Original Research

Marriage as a choice or duty: Considering Nigerian Christians’ attitude to singlehood from the biblical perspective

Solomon O. Ademiluka
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 55, No 1 | a2674 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v55i1.2674 | © 2021 Solomon O. Ademiluka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 September 2020 | Published: 22 April 2021

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Solomon O. Ademiluka, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, Faculty of Human Resources, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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Of recent in Nigeria, there has been a considerable increase in the rate of involuntary singlehood, particularly among women. It constitutes a major constraint for Christians because of the general perception that the Bible commands everyone to marry – the belief which they derive from Genesis 1:28 and 2:18, 24. However, most people who have this notion, hardly take cognisance of Paul’s preference for celibacy as in 1 Corinthians 7. The situation is compounded by popular Christian preaching and an attitude which favour marriage against singlehood. The result is the frantic desperation among Nigerian Christian women to get married. Against this background, this article attempted to ascertain if marriage is necessarily an obligation for Christians, and appraised Nigerian Christian single women’s desperation for marriage against the understanding of the Genesis and 1 Corinthians passages as presented in this study. As the author of this article, I did exegeses of the texts and interacted with relevant material on singlehood and its constraints, especially in relation to Nigerian women. The work found that the Genesis passages from which is derived the perception that marriage is obligatory for all, are largely misunderstood. Hence, they are not in contention with 1 Corinthians 7 which views marriage and celibacy as equal. In view of this, the article considered Nigerian Christian single women’s desperation to get married as unnecessary. For this reason, it advised the church in Nigeria to imbibe the biblical perspective of equality of marriage and singlehood, and inculcate it in its members.

Contribution: The article is a contribution in the context of the theology of marriage, and of particular relevance in Nigeria where most Christians still have the belief that marriage is a moral duty for all.


singlehood; Genesis 2:18, 24; 1 Corinthians 7; celibacy; marriage and procreation; between marriage and singlehood; Christians and marriage; Nigerian Christian single women; the church and single women.


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