).
- We were far away from God but have now been brought into his presence, into his very household. God has taken us in and seated us at his table. And he has done all this through the blood of Christ. He was forsaken and left out so that we could be folded in. The sign that we have received this kind of hospitality is that we offer it to others (74).
- At the end of the day, what the congregation most needs to hear is not the wisdom a pastor might have accumulated over the years as a husband or father but God’s wisdom revealed in his Word (100).
- Just as marriage by itself isn’t a qualification for gospel ministry, so also singleness by itself isn’t a hindrance (104).
- The [Genesis] account concludes with God resting on the seventh day, showing us that while we might be the climax of God’s creative work, we are not the climax of creation itself; God’s rest and satisfaction is (108).
- If at some point you find your marriage is a disappointment to you, please bear in mind that’s because it’s supposed to be. It’s not meant to fulfill you, but to point to the thing that does (114).
- If marriage shows us the shape of the gospel, singleness shows us its sufficiency (120).
- The danger is that we compare the downs of our own situation with the ups of the alternative. We singles easily look at the ups of marriage and compare them with the downs of singleness, and it is just as easy for married people to do the same in reverse (124).
- Remaining unmarried can alter how others perceive our maturity, and we feel the pain of that perception (127).
- The fact is, in all likelihood, singles need their married friends more than their married friends need them (132).
- All of us are deep waters; some of our fears go back a long way. We’re complicated creatures. We can’t always get to the bottom of our insecurities and pains (139).
- But through it all I have been increasingly preoccupied with something else—not the goodness of singleness but the goodness of God (149).
- The issue is not whether this path or that path is better, whether singleness or marriage would bring me more good. The issue is God and whether I will plunge myself into him, trusting him every day (149).