Listen:  140.1

What a good question!  The Lord Himself instituted the marriage relationship back in Genesis 2:24where He stated, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”  Is it required that all people marry?  Is it really necessary for a person to be married to fulfill his or her role in life?  Are there some who gifted to stay single and not marry?  Let’s begin looking at that by considering the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 19:9-12, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”  As the Lord spoke of the wrongness of divorce, His disciples came to the conclusion that it was probably good for man to just remain single.  The Lord replied that “All men cannot receive this saying”, which meant that it was not intended for all men to remain single. 

The Lord went on to describe three different reasons that a person might remain unmarried.  There were those who were born eunuchs, or who were born with defects rendering them incapable of performing their marital duties.  There were those who were made eunuchs.  These were men who had been castrated by others, probably servants castrated so they could be more trusted in the care of their master’s wives.  We have an example of that in the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40.  Then there were those who “made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.”  These were men, or women, who had determined to stay single in order to serve the Lord more completely.  This would, of course, be someone who was led of the Lord and could live without a mate.

The Apostle Paul, a man used greatly of the Lord, never married.  Speaking of his singleness, he wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:7, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.”  Further in that same chapter, Paul would clarify his words.  He said in 1 Corinthians 7:26, “I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.”  Because of the great persecution the Christians were enduring, it would be easier for a man to stay single.  He would not have to be constantly worrying about the safety of his family.  However, as Paul stated, “every man hath his proper gift of God.”  While some could remain single, most were predisposed for marriage.  Paul went on to say in 1 Corinthians 7:28, “But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned…” 

The Apostle Paul certainly had a right to marry.  He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:5, “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?”  He pointed out that he had this power, or right, to marry, even as some of the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord and Cephas.  Cephas, or course is Peter.  We know from Matthew 8:14that Peter was married.  That says, “And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.”  If you read this account, you’ll see how the Lord graciously healed Peter’s mother-in-law of her sickness.

So, in conclusion, we can see while most are destined for marriage, some are gifted with the ability to remain single.  Either of these are serious decisions with tremendous consequences.  May we each seek the Lord’s mind and use this “proper gift of God” to live our lives to honor Him.  (140.1)