Better than One
A Biblical View of Loneliness
In the beginning, God declared that it was not good for human beings to be alone. Yet the ache of loneliness is rampant in our societies, knowing no boundaries of age, sex, geography, culture, or religion.
This book offers the reader a robust theological understanding of loneliness as a multifaceted phenomenon impacting the lives of believers. It identifies five different types of loneliness – emotional, social, cultural, existential, and spiritual – and illustrates each type through well-known biblical narratives, exploring what each narrative reveals about the relational nature of God and the humans created in his likeness. Yet beyond a theological framework, this book also provides practical and effective strategies for understanding and combating loneliness in the contexts of our contemporary lives. It pays particular attention to the historic and contemporary challenges of singleness and celibacy, especially as experienced in collectivist cultures and evangelical contexts.
Chornobai and Hrytsenko aim to equip all those suffering from loneliness – as well as those walking alongside them, whether pastors, counselors, or social workers – to better understand the inner and outer factors impacting their experience and to find more effective strategies for coping and thriving.
Over the last couple of decades I have watched, with excitement and delight, the emergence of a generation of highly gifted Ukrainian evangelical theologians and reflective practitioners. This book is written from within their context and is the fruit of over a dozen years of pastoral encounters, and careful study and analysis. It places the two authors in the top rank of Ukrainian evangelical thinkers and puts us in their debt since the problem of loneliness is not one restricted to their own Slavic world.
Stephen Dray, PhD
Executive Committee Member, Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians
Baptist Minister (Retired), UK
In this modern time where constant access to others is easier than ever, loneliness is still on the rise. Better than One will equip you to analyze and understand loneliness, whether you are single or married. This in-depth study will be an eye-opener on loneliness throughout the Bible, history, and philosophy. A valuable resource for both married and single Christians in understanding loneliness and addressing it.
This book will be a deep source of understanding and comfort to the Christian in their relationship with God. It will also be of importance to anyone who has a personal or scholarly desire to widen their depth of appreciation of what it means to not just exist, but to heal and grow through loneliness.
Sally Kendall, PhD
Professor of Community Nursing and Public Health,
University of Kent, UK
This well-written and informative piece of work will prove to be a very useful tool to individuals, families, and churches for deep reflection on the different kinds of loneliness that can impact people’s lives. This feels like a very timely book in an increasingly relationally fractured age.
Revelation Church, London, UK
Better than One offers an in-depth theological and psychological study of loneliness that will be crucial in my own context of Ukraine and any other context marked by war. Valeriia Chornobai and Viktoriia Hrytsenko consider loss, suffering, and pain, as well as identity confusion, rejection, and broken relationships. Written from a Ukrainian perspective, this brilliant book equips Christians everywhere to help carry their own and others’ burdens.
Helga Marchak (Dyatlik)
Associate Regional Director,
Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Overseas Council - United World Mission
We were created in relationship, through relationship, and for relationship. However, in today’s post-COVID reality, the aftermath of isolation and its often silent companion, loneliness, have created a tsunami of consequences impacting mental, emotional, and relational health across the globe. The timely release of Better than One offers a well-researched and much needed resource on this critically important topic. Readers will find a message of biblical hope and practical help across its pages, and a pathway of discovery to greater and more meaningful connection with others.
Eric Scalise, PhD
Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer,
Hope for the Heart
Table of Contents
- Part 1: Theology of Loneliness
- 1 Five Types of Loneliness: Emotional, Social, Cultural, Existential, and Spiritual
- 2 God Is Not Lonely. Why Should We Be
- 3 Biblical Narratives of Loneliness
- Part 2: Biblical Approaches to Overcoming Loneliness
- 1 Causes and Factors of Loneliness
- 2 Effective Strategies for Overcoming Loneliness
- Part 3: Loneliness and Singleness: Slavic Christian Context
- 1 Singleness in Scripture
- 2 Singleness of Christians in The History of The Church
- 3 Singleness in the Life of Modern Christians
- Appendix: The Loneliness Inventory for Christians (LIFC)