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Barry Danylak’s Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life (Crossway) is a significant work of biblical theology that could be transformative not only for singles, but also for the conversation about understanding singleness.

Here is Crossway’s description:

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.

Below is John Piper’s enthusiastic foreword for the volume:

The greatest, wisest, most fully human person who has ever lived, never married. Jesus Christ. His greatest apostle never married, and was thankful for his singleness. Jesus himself said, that in the age to come we do not marry. And he added that the age to come had already broken into this world.

Therefore, the presence of single people in the church not only “attests the sufficiency of Christ for the reception of God’s covenantal blessings in the new covenant,” but also reminds us “that the spiritual age has already been inaugurated in Christ and awaits imminent consummation.”

When I met Barry Danylak at Tyndale House in Cambridge, England, in the summer of 2006, I was amazed at the research he was doing on a biblical theology of singleness. Not only was the scope of it unprecedented, but the theological and practical insights struck me as biblically compelling and practically urgent. I don’t know of anyone else who has ever provided the extent of biblical reflection on singleness that Barry has provided for us here.

Both marriage and singleness demand the most serious and solid biblical insight. These are realities that affect every area of our life and thought. We cannot settle for superficial pep talks. Our lives cry out for significance. And significance comes from seeing ourselves the way God sees us. Including our singleness. My guess is that virtually every single who reads this book will finish with a sense of wonder at who they are, and how little they knew about this gift and calling.

Barry is keenly aware of the progress of redemptive history and its stunning implications for the single life. Early in that history, marriage and physical children were fundamental to the blessings of the Mosaic Covenant. But they are not fundamental to the New Covenant the way they were then. And what is beautiful about the way Barry develops this historical flow is that the glory of Jesus Christ is exalted above all things.

Barry elevates but does not absolutize the calling of the single life. It’s greatness lies in this: “It is a visible reminder that the kingdom of God points to a reality which stands beyond worldly preoccupations of marriage, family and career.” Indeed. And that greater reality is the all-satisfying, everlasting friendship of Jesus himself in the new heavens and the new earth. Marriage and singleness will be transcended, and Christ himself will make those categories obsolete in the joy of his presence. A life of joyful singleness witnesses to this.

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6 thoughts on “John Piper’s Foreword to Redeeming Singleness

  1. Mike Garner says:

    I’m not sure that he can make the statement that the greatest apostle never married, but otherwise I think that this is a good forward of what looks to be a good book.

  2. MarkO says:

    greatest apostle never married. i assume Pastor Piper is referring to Paul. Can we make an absolute statement like that?

  3. Justin Taylor says:

    I agree this could have been worded more tightly.

  4. Tom says:

    despite being married myself, I would be quite keen to check out this book. Frankly speaking I am happy to read anything that John Piper recommends. His work is exceptional and I would trust his judgement easily as much as I would trust my own!

    I found this video of Piper, that to my mind at least demonstrates why his opinion should be as well respected as it is…

    As you can see, I liked it so much I put it on my website – well worth watching…

  5. James Seward says:

    Barry was in the singles ministry I pastored and taught me a great deal. Here is a man who lives what he writes; who loves the Word deeply; and who needs to be heard. Get the book!

  6. This looks like a great book, but I’ve never been satisfied with Jesus as the great example of singleness.

    Jesus will not be single forever. Furthermore, we as the church will be married for eternity to our great, all-satisfying Spouse. Jesus came to win an everlasting, beautiful bride for Himself. I love Jonathan Edwards on this:

    “The end [goal] of the creation of God was to provide a spouse for His Son Jesus Christ that might enjoy Him and on whom He might pour forth His love. And the end of all things in providence are to make way for the exceeding expressions of Christ’s love to His spouse and for her exceeding close and intimate union with, and high and glorious enjoyment of Him and to bring this to pass. And therefore the last thing and the issue of all things is the marriage of the Lamb. And the wedding day is the last day, the day of judgment, or rather that will be the beginning of it. The wedding feast is eternal; and the love and joys, the songs, entertainments and glories of the wedding never will be ended. It will be an everlasting wedding day.”

    Jonathan Edwards, “Miscellany #702″ in “The Miscellanies”: Entries Nos. 501-832 in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 18, ed. Ava Chamberlain (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 298.

    That will preach!

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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