Is interracial marriage wrong?

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By BibleAsk Team


The question of whether interracial marriage is wrong according to the Bible is a topic that has sparked discussion among Christians for centuries. To explore this question thoroughly, we’ll examine relevant biblical principles, consider historical and cultural contexts drawing upon relevant references from the Word of God.

Biblical Principles Regarding Marriage:

The Bible presents several key principles regarding marriage that provide a foundation for understanding the broader context of this discussion.

a. God’s Design for Marriage: From the creation account in Genesis, we learn that God designed marriage to be a sacred covenant between one man and one woman, reflecting the image of God and the unity of humanity.

  • Genesis 2:24 (NKJV): “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This verse emphasizes the unity and permanence of marriage between a man and a woman.

b. Love and Respect: Throughout the Bible, husbands and wives are instructed to love and respect one another, regardless of cultural or ethnic differences.

  • Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV): “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
  • Ephesians 5:33 (NKJV): “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” These verses highlight the importance of mutual love, honor, and respect within the marriage relationship.

Old Testament Teachings:

To understand the biblical perspective on interracial marriage, it’s essential to consider the historical and cultural context in which the Scriptures were written. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were commanded to marry within their own ethnic and religious community to maintain their distinct identity and allegiance to God.

  • Deuteronomy 7:3-4 (NKJV): “Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.” These verses warn against intermarriage with the surrounding pagan nations, primarily due to the risk of compromising Israel’s devotion to God and adopting foreign religious practices.
  • The Old Testament Law commanded the Israelites not to have interracial marriage. But the reason for this was not racial but religious. God did not want His children to unite with the idolaters and worshipers of false gods.
  • King Solomon disregarded God’s command, marrying many women from the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. 1 Kings records that Solomon “clung to these in love.” Sadly, his pagan wives influenced him to worship idols and led him away from God.
  • Consequently, the Lord split the ten tribes from the rule of Solomon’s descendants, dividing the nation of Israel (1 Kings 11:1-13, 1 Kings 12:1-24).

New Testament Teachings:

In the New Testament, the focus shifts from ethnic and cultural distinctions to spiritual unity in Christ. The gospel message emphasizes the reconciliation of all people, regardless of ethnicity or cultural background, through faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Galatians 3:28 (NKJV): “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This verse highlights the spiritual equality and unity of believers in Christ, transcending racial, social, and gender distinctions.
  • James 2:1-10 (NKJV): “… If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
  • In the New Testament, we have the same instruction against uniting with unbelievers in marriage.  “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14, NKJV). Therefore, when choosing a mate, a Christian should always search for a born again believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus stressed the same truth. He said to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, NKJV).
  • The only reason interracial marriage should be considered carefully is the difficulties the couple may experience because of how others may react to them. Many interracial couples experience discrimination due to immaturity. In each situation, these outside interferences have to be carefully examined and evaluated before the couple should decide to marry.

Contemporary Application:

In contemporary society, interracial marriage is widely accepted and legally recognized in many countries. Christians who support interracial marriage often emphasize the principles of love, unity, and mutual respect found in Scripture.

a. Cultural Diversity: The global and multicultural nature of the church today reflects the diversity of God’s creation and the unity of believers in Christ. Christians celebrate the beauty of cultural diversity and recognize the potential for cross-cultural relationships to enrich their faith communities.

b. Personal Convictions: Ultimately, the question of interracial marriage is a matter of personal conviction and discernment guided by prayer, Scripture, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. While some Christians may feel called to marry within their own cultural or ethnic group, others may feel called to pursue relationships across racial or cultural boundaries.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the question of whether interracial marriage is wrong according to the Bible requires careful consideration of biblical principles. The Bible does not prohibit interracial marriage if the two candidates are of the same faith and share the same Biblical beliefs.

Ultimately, the decision to enter into an interracial marriage should be guided by prayer, discernment, and a commitment to honoring God’s design for marriage and relationships. As Christians seek to follow God’s will and live out their faith in love and obedience, they can trust in His guidance regarding questions of marriage and ethnicity with wisdom and integrity.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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