What does the Bible say about Interracial Marriage

This post is from a bi-weekly newspaper column titled, "What does the Bible say about…?" This column is an opportunity to anonymously ask a local pastor any Biblical, theological, practical or counseling question you desire. He will answer your question from a Biblical Worldview. His aim is to strengthen and encourage God’s people and to give clear answers to questions from genuine seekers.

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Question: What does the Bible say about Interracial Marriage?

Answer:  The quick and very simple answer is -- nowhere in the Bible does God prohibit interracial marriage. In other words, God-worshippers in all places and in all ages have always had Scriptural support to marry whomever they wish -- as long as that person is a “true” worshipper of the Living God (1 Corinthians 7:39, “…to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord”). So then, for a believer to marry an unbeliever is more than a trivial matter, it is evil before the living God (Ezra 9:1-4). May Christ’s church return to this truth and heed this warning!

However, we must dig deeper into God’s Word to properly address your question. Another important New Testament Scripture that we must consider is 2 Corinthians 6:14-15:  “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?”  Sadly, many Christians misunderstand this passage and believe that it supports the cultural prohibition of interracial marriage. But Paul’s point is that a believer should never be in an intimate relationship or business partnership with an unbeliever.  Surely, at a very minimum this applies to a marriage union. Therefore, the application for answering our question is that when both parties are believers in Jesus Christ, interracial marriage is not wrong.

In the Old Testament, we have two crucial passages that agree with the points made by Paul above: (1) Deuteronomy 7:3-4, where the Israelites are told not to intermarry with the pagan inhabitants of the land of Canaan BECAUSE “… they will turn away your sons from following Me, to serve other gods....” (2) Numbers 12:1-15 -- here Aaron and Miriam were punished for criticizing Moses’ interracial marriage to a Cushite woman.  Though God’s main point in judging Moses’ siblings is because they were not honoring Moses by attempting to usurp his authority, it is clear that God affirmed what Moses had done in choosing a new wife  from ancient Ethiopia (Cush; cf. Numbers 36:3-9). She was probably with the Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:37-38, 48). Do you remember the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-39? There are Ethiopian Jews in Israel even to this day.

Does this sufficiently settle our question? Not yet. Even though interracial marriage is not wrong before God, a Christian couple contemplating such a marriage must still carefully and prayerfully consider what their relationship may need to endure.  Skin color is not the culprit nearly so much as the cultural difference.  In choosing to marry someone from another race, chances are, in addition to the common pressure of learning to live with how the opposite sex thinks (shocking to some), and the fact that being raised by different parents with various values can add difficulty to what would otherwise be simple decisions, you must know that the cultural differences can cause additional trials when two sinners say “I do.” However, such trials could also add positive “spice” to their new life together! And if the culture/race difference is from two different countries of origin, then one person will be completely relocated away from everything that is familiar.  The cost must be considered as to the impact on extended family relationships, their children’s future, and the society in which they will live. Interracial marriage may pose significant hurdles -- like others accepting their marriage and their children.  All of these considerations should not be looked upon as forming barriers so much as underscoring the importance of loving Christ more than one another, and faithfully attending a spiritually mature church in which to worship the Lord Jesus Christ -- a family that will nurture the young lovers by Biblical precept and example.

Beloved, prejudice of any sort is disgusting in the eyes of the Lord (James 2:1-10). However, when God’s people are focused on testifying to His grace each day (Acts 20:24), and worshiping Him in Spirit and truth (John 4:23-24; Philippians 3:3), they love their inheritance in Christ.  “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11; see also Galatians 3:27-29).                                                                                 

Thank you for your question! 

REMEMBER: This column is an opportunity to anonymously ask a local pastor any Biblical, theological, practical or counseling question you desire. He will answer your question from a Biblical Worldview. His aim is to strengthen and encourage God’s people and to give clear answers to questions from genuine seekers. So, please feel free to send your anonymous questions to either one of the addresses below:

pastorjerry@audubonchurch.org    or Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, PO Box 8055, Laurel, MS 39441-8000

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published this page in Blogs - Pastor Jerry 2012-07-23 09:27:00 -0500