Is it Biblically Permissible for a Christian to Date or Marry an Unbeliever?

Positonal Statements

The answer is no, not if you plan to marry in the Lord. The scriptures say, not be yoked together with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). You may find each other attractive to be around initially, in the long run you will have nothing in common. Your values, morals and beliefs are different. What do you talk about? Your lives will go in two different directions.

There are those who have chosen to date and even marry unbelievers, or ones outside of their faith, and this can cause complications. When one chooses to date or marry someone without the strong convictions they have, it can complicate many aspects of their life.

Unfortunately, some Christians hope that they can convert the person he/she is dating or marrying. I do understand there are those exceptions. They often think that their spirituality is strong enough so that they can witness, or motivate the other person to convert through their patience and love. Why do they think this? Three reasons: They love the person and are emotionally blinded, they are naive, or they do not know God's Word.

It is also going against the scriptures, as 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 indicates , you should not become involved with people who do not live for god even though they say they are Christians. This may sound harsh, but something as serious as marrying an unbeliever needs to be dealt with properly and to-the-point. We are not to compromise the will of God and endanger our spiritual well-being. All we need to do is look in the Old Testament to see why God says not to marry unbelievers. This is what God said to the Israelites:

"When the Lord your God shall bring you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and shall clear away many nations from before you, the Hittites, and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger that you, 2and when the Lord your God shall deliver them before you, and you shall defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. 3Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4For they will turn your sons away form following Me to serve other gods," (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).

The reason not to marry an unbeliever is that he/she can influence you away from the Lord. Don't' be so naive to think that "you" will never fall. It happens all the time.

What if you marry outside the Lord?

If you are already married to an unbeliever then you need to love him/her as best you can, set a good example of being a Christian, and pray for you spouse's salvation. You cannot leave your spouse (unless there is physical abuse, adultery, or if you are abandoned. You need to stick it out. Seek the Lord. Your godly living can be an example of Christ even if they are never converted.

As a result of this marriage, you may have stopped going to Church like you once did, or doing bible study, etc. When one is living for the Lord and the other doesn't find it so important, arguments set in. After this you begin to do separate things, and you are no longer the close unit you were.

By getting caught up in the worldly scene, or dating someone who is not of your values and morals, it can cause you to lose focus of what is important to you.

When I was in school there was a beautiful young lady (Holly) in my school. She was raised in a strong Christian home. A tragedy happed with her mother dying of cancer. This young lady continued in the tradition of her mother for some time. Then the handsome son (Donnie) from one of the wealthier families took note of this very attractive young lady. After much attention from this young man she began to date him and eventually married him. From that time to this day, she became a socialite. She compromised the truth she know to take on the ways of the (socialite) husband. I am sure this would have brought great displeasure to her parents. To raise a child in the Christian tradition and see them influenced away from what they knew was right. This is one reason to set you standard according to God's Word.


If you marry an unbeliever and have children, how will it affect their spirituality to have the parents divided over spiritual things? IS it a help or a hindrance to their spiritual health? Obviously, it is a hindrance. One parent wants to bring the child up in a godly way and feels the child should attend church, the other feels it is not so important. One might feel the child should attend a Christian school where the other would rather not.

Unfortunately, too many people do not take into account the extremely serious situation of children and their eternal destiny. Yet, because of "love" and because they listen to their hearts over the Word of God, many people marry unbelievers anyway...and often suffer dire consequences.

When a Christian compromises and marries an unbeliever, they can never experience the fullness that marriage was intended to bring. A sincere lover of God would never be joined to an unbeliever. If the marriage does not place the bond they have will eventually turn into much frustration and discontent. Often this ends in divorce. I would like to encourage you to first seek the Lord and his righteousness. Perhaps one should quit looking for a mate and allow the Lord to bring the mate he has into your life. For further information see my policy on marriage.

Randall Runions, Pastor

317 Church Street

Po Box 161

Clifton, Tn 38425