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there is a very interesting situation I would like to clarify about being Christian and getting married to a non-believer, in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 it reads:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you[b] are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. NKJV

This passage is very very clear and prefectly expresses the idea without need of "special interpretations" and on the other hand some Christians refer to 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 to try to justify getting married to a non-believer, the passage reads:

12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. NKJV

They say that is justified but, I made a quick investigation and found this, first of all we MUST take into account the context of the chapter, what is the general topic, Paul is speaking to Believers and treating situations that People are carring BEFORE comming to Christ as we can read in verses 17-24:

17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called. NKJV

So Paul is talking about the situations that people had before becoming Christians and I found this very intersting comment of Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer specifically to 1 Corinthians 7:12 about the word λοιποί which is used here, the commentary reads:

The λοιποί are those who, before their conversion, had entered into marriage with a non-believer, so that one of the two had become a Christian and the other not. See on 1 Corinthians 7:10.

So that makes complete sense with two things, first it makes sense with the context of the whole chapter because Paul is talking about circumstances before becomming Christian and second we know that The Bible does not contradict itself so if this chapter would allow getting married to a non -believer that will be FOR SURE in contradiction with 2 corinthians 6:14 and 2 Corinthians 6:14 is more clear and explicit, so my personal conclusion was:

The Bible tells the Christians to not marry non-Christians and encourage Christians to remain married to their non-believer couple IF they became Christians being already married.

So 1 Corinthians 7:12 allow marring non-believers? I would like to know of course an answer from you, thank you very much in advance.

4 Answers 4

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No, 1 Corinthians 7:12 does not permit believers to marry a non-believer. Any such interpretation must be rejected as driven by emotional feelings than objective study. The context clearly presents the situation where one of the unbeliever converted; it does not talk about a single believer marrying an unbeliever. Verse 10 clearly says that these instructions are for the married. V12-13 clearly mentions the persons "has an unbelieving wife" rather than someone who wants to take a wife (Cf. 1Cor 9:5 "Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer?")

In 1Cor 7, the context describes the answers concerning their questions. V8 mentions the instruction about the unmarried & widows, and the same continues about the virgins and unmarried from v25 onwards. The Greek loipos (the rest) in v12 does not refer to the unmarried group, but to the other group about whom questions has been asked, that is where just one partner is converted. Meyer's commentary is accurate, and there is no doubt about the translation or interpretation.

For an answer to the same question on Reasonablefaith site, read (Q#19) Marrying a Non-Christian where the questioner assumed that "unbeliever" refers to idolaters, as opposed to unbelievers in general in the verse. Dr Craig answers:

As you rightly surmised, Judith, I’m thinking of Paul’s directives in II Cor. 6.14ff. I think we’d agree that to consciously do something contrary to a scriptural command is sinful. As James says, “Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (Jas. 4.17). So the only question is whether Paul does command Christians not to marry non-believers.

Look, then, at what Paul says: “Do not be mismated with unbelievers” (v. 14). What could be clearer? The word here for unbeliever is apistos, someone who is without faith. To be sure, most unbelievers would at that time also have been involved in the worship of pagan deities (I Cor. 10.27). But apistos doesn’t mean “idolater.” The word for idolater is eidololatres (I Cor. 6.9). An unbeliever is anyone who lacks saving faith, including but not limited to idol worshippers.

Take a look at how Paul uses the word “unbeliever” elsewhere in his letters. Notice how in I Cor. 14.22-25 he uses “unbeliever” as synonymous with “outsider,” someone who stands outside the Christian community. In I Cor. 6.6, in prohibiting lawsuits between Christians, Paul is scandalized that disputes should be taken before unbelievers rather than before Christian brethren. In I Cor. 7.12-13 he addresses the situation of someone who has a spouse who is, as you note, an “unbeliever,” that is, who is not saved (v.16). I think it’s evident that an unbeliever is someone who lacks saving faith and so is not part of the body of Christ.

Is there, then, a contradiction with Paul’s commands in I Cor. 7.12-16? Not at all! Paul is speaking there to couples who were both unbelievers but one of whom has since become a Christian and so finds himself or herself with an unbelieving spouse. That this is the situation is evident in Paul’s overriding principle, also applied to slaves and uncircumcised, “Let everyone lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him and in which God has called him (v. 17). “Everyone should remain in the state in which he was called” (v. 20). So if you were married when you were called, Paul tells you not to leave your non-believing partner. Stay married, just as you were when called to follow Christ, unless the unbelieving partner desires to separate.

But Paul prohibits Christian believers to marry unbelievers. Why? In II Cor. 6.15 he says: “ Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” One might be tempted to answer Paul’s question, “Well, we’re both really into sports and the outdoors” or “We both love finance and business.” But Paul would have regarded such an answer as betraying an utter lack of understanding of the marriage union. For Paul common faith in Christ was central to the marriage relationship. Take that away and you’ve taken the heart out of the marriage. That so few of our marriages between Christians today exhibit the centrality of Christ is shameful testimony to the extent to which we have become assimilated to the world’s view of marriage. It's little wonder, then, that divorce rates among Christian couples is as high as among non-Christians?

Paul forbids the forming of an uneven, unequal friendship, teaming-up or yoking with an unbeliever, and since marriage is the most sacred covenant, it couldn't possibly be that he would contradict himself. When even the friendship has been condemned, there is no possibility of a believer wanting to marry an unbeliever. The problem is not just of a one time sin that you can easily fix by ceasing to continue that sin, but it's a potential cause of ruining of your life by marrying against God's will. Also, read these articles by Ali Sina on loving a Muslim. Nonetheless, those who happen to find themselves in such a marriage should not lose hope and become depressed, as there are many examples of a wife saving the man due to her testimony and association with the true God.

It is important to set aside personal temptations and biases while interpreting the Biblical commandments. Think from a practical or political point of view, the chances of a believer wanting to marry an unbeliever or a lukewarm dead believer, would be the same as the chances of Donald Trump wanting to marry Hillary Clinton. Just as a politician's mission is based on an ideology, so is the life and marriage of a believer has a certain ideology.

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  • Michael says in verse 10 the married are addressed this is true & in 1 corinthians 7:12 of KJV the REST are addressed. Stop misleading people. These verses prevent Christians from marrying idol worshipers. By this logic a Christian couldn't marry a Jew. Which makes no sense since we are both God's people. Jan 30, 2020 at 20:35
  • This is another example of why providing links as part of the answer is a bad idea. Links should be provided only to give a reference to what was quoted from it, in case anyone wants to verify the source or read additional details. In this case, nothing was quoted and the link no longer works. So now we no longer "clearly see" anything, and the last sentence could now be deleted without losing anything. Aug 20, 2023 at 0:24
  • @RayButterworth I will edit and modify it soon
    – Michael16
    Aug 20, 2023 at 1:58
  • @Michael16, sorry I didn't mean to single you out like this, I've certainly done the same thing myself. I just want more people to be aware that it's not a good practice, and this made a good example of why. Aug 20, 2023 at 3:22
  • @RayButterworth no it's a right and helpful reminder. Most old posts of mine maybe like this quality, need to be improved.
    – Michael16
    Aug 20, 2023 at 3:24
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The Old Testament also binds Christians today.

10And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. 11Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.
-- Ezra 10:10-11 (KJV)

Since also Christians are chosen like the Israelites were, Ezra 10 tells Christians not to marry non-Christians.

Paul was affirming the same. He cannot contradict the scriptures since He was also inspired.

14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
-- 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (KJV)

I really see these strong long ago Israelites which decided to cast away the non-Israelites from them, with one heart hence fulfilling God's Laws. Thus Christians should also capture that heart, not divorcing one another, but also not to marry non-believers.

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  • Welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions.
    – enegue
    Oct 17, 2017 at 14:10
  • This post answers the OP question regarding marriage to non-believers in general, from a doctrinal view but it does not answer the OP question specifically with regard to cited texts. This answer is therefore likely to be marked as "low quality". Please consider re-writing it to address the more specific question in the OP.
    – user17080
    Oct 18, 2017 at 18:10
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I agree with Aceofspades because it clearly states that if a nonbeliever chooses to marry a believer and follows the rules of marriage and is faithful and loves their partner unconditionally then yes they should not divorce them. The first thing is to find out who is the dominator and the submissive one. We all strive for a 50/50 relationship but the truth is someone is always the dominator. So if the dominator is a christ follower then by that marriage the unbeliever is more likely to convert by their love for the believer and is more open to change than the dominator. Now if the dominator is an unbeliever and the christ follower is the submissive one then it's best not to marry as you will be more likely to be open to change than the dominator and you could turn away from Christ. So that better sums it up blessings to you all

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I think we are led by spirit rather than law as Paul states and Hebrews author too state , for love , there is no law against it. If two are loving sincerely, and want to marry ask God . My simple answer, if we lie against one another, if we doesn't honor and hate another, theseare commandments, remember these aresins we do didn't we violate. In nt, we are bounded by faith, love, grace these are the laws we have.

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  • As God does not contradict Himself, the Spirit would never lead you to do something explicitly forbidden in the Scripture.
    – Sir Athos
    Jun 1, 2020 at 9:28
  • Why did Jesus told a different command earlier than Moses told in Moses. Does he contradicts himself. It's not a contradiction. It's a betterment
    – user545239
    Jun 1, 2020 at 9:50
  • Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament law for us so we don't have to do some things anymore (like animal sacrifices). This does not contradict anything, and most certainly does not mean the Spirit will ever lead you to do anything against the New Testament (like marrying a non-believer). Such an idea would come from a very different spirit...
    – Sir Athos
    Jun 1, 2020 at 19:03
  • You should provide some references here to support you thesis. I am also struggling to understand your answer.
    – Dottard
    Jun 3, 2020 at 22:34

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