-Should The Lord’s Servant Remain SINGLE?

Should The Lord’s Servant Remain SINGLE?

Picture FrameGod Created Marriage God instituted the marriage relationship because it is better for man to have “a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18 NIV). It is also true that “he who finds a wife ... receives favor from the Lord,” and that “a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov. 18:22; 19:14). Those who have been blessed with long, successful marriages can attest to the truth of these Scriptures. We must also remember that God used the marriage relationship to depict Christ’s relationship to the Church (Eph. 5:22-32). God thinks very highly of marriage.

Marriage Not Required
Although Scripture speaks very highly of the married state, it would be wrong to conclude that God requires the man or woman who wishes to be a “full-time servant” to be married. It is true that, when speaking of the Old Testament priest, the Lord said that “the woman he marries must be a virgin” (Lev. 21:13), but it does not say that the priest must marry. It merely says that, if he marries, his wife must be a virgin. It is also true that God, through Paul, says that “the overseer must be … the husband of but one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2). But it would be wrong to conclude that the overseer must be married. Scripture is merely saying that, if married, he must be the husband of only one wife. Polygamy was prevalent, and even tolerated for the people of God during Old Testament times, but now all the Lord’s people are to practice the monogamy which God had instituted in the beginning – one man and one woman in marriage becoming one flesh for life (Mt. 19:5; Mk. 10:6-8).

Marriage Permitted
Speaking through Paul, the Holy Spirit sets forth the right of apostles to be married. He asks, “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us” (1 Cor. 9:5). He then lists “the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas” (Peter) implying that they are married. All believers are to be full-time servants of the Lord. However, not all are to be supported financially; some are expected to support themselves. The instruction to all believers then is this: If you are married, do not seek a divorce, but if you are unmarried, do not seek a mate (1 Cor. 7:27-28).

Some Should Marry
The scriptural instruction for the unmarried is this: “If they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Cor. 7:9). God created us with a sex drive, and He does not intend that someone who has a strong sex drive be required to “burn with passion” in order to be allowed to devote full time to serving Him and being supported by the Lord’s people rather than working. Thus we read, “It is good … not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:1-2). Scripture makes it clear that each should meet the sexual needs of the other, “so that Satan will not tempt you” (1 Cor. 7:3-5). God knows that an unmet sexual desire can lead to temptation, and He does not want anyone to be so tempted (Jas. 1:13).

Why Remain Single?
The single person who wants to devote full-time to serving the Lord is advised by Paul to “stay unmarried, as I am” (1 Cor. 7:8). However, to be able to do so is actually a “gift from God” (1 Cor. 7:7). Therefore, to stay unmarried should not be demanded of the servant of the Lord.

So why remain single? Because “those who marry will face many troubles in this life” (l Cor. 7:28). Also, an unmarried man or woman is free to concern themselves only with the “Lord’s affairs” and how to please Him; whereas a married man is obligated to consider “how he can please his wife,” and a married women about “how she can please her husband” (1 Cor. 7:32-34). As a result, married servants always have divided interests. There are always time-consuming chores that have to be done to maintain a home which the single person does not have to do. Also, the single person does not have the wishes of a spouse to consider when the Lord appears to be leading him or her to move to a different location, whether it be another city or country. The Lord recognizes the sacrifice required by a married person whom He leads away from the family; He promises that “No one who has left home or wife … or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come” (Lk. 18:29-30).

Children Add Complications
A fruitful marriage can be expected to produce children, and Psalm 127:3 says they are a gift from the Lord and “a reward.” Nevertheless, children require a lot of time and energy that could go into other aspects of the Lord’s work. How often do we see a Christian family, and the Lord, disgraced by children to whom the servant-parents did not give adequate attention to these verses: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4); and “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother” (Prov. 29:15)? In addition to correction, parents are doing the Lord’s work when they bring their children up “in the training and instruction of the Lord” – and this requires much time and effort. Furthermore, the Lord wants parents to develop and maintain a continuing, close relationship with their children. He knows that this requires giving help and encouragement to them in their interests, projects and activities. It would not be the Lord’s will for a married man or woman to devote so much time to Him that the children are short-changed!

Question Answered
We began by asking, “Should the Lord’s servant remain single?” The answer is that the servant has the right to marry. However, if possible, it would be better if he or she did not marry. Why? The Apostle advises the unmarried to remain single so that they “may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:35). But married or single, our ultimate goal should be to live in obedience and devotion to Him.

By Alan H. Crosby

With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website:


1 Comment on -Should The Lord’s Servant Remain SINGLE?

  1. Augesten Paul // March 12, 2014 at 9:44 pm //

    Nice explanation 🙂 . I think so it will be better if a priest(pastor who leads a church) follow hebrews 7(Like Melchisedec).

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