When Paul says: "Don’t become partners with those who do not believe. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, as God said: I will dwell and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. 2 Corinthians 6:14‭-‬17 CSB"

Does it mean to not be friends with unbelievers? If yes, doesn't it contradict Jesus in Mark 2 when He was eating and drinking with sinners?

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! When you have a moment, please take our tour and visit our help center to learn more about us. You may wish to choose a denomination to respond to your question. Mine, for example, teaches that "become partners" means marriage (to be unevenly yoked in marriage, differing religion being a common cause of marital strife) and therefore there is no conflict with Mark 2:17. However, other denominations may have a different point of view.
    – JBH
    Jun 4, 2018 at 20:20
  • 1
    Paul also says If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go ... I Corinthians 10:27. There is a difference between social propriety and fellowship.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 5, 2018 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


Paul means do not be in a relationship with unbelievers such as marriage, business, or other situations where there would be pressure to compromise. That is different from being friends with unbelievers with a view to win them to Christ. Jesus himself quoted the Pharisees saying in Matthew 11:19 "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners."

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