October 2010 - Vol. 43

A Review of 

Redeeming Singleness: 
How the Storyline of Scripture 
Affirms the Single Life
by Dr. Daniel A. Keating

Redeeming 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. 

The introduction 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. 

Danylak concludes 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.” 

Redeeming 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.]

Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life, written by Barry Danylak, and published by Crossway Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 256 pages,  2010.

From publisher's catalog

Danylak 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 act.

Though 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.

Redeeming 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.

As 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. 

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