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OPINION - Being securely single

The Revd. Eleanor Jeans, creator of the Securely Single course, explains how the Bible challenges worldly wisdom on singleness.

Read time: 6 minutes and 24 seconds

When did you last go to the cinema? What was it you saw? It’s likely that, whether it was a comedy, a thriller or even a cartoon, there was some sort of romantic interest. Or, maybe, you were fortunate and saw the rare appearance of a main character who, by the end of the film, realised that it was absolutely fine to remain single and they could be happy and content in that! Oh, for more of these films that demonstrate the reality of far more people than we are often aware of.

The culture around us speaks ‘couple-language’

The culture around us speaks ‘couple-language’, from the 2 for 1 rail cards to the ways we are encouraged through the media that we should all be in a relationship and, heaven forbid, if we are single, we MUST be unhappy!

Think about the phrase ‘other half’ for a moment. That suggests we are only whole when we are in a relationship. Yet nowhere in the bible are we told that we are half people if we are single. In fact, the bible gives us some very good role models of single people. Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, was single. And Jesus too!

The bible reminds us that God created us for relationship. Genesis 2:18 says “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God’s next step was to create woman. But that doesn’t mean he made woman to turn a half into a whole. God didn’t create half-people, he created whole people who need companionship and relationship. However, the problem is that we are often made to think that that relationship HAS to be a romantic one.

According to the Christian Organisation, Single Friendly Church, a larger proportion than you might think of the UK population is single. “UK society is changing. 40% of adults are single – and this is increasing in every age group” (1). Is that reflected in your sphere? A reminder that when we talk about those who are single, we are talking about those who have always been single, those who are widowed and those who are divorced. And singleness isn’t just limited to those in their 20s and 30s, but across every age generation with many finding themselves single ‘again’.

“UK society is changing. 40% of adults are single – and this is increasing in every age group”

So what does Christianity have to say about singleness? Here are three words which help us see different aspects of the Christian view of singleness:


Paul, who was himself single, wrote these words in a letter to the church in Philippi:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

Although these words don’t specifically talk about singleness, they can apply to any aspect of life, including singleness. But what do we mean by being content? Contentment is being at peace with what you have; not needing change in order to be satisfied.

In our world today there are many who seem to be searching for contentment. Maybe that’s you? So many of us find ourselves wanting more, wanting change, dissatisfied with something in our lives. Yet Paul learned the secret of being content in ANY situation. He experienced many difficult times, so what is that secret? The next verse says this: 'I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ Philippians 4:13

Christianity offers a way to be content because the perspective is changed. We can often see that with our perspective on things we have or want, but singleness? Can we be content in singleness? There are many Christians who believe this is possible. And that isn’t being single and sleeping around, that is being single and being celibate!

Continued below...

Christianity OPINION - Being securely single


It’s important to know that Christians will have different thoughts on this. Some Christians would have less of an issue with two people living together and having sex. Others would believe that sex is just for marriage. Most, if not all, Christians, would believe sex is a gift from God and not to be taken or treated lightly. This means that sex is for a committed, lasting relationship. And if you’re not in one of these, then Christians should be aiming for a celibate lifestyle. Even though the bible never says ‘don’t have sex outside of marriage’, it does make it pretty clear that sex inside marriage is God’s ideal. After man and woman are created in Genesis 2, we read this:

Most, if not all, Christians, would believe sex is a gift from God and not to be taken or treated lightly.

"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” Genesis 2:24.

God’s design was for a man and woman to commit to one another. This isn’t an article about sex, but it’s important to see that sex is a good gift from God and should be treated as such.

You may be reading this and thinking that it’s just not possible to live a celibate life. But there are many people who live a perfectly content and satisfied life without sex. The world around us has made us think that we cannot live without sex. But how much of that is down to the way we view it - as a right or even as a sign of maturity in some way?


Today’s world is yearning for community and not just random people around us, but real, intentional community. Many of us may spend hours staring at a screen, but deep down are we not really longing for community?

Jesus (yes, he was single), demonstrates how community makes such a difference. He had a close group of three friends (Peter, James and John) and then nine others who travelled with him. He shared everything with them. They were with him in his grief, in his anger, as he was followed by huge crowds. They walked together along the dusty roads of the Holy Land. They had community.

Community is essential for all of us, but especially so for those who are single.

Community is essential for all of us, but especially so for those who are single. It’s only in community and friendship that we can find the support and encouragement to keep going. Do you have that?

Finally, Christianity speaks into singleness by encouraging Christians to not think of their singleness as something which hinders them so that they are sitting in a waiting room, but gives them an opportunity to live life to the full with Jesus (John 10:10).

If you are single, what does Christianity say to you? It says that you are whole as you are. It says that you can learn to be content whatever your situation. It says that, in Christ you can be part of a world-wide community who can support and encourage you whatever your marital status.

It also says, look at Jesus, who was single, who led a full life, surrounded by a group of friends he did life with. And he calls those who love him his friends.

1. Single Friendly Church,