The new testament talks of not being yoked with unbelievers -

2 Corinthians 6:14 "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers."

The old testament forbids intermarriage with other nations -

Deuteronomy 7:3 "Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons."

For modern day Christians, is there any reason where marrying a non Christian is a good idea?

  • Possible duplicate - Are inter-faith marriages prohibited by the Bible? Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 7:31
  • I think you should edit it to something else like - "What sort of problems could arise in an interfaith marriage?" A question about Biblical stance on the issue is already there. I think a discussion from a day-to-day living perspective is missing. Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 7:32
  • Does "because you love them, and he/she is a good, supportive person and friend" count as a reason? Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 8:28
  • @Monika: It is correct to mark this question as duplicate. I would not feel offended if this question was closed.
    – user1694
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 8:35
  • 2
    I can only imagine a Christian woman marrying a non-Christian guy to "fix" or "change" him. ;)
    – user1054
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 12:17

4 Answers 4


No, there are no reasons that would make this a good idea.

In the Old Testament we see an explicit prohibition on people inside God's chosen people marrying those outside of it on the grounds that it would cause them to turn away from serving their God.

Deuteronomy 7:3-4 (ESV)
You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.

We see no change brought to this concept in the New Testament, however it should be noted that the outlook on "nations" is a little different now than it used to be.

Originally, it was primarily to the nation of Israel to whom God extended the offer of grace and salvation. There were some exceptional cases where outsiders were brought into that covenant, but the marriage restrictions were indicative of the fact that national lines were also belief lines.

With the actual coming of Christ, the floodgates are opened in a new way and gentiles are grafted into the people of the promise. The national boundaries are no longer important because they do not symbolize a difference in reception of God's grace. The terminology is now to be understood in light of the spiritual family of those that have been called by God.

Marrying outside of (and becoming one with) someone outside of God's family WILL cause a rift in your fellowship with God.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)
14  Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

  • While I do not disagree, what defines a "Christian" person that is eligible for marriage? I believe the question would also work by saying, "do not marry conflicting ideologies"
    – user1054
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 12:21
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    @Dan There is lots of material in the bible that defines what makes a person Christian or not. It's not that hard to take the same doctrines we derive about salvation and use that as a starting point. On b the other hand the Bible has precious little to say in general terms as advise to people who don't recognize its basic tenants.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 15:04
  • What about denominations? Should people not marry outside of their denomination?
    – user1054
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 15:16

This is based on the comments on Caleb's answer, rather than the original question, but still somewhat applies to the original question.

I agree completely with Caleb's answer, but would add this:

Ideally, you'd want to marry someone who has the same beliefs as you, and someone who's close to where you are on the scale of spiritual vs. carnal.

I thank God every day that I did this. I have close personal friends that have a lot of stress in their households that I don't have to deal with simply because of a discrepancy between husband and wife on what they believe to be truth.

It's hard enough for, say, a Baptist to be married to a Catholic - or a Lutheran to marry a LDS member - or a Young-Earth Creationist (denomination not important) married to a Secular Humanist. There are enough doctrinal differences between some of the denominations - things that each denomination teaches/views differently - that it can be a real contention point. Arguments over how we are to live our day-to-day lives are more likely. Our actions and worldview is so intricately tied with how we see God that it's simply inevitable.

Once kids enter the picture, it's a whole new ball game. Who gets to teach the kids what? And if one spouse thinks the other is leading the kids into error, and possibly Hell, that's simply a no-win situation.

The other thing I've seen that has torn marriages apart is when one spouse is very faithful, very spiritual, and the other is more worldly. One tends to think the other is a religious nut-job, while the other things their partner is either not saved in the first place, or just not living the way he/she should. Even with the same basic doctrinal beliefs, a discrepancy in how strongly those beliefs affect day-to-day living can cause issues.

Being equally yoked is very good advice. Being unequally yoked is simply not a recipe for a harmonious home.

  • Given that everyone is on "good behavior" / projecting a perfected image of self during the dating phase; how do you actually detect signals as minute as "discrepancy over faith"?
    – user1694
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 4:57
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    It's not that hard. Religion is one of those things that, if it's important to you, you'll speak up if you think someone is wrong. It may take time, but if you don't know your partner's religious beliefs before you get married, and your faith is important to you, you rushed into it too fast. In my experience, I've never known anyone who is strong in their faith get to far into a relationship without determining where the other person stands. If neither finds out, then probably it's not too important to either, so they'd be equally yoked IMO. Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 5:02
  • I was with you right up to the last sentence. How can you claim there is no prohibition?
    – Caleb
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 10:23
  • Well, this is possibly an incorrect interpretation, and splitting hairs, but I said "commandment" not "prohibition". Even "prohibition", I think is a bit strong. 2 Corinthians 6:14 is written by Paul, who speaks the most clearly about works vs. faith, and liberty from the Law, while giving instruction for Godly living, and teaching the importance of living right. In that light, I understand the verse to be instruction, extremely wise, but not having the same weight as a Commandment. Again, my take on it could be wrong. But in light of Deuteronomy 7:3-4, perhaps I'm way wrong in that one. Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 12:17
  • Actually, you're right. Edited. Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 12:31

There's a beautiful explanation here by John Piper

Paraphrasing, the issue boils down to the following:

  • how can a Christian, who believes Christ is Lord, spend their life with someone who denies Christ is Lord?

  • this person views their potential spouse as more important than Christ

As such, this is a terrible terrible idea.

  • Incorrect, This is based on what factual information? The question arises is what about these people who fall into Christianity of ('I believe in Jesus but I dont practice as I don't like two faced christians') Now take the idea that these people are also of good standing in the Community and perform better than most Christians. I know many christians who do alot worse things than these people who hold a belief but also dont feel they are one. Jesus said that to be a Christian is to be seen differently. Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 14:11
  • Perhaps we christians who Judge others are the 'World' or the 'Many' that will go through the gate of distruction and those small few who believe but dont make a song and dance about it are the ones who will get through the narrow gate. Many are called but few are chosen! Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 14:13

Marrying a person who does not believe in God is not against the sculpture. The good answer can be found in second commandment (see Matthew 22:37-40):

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'.

According to this the man/hunsband is 'the neighbor'.

  • 1
    Hello luksmir! This is an interesting point, though I see the text of your answer is gathering some downvotes. Perhaps that is because readers would like a little more detail. I know that I would be interested in having some of the gaps filled in, between your quotation and the conclusion - there is some reasoning there that you don't yet spell out, and it doesn't engage with the quotations in the original question. It might also be helpful if you could point to some outside source where the connection is made.
    – James T
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 13:50
  • Thanks for your positive comment James. I will try to answer more specifically later.
    – luksmir
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 14:46