2010 - Vol. 43
A Review of
the Storyline of Scripture
the Single Life
by Dr. Daniel A.
Singleness by Barry Danylak is a gem of a book. It not only presents
a penetrating study of the New Testament teaching on singleness, but shows
how this teaching fits the entire story line of the Bible. This is not
just a book for single people—it shows how marriage and the single life
are meant to give a complementary witness to the gospel in the modern world.
to the book states the purpose of this study: “To explore the logic and
coherency of why the Christian Scriptures affirm singleness as good in
a created world in which sexual partnerships and marriage are the pervasive
norm for human beings.” Danylak then makes two claims of primary importance.
First, that Christianity (among the monotheistic religions) is unique in
affirming that “singleness is a good thing.” Second, that the pervasiveness
of single people in the world and the church today makes it imperative
that we grasp the Bible’s positive teaching on single life—otherwise we
are missing an enormously important pastoral opportunity.
The first part
of the book (chapters 1-3) trace the Old Testament storyline from Genesis
on through the prophets. This section will probably be the most surprising
and fresh to most readers. The second part of the book (chapters 4-6) picks
up this story line and shows how it is fulfilled in Christ. Here we are
treated to a fascinating and skillful study of the two primary texts from
the New Testament on singleness, Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7.
that: “The distinctively biblical-Christian view of singleness and marriage
needs to be articulated again to an increasingly pagan wider world,” and
that this “should draw people to the positive vision the Christian Scriptures
provide for both marriage and singleness as well as for human sexuality.”
Singleness is directed primarily to Protestant Evangelical churches,
but all of us—Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox—can benefit greatly from
this excellent biblical study on singleness. We will find our own approach
to both single and married life confirmed, deepened, and challenged.
[Daniel A. Keating is professor
of theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, USA and an elder
of The Servants of the Word,
a lay missionary brotherhood of men living single for the Lord.]
Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life,
written by Barry Danylak, and published by Crossway Publishers, Wheaton,
Illinois, 256 pages, 2010.
rescues the conversation about singleness from the sphere of experiential
teaching and brings it squarely into the realm of biblical theology, where
it emerges as a legitimate reflection of the sufficiency of Christ’s redeeming
marriage and procreation were fundamental to the propogation of God’s people
in Old Testament times, the New Testament affirms singleness as a calling
for some Christians. Redeeming Singleness expounds a theology of
singleness that shows how the blessings of the covenant are now directly
mediated to believers through Christ.
Singleness offers an in-depth examination of the redemptive history
from which biblical singleness emerges. Danylak illustrates the continuity
of this affirmation of singleness by showing how the Old Testament creation
mandate and the New Testament kingdom mandate must both be understood in
light of God’s plan of redemption through spiritual rebirth in Christ.
the trend toward singleness in the church increases, the need for constructive
theological reflection likewise grows. Redeeming Singleness meets
this need, providing encouragement to those who are single or ministering
to singles and challenging believers from all walks of life to reflect
more deeply on the sufficiency of Christ.