Bible Question:

I recently ran into a story about why Christians should not date non-Christians. Can you give me the reference to the story and maybe give me an explanation?

Bible Answer:

The answer to the question if Christians should date non-Christians lies in the primary goal of dating – finding a marriage partner.  There are a number of Bible examples that show us why one should not marry a non-Christian. There are two Old Testament examples of this biblical principle that are significant.

The Principle

Here is the first principle that is given to us in both the Old and New Testaments:

Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with [foreign sons and daughters]; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you. (NASB) Deuteronomy 7:3-4

Judah has dealt treacherously, and an 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 foriegn god. (NASB) Malachi 2:11

A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married. (NASB) Romans 7:39

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (NASB) 2 Corinthians 6:14

The principle is clear. Do not marry anyone who is not a believer.


Maybe the most significant illustration is found in Ezra 9-11. Listen to Ezra 9:1-2,

Now when these things had been completed, the princes approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands . . . those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons . . .” (NASB) Ezra 9:1-2

What follows is a struggle in the hearts of these Jewish men when they realized they had sinned against God by marrying these women. Eventually they divorced their wives. When we come to the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 7:13-16, the principle is the same; but here we are told that if we are married to an unbeliever we are not to divorce him/her unless he/she wants to be free. Can you imagine what it must be like for a non-Christian to be married to a believer? The Christian wants to read the Bible every day and the spouse does not. The Christian wants to go to church, listen to Christian music, buy Christian books, have fellowship with other Christians. The nonbeliever is surrounded by Christian influences and usually, not always, starts to object and complain.

The second illustration is from King Solomon and his 1,000 wives. This is found in 1 Kings 11:1-4,

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For it came about when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. (NASB) 1 Kings 11:3-4

This passage tells us that King Solomon had been very devoted to God. He had been a very good man. But when he was older, maybe because of constant requests and pleas from his unbelieving wives, he eventually gave in to them. He was no longer as committed to God. This situation is a reality in the lives of many, many women and men who have married unbelievers.


Since dating is the first step many use to find a future husband or wife, it is logical that a believer should only date a real Christian. Sometimes non-Christians have been known to pretend to be Christian in order to marry Christians they have been dating. A word to the wise – do not take the first step to becoming emotionally entangled.

God desires our best in marriage. The unbeliever may look great and may be wonderful, but trouble is coming down the road. It is like buying a new car. When you buy a new car it is great. But after the years have gone by, the paint starts to wear off, the upholstery is ragged and the engine needs many repairs. Eventually we buy another car unless we love antiques. But if the repairs are frequent and costly in the early years of ownership we get rid of the car early. This is like being married to an unbeliever or a spiritually stagnant Christian. When married to a spiritual, growing believer, we desire to hang on to the antique!

Suggested Links:

A Biblical Divorce
Biblical Divorce and Remarriage
What does God say about a person marrying someone who has been divorced?
If you are divorced and remarry, are you living in adultery?
Is it a sin to divorce if you profess to be a Christian?