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What does the Bible say about interracial dating and marriage?

Nowhere in the Bible does God prohibit interracial relationships. Period. Anyone who says differently is not doing so with any sort of biblical authority.

Some would like to use the Old Testament Law of God's command for the Israelites not to marry interracially as evidence that interracial dating or marriage is forbidden (Deuteronomy 7:3-4). But if we look at the context of this command, we find that skin color or ethnicity actually had nothing whatsoever to do with what God was saying.

At the time, only Israelites followed the One True God, and all other races around them were worshippers of idols, pagans, or heathens. Since God knew the Israelites would be led astray from their faith if they intermarried with men and women who followed other religions, He set this command to protect them from the temptation of idolatry.

As we find out later, in Judges 3:5-8, this is exactly what happened to the Israelites! They lived among and married Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and, sure enough, they began to worship idols rather than God, "practicing evil in full view of the Lord."

"Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god." —Malachi 2:11

There is no room in the Christian faith for racism.

The well-known human rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." James 2:1-10 reminds us that we should not play favorites for any reason—not race, not wealth, not social status, not anything. Loving your neighbor as yourself, regardless of skin color or ethnicity, shows godly character and glorifies God.

Besides, biblically speaking, there is only one race: the human race. We all have the common ancestry of Adam and Eve, so we are all in the same family.

Yes, it's true that sin has wormed its way into humanity, making it all too easy for some to compare ethnicities or categorize people into their little racial boxes. Some cultures or families downright forbid interracial relationships—dating, marriage, or otherwise. An interracial couple would need to be prepared for possible discrimination, ostracization, or ridicule; but their difference in ethnicity should, by no means, be a reason not to pursue a relationship. An interracial couple who responds to sinful racism in a God-honoring manner can be an amazing testimony of our equality in Christ (Romans 10:12).

The Bible only gives us ONE "no exceptions" rule about pursuing a potential spouse, and that actually circles back to that Old Testament Law given to the Israelites. Remember what happened to them when they married pagans, heathens, and idol worshippers? In the New Testament, the apostle Paul provides a similar principle that gives us clear direction: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14). Just as the Israelites were led astray from their faith when they married idol worshippers, believers in the One True God today can be led astray from their faith if they marry non-believers.

Faith in Jesus Christ—not skin color, not ethnicity, not wealth, not social standing—is the biblical standard for choosing a potential husband or wife.

Have those conversations to discover if they are born again by faith in Jesus (John 3:3-5). God does not want us to be tempted toward idolatry or compromise our convictions and morals (Matthew 26:41; James 1:12-16). While every relationship is different, Paul definitely gave us good advice when he warned against romantic relationships with unbelievers, for the twitterpated heart can make us do tricksy things we normally wouldn't do (Jeremiah 17:9).

Interracial dating or marriage is neither right nor wrong. As with any potential romantic relationship, the union should be approached with wisdom, discernment, and prayer.

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TL;DR

Nowhere in the Bible does God prohibit interracial dating or marriage. The Bible only gives us ONE "no exceptions" rule about pursuing a potential spouse: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14). God does not want us to be tempted toward idolatry or compromise our convictions and morals (Matthew 26:41; James 1:12-16), so have those conversations to discover if they've been born again through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:3-5). As with any potential romantic relationship, the union should be approached with wisdom, discernment, and prayer.

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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