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Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life Paperback – September 1, 2010
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“Finally! I’ve been hoping and praying for a book like Redeeming Singleness for years. With insight and clarity, Danylak has presented profound biblical and theological truth that can revolutionize the church’s understanding and affirmation of singleness. This book is a gift to God’s people, and the impact could be nothing less than incredible. Read it and rejoice!”
—Steve Brown, Host, Key Life Radio Program; author, Three Free Sins: God Isn't Mad At You
“Immensely helpful! Amidst extremes of celibacy versus marriage in Christian traditions on the one hand and today’s proliferation of sexual noncommitment on the other, Danylak gives us a thorough-going biblical theology of singleness. He unfolds themes of marriage and singleness from both Old Testament and New Testament with essential, delightful applications for all of us.”
—J. Scott Horrell, Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
“Barry Danylak’s book on singleness is now the most thorough and helpful book on the subject. He treats directly the main difficulty in grasping the new covenant view—the strong Old Testament emphasis on procreation and its importance for establishing and carrying forward the old-covenant people. The change in the nature of the blessing of God for the human race that comes with the new covenant is the key new perspective for understanding Christian singleness, a perspective too often missed in discussions of singleness and voluntary celibacy in the Christian life. Danylak’s careful exegesis sustains his overarching view well.”
—Stephen B. Clark, Director of Research (retired), National Secretariat of the Cursillo Movement; author, Building Christian Communities
“Barry Danylak not only presents a deeply penetrating study of the New Testament teaching on singleness but also shows how this teaching fits the entire storyline of the Bible. Far from being a book just for single people, Redeeming Singleness demonstrates how marriage and the single life give a complementary witness to the gospel in the modern world. This is a hugely important and timely book for all Christians.”
—Daniel Keating, Associate Professor of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
“Barry Danylak's work has been a great help to me in understanding the distinctive role of singleness in God's new-covenant people. His writing provides a clear framework of biblical theology, which I found deeply valuable for drawing together the intuitions I had about the meaning of singleness. There is much that the church as a whole, and not just single people, can learn from this.”
—Lydia Jaeger, Academic Dean, Institut Biblique de Nogent-sur-Marne
“I like the way Danylak methodically and progressively turns over pieces of the biblical jigsaw and assembles them to reveal a thoughtful perspective on marriage and procreation. From the New Testament he firmly grasps the nettle of exegetically difficult passages, and with reference to the cultural influences brings a redemptive perspective to singleness for the contemporary world.”
—John D. Wilson, Missiologist and mentor (Southeast Asia), World Team
“In this long overdue review of the biblical stance on singleness, Danylak looks at the biblical attitudes with great care and manages to affirm both marriage and the gift of singleness. Working through the in-depth analysis will bear much fruit for those looking at this issue on a personal level or seeking to teach or advise on a pastoral level.”
—Jeremy Sewell, Pastor, Slough Baptist Church, Berkshire, UK
About the Author
Barry Danylak (PhD, University of Cambridge) is community pastor of single adult ministries at Centre Street Church and adjunct professor of theology at Rocky Mountain College in Calgary, Alberta. He holds graduate degrees in mathematics, Christian thought, and New Testament, and is the author of several reviews and articles. He has a passion for ministry to single adults and regularly speaks and teaches on biblical singleness.
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, A Peculiar Glory, and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.
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Top customer reviews
As a Bible student and teacher, I found the author's exegesis and analysis of Scripture enlightening and very exciting. One may be tempted to skip the first 100 pages but if you do, you may find your total experience with the text less satisfying.
Chapter 1 - Begetting from the Beginning: Procreation, Marriage, and the Blessing of God to the World
Chapter 2 - Living in the Land: Why Every Israelite Man and Woman Married
Chapter 3 - Prophetic Paradox: How Failure of a Nation Brings Blessing to the World
Chapter 4 - Good News for the Gentiles: How Abraham's Offspring Come from Jesus Alone
Chapter 5 - The King and the Kingdom: Jesus' Surprising Statements on Singleness and Family
Chapter 6 - A Charisma in Corinth: Paul's Vision of Singleness for the Church
In Chapter One, the mandate "be fruitful and multiply" and the Abrahamic covenant are the focus; procreation and offspring were essential to the covenant promises and God's blessings.
In regards to marriage and propagation, restrictive stipulations abound in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The goal of Chapter Two is "to show the critical importance of marriage and offspring in relation to these three pillars - covenant, inheritance, and name [legacy] - and show the interrelationship between them." (page 56)
Tracing the fundamental paradox of Isaiah's message, Dr. Danylak presents evidence in Chapter Three that the barren woman and the eunuch (figures of disgrace and scorn for ancient Israelites) are blessed in the outcome of the work of the suffering servant.
Thus the focal point of Chapter Four is "how the New Testament explains and develops Isaiah's paradigm shift in light of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and reflecting on some the implications that this theological paradigm shift has upon the nature of singleness, marriage, and procreation in the new covenant." (page 116)
The themes of Chapter Five are especially impressive – (1) Jesus' discussion of birth and new birth in the kingdom, (2) Jesus' tenets on singleness: eunuchs for the kingdom (Matthew 19:10 - 12) and angels in heaven (Luke 20:34 - 36) and (3) Jesus' dramatic and surprising comments on family and new family
Much of the apostle Paul's teaching about marriage and singleness is found in First Corinthians chapter 7, one of the most difficult texts in the New Testament to decipher. Danylak does a wonderful job of bringing to bear the witness of first century Greek-Roman culture, mores and philosophical thought to his analysis. I believe his conclusions at the end of Chapter Six are solid . . .
"The capability to remain single is thus to be regarded as a spiritual gift, and it is characterized by three predominate features: a life of simplicity free from the stresses of spouse and family, a life that finds sufficiently the blessings of Christ alone apart from the experiences of sexual intimacy, marital companionship, and physical family; and a life ready and free for service to the King in whatever way he should call." (page 211)
Redeeming Singleness is a biblical theology of singleness. Do not mistake it for the popular genre of Christian self-help (a nonetheless worthwhile genre as well); this book traces the theme and teachings on singleness throughout the Scriptures with well-researched scholarship clarifying each relevant passage, without adding too much in the direction of personal application. But do not think it is overly technical either; Danylak expresses his scholarly research in everyday language understandable to the common reader with language and analogies that make it an interesting read.
If the book seems too exhaustive to you in addressing all passages related to the subject, I recommend at least reading the last two chapters (of six total chapters). Those chapters especially restored my confidence in articulating the biblical gift of singleness to those who urge me to marry.