There’s a song from back in the 60’s that quite possibly could have been inspired by today’s quote: Simon and Garfunkel released I Am a Rock (I Am an Island) in 1966. The song takes the defiant position that a man can be an island, in contrast to the quote “no man is an island”. It’s a song about loneliness and one way to deal with it. But is the idea that no man is an island Biblical?
“No Man is an Island Entire of Itself.” – John Donne’s Meditation no. 17 – 1624
In the Bible we do find passages that support this idea. In the Book of Hebrews we read that we should consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:24 NKJV). In the Gospel of John, Jesus teaches us that the world will know that we are His disciples by the love we show one another (John 13:34-35). From the Old Testament with the regular gatherings at the temple, through the New Testament with the saints gathering on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:2), it is clear that God has intended us to to gather and associate with fellow believers. How else could we love and serve one another unless we spend time together? That is a significant function of the Church.
I would conclude that Biblical speaking, that indeed no man is an island, and God has not intended anyone to be an island entire of itself. From an entertainment standpoint, here is a vintage black and white video from 1966 of Simon & Garfunkel performing I Am a Rock I Am and Island – talk about a throwback! Enjoy!
More about John Donne’s Meditations
John Donne was a medieval writer, lawyer and priest born January 21, 1572 in London, England. During his life he wrote sermons, satire, elegy and love poems. In 1624 he wrote his Meditation XVII (17) that contains the famous “no man is an island” quote and also another famous quote, “because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”. John Donne went on to write a total of 23 meditations before he died on March 31, 1631 at the age of 59.
For those who would like to see more of John Donne’s writings, I found a complete list of the works of John Donne here.