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For the past few lessons, we’ve looked at biblical womanhood in the family – our roles as daughters, wives, and mothers. Today, we’re rounding out this portion of the study by examining the unique and honorable biblical role of the single woman. Next week, we’ll begin looking at biblical womanhood in the church setting.
(For the purposes of this lesson, we are simply looking at how a woman who is not currently married – regardless of how she came to be unmarried (never married, divorced, widowed) – can honor God in her daily life as an unmarried woman. We will not be delving into the various biblical/unbiblical aspects of divorce, whether or not never married women want to get married, whether widows today should remarry, etc. Those sorts of things are beyond the scope of this lesson and can be dealt with elsewhere.)
Questions to Consider
1. Briefly review Lesson 11, question 1 (link above). What were some of the character traits you listed from Proverbs 31 that should be traits of a godly woman regardless of her marital status? Today, we’ll be taking a look at some other qualities of godly single women and God’s instructions to them.
2. Examine the Luke 20 passage. Is marriage a temporal (earthly) state or an eternal (Heavenly) state? What will be the marital status of everyone in Heaven? How does the temporality of marriage demonstrate that being married and being single are simply two different avenues for serving Christ during our earthly lives?
3. Examine the Isaiah, Matthew, and Galatians passages together. Which two groups of people does the Isaiah passage talk about? (3) What was a eunuch? Go to the Matthew passage. In what three ways does verse 12 say that people can become eunuchs? How could the phrase “made eunuchs by men” apply to someone who is involuntarily single (wants to marry but hasn’t had the opportunity)? What does the phrase “made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” mean?
How would the people Isaiah was addressing have understood the term “foreigner“? (3)
Think about the supreme importance Israel placed on marriage and offspring, and the importance they (should have) placed on separating themselves from pagan people from foreign nations. What would the social status of eunuchs and foreigners have been in the eyes of the average Israelite? What word does verse 8 use to describe them?
Yet, how does God view eunuchs and foreigners who love Him and are faithful to Him? (3-8) Does He judge them by their nationality or marital status? Is there a “back of the bus” section of the Kingdom for foreigners? (3a) Are eunuchs worthless to God because they have not married and borne children? (3b) What promises and comforts does God give these “outcasts”? (4-7) What is their worth in God’s eyes?
Galatians 3:28 is sometimes described with the phrase, “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” Explain how this applies to salvation and membership in the Body with regard to the concept “there is neither single nor married”.
Unmarried church members sometimes lament that they are treated as second class citizens by their church families. How should these three passages inform the way married church members value, love, fellowship with, and include unmarried church family members? How should these passages inform the way single church members participate in the church body and reach out to and bond with brothers and sisters who are married?
4. Study the 1 Corinthians passages. Was Paul married or single at this point? (7-8) What is his preference regarding Christians marrying, assuming they can faithfully carry it out? (7-8) What word does Paul use to describe both marriage and singlehood? (7) Is this a positive word or a negative word? List some ways marriage and singlehood can both be good gifts when harnessed for the glory of God.
In your own words, what does verse 9 mean? What is the implicit instruction to single people about sex in this verse?
Look at 32-40. What are some of the reasons Paul’s preference (7-8) is for Christians to remain unmarried? What are some of the ways married people could be distracted from serving Christ? What are some ways single people could be distracted from serving Christ? (9, 36-37) List some ways you can, whether married or single, have an “undivided devotion to the Lord” and be “anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit.”
5. Study the 1 Timothy passage. Strictly in its immediate context, what is this passage about? What are the responsibilities of the church toward elderly widows? Toward young widows? What is the responsibility of the widow’s family to care for her (4,8,16)?
Now let’s take a broader view of this passage and examine it strictly for the godly and ungodly character traits and behaviors it describes. Make a list of the godly character traits and behaviors of a widow. Make a list of the ungodly character traits and behaviors of a widow. A widow is, fundamentally, a woman who does not currently have a husband. Could these character traits and behaviors apply to non-widowed unmarried women? What can you learn from this passage about pleasing God in your life as a single woman? What is the church’s responsibility toward single women? What is the single woman’s family’s responsibility toward her? What is her responsibility toward her family?
If you’d like to discuss this lesson with other women who are participating in the study, join our Imperishable Beauty Bible Study Discussion Group on Facebook.
Consider the relationship between singles and marrieds in your church. Brainstorm some ways you as a single woman could reach out to, fellowship with, and disciple married women in your church. (Married women- vice versa.) This week, pray about, (and, if necessary, talk to your pastor/elders about) how you could put one of these ideas into practice.
Suggested Memory Verse
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.