This is a short readable and very real book by Sam Allberry. I’m a bit late to the party on this one, as it was published almost 2 years ago, but it’s a really good book on singleness whichtakes seriously the reality of the Bible and the reality of the world we live in. This isn’t a book written by a smug married person, writing down to second class single citizens, but rather a book written by someone who is committed to lifelong singleness, in light of his understanding of what the Bible teaches about sex and relationships. It is, I think, important that those of us who are married read and take seriously the state of singleness to which many find themselves situated.
The bulk of the book focuses on the seven myths alluded to in the title: Singleness is too hard, requires a special calling, means no intimacy, means no family, hinders ministry, waste your sexuality, and is easy. Sam carefully and graciously shows how each of these is a myth, even when it is a myth perpetuated by our culture or perhaps worst of all our churches. One of the big a-ha moments in this book for me was a quote from John MacArthur, which implied that singleness was the cause of a lot of problems in the church and in the world. I believe that there is an idolatry of marriage in many churches, and Sam‘s book should help married people like me understand singleness better.
This is a really readable book, with good humor, and awareness of the complexity of modern life, and deep resonance with the biblical story. It’s not hard to read, I read it in an hour and a half, and the level is about right for most Christians in the average church. This is also a deeply theological book. It’s a book that wears its authors learning lightly, but there is real depth here. That depth, however, is not divorced from practicality. For example, a helpful appendix on for ways to avoid sexual sin is something that provoked my conscience as a married man, but something to that I would hope would be of help to anyone wrestling with that aspect of life. Sam doesn’t sugarcoat the life of a single this, but he doesn’t buy in to our cultures lies and perceptions about it, or the all too common aforementioned Christian adultery of marriage. This means that, as a married reader I was occasionally quite envious of some of Sam stories of friendship, intimacy and freedom; but also sympathetic to the pain that he shares some of the time.
This is an excellent little book, and it’s one I will recommend to single friends if they ask me what I think a biblical model looks like. However, in that recommendation, I’ll also ask them what they think of the book. With particular strengths in this book being the chapters on ministry and the purpose of our sexuality, this is a book that complements other work on singleness like Kate Wharton’s excellent Single Minded. In an age where many people are single for longer, this is a book I’m glad has been published.