Book Review: They Were Single Too

They Were Single Too:  Eight Biblical Role Models, by David M. Hoffeditz

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tours.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

I have mixed feelings about this book, as is often the case when I read books like this one [1].  On the one hand, I am absolutely sure that these books are being written to me, as a single man but a committed believer.  On the other hand, though, I don’t often like what they have to say.  In this case, we have a book that was written when the author was single originally, but revised now that he is not.  Like many books about singles, the author seems to think that his readers need to be lectured to, and even talked down to, and that is something that I tend to take rather personally.  While the author recognizes that there are a lot of legitimate gripes about the relationship between singles and organized Christianity, and I have plenty of those gripes myself about the way that single guys can be taken advantage of, the way that business serves as a way to keep loneliness at bay, and the way that it is beyond irritating to deal with continual unfounded rumors and innuendo about one’s personal life, the author contributes to a certain degree of negativity by making a lot of critical comments about singles that I found personally irritating and even offensive.

The contents of this book consist of the author discussing eight biblical role models for singlehood, either temporary or permanent, and injects a lot of personal discussion and irritating sermonizing into his discussions as well as making a lot of assumptions about people being single, which may or may not have been the case given the biblical stories he is dealing with.  Included in this book are discussions of Paul, Anna, Martha, Jeremiah, Ruth, Joseph, Nehemiah, and John The Baptist, all of whom were single for all or much of their life, at least as far as the Bible deals with them.  The people that he chooses gives the author a chance to wax eloquent about the social expectations of marriage and family in biblical times, the way that singles are often busy and are a hard group to get to work together.  If this was not enough, at times the author tries to club the reader over the head with unfriendly statistics about singles and their lack of commitment to churches from researchers like Barna.

I’m not sure whether this book’s approach was something that was consistent from the beginning, as this is a revised version and it has been recommended to me before that I read this book by another author who deals with the relationship between singles and the church.  Perhaps the author meant to be supportive and encouraging to singles, but it did not feel that way upon reading this book.  It felt as if the author was happy to be married and was trying to convince singles that it was a blessing to be single, all the while indicating implicitly that he is very happy to no longer be single.  And that is, I think, the essential problem with this book and with so many books like it.  For the most part, they are written by people who do not remain single and have a fatal contradiction at their core: they are written to encourage singles to be content with their state but are written by people who are anything but content to be single, and they are written to encourage singles to be loyal and devoted to institutions and congregations that are not often very decent and upright in their treatment of singles.  One almost thinks that the lecturing this book gives to singles ought to be given to others, especially among the churches.  Physicians, heal yourselves.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014/05/26/book-review-living-whole-without-a-better-half/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/book-review-a-match-made-in-heaven/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/01/23/book-review-i-was-blind-dating-but-now-i-see/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/11/25/book-review-singles-ministry-handbook/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity, Love & Marriage. Bookmark the permalink.

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