What Does the Bible Say About Marrying Someone of Another Race?

Scripture neither advocates nor condemns interracial marriage. It’s true that Old Testament law disapproved the marriage of Israelites to outsiders, but it did so strictly for religious and cultural reasons.

1 A Jew who married a woman from one of the Canaanite nations would find his wife naturally inclined towards the language, culture, and religion of her childhood. But the beautiful story of Ruth, a woman of the cursed nation of Moab ( Deuteronomy 23:3 ) who became an ancestor of Christ (Ruth 4:13-17 ), should put to rest any notions that God disapproved of intermarriage between Israel and the surrounding nations solely upon racial grounds.

It’s unfortunate that some passages of Scripture have been misquoted and taken out of context to rationalize racial prejudice. The Bible clearly tells us:

  • Adam and Eve were the parents of the whole human race ( Romans 5:12-21 ).
  • God created the races from one blood ( Acts 17:26 ).

It also declares that all believers in Christ are:

  • Children of God ( 1 John 3:1 ).
  • Adopted into God’s family ( Ephesians 1:5 ).
  • Brothers and sisters in Christ ( Colossians 1:2 ).

Christ’s love requires us to love each other ( John 13:34-35 ; 1 John 4:8,16 ). Setting up artificial barriers between Christians on the basis of skin color or other racial differences is a form of hatred. We can’t hate brothers and sisters in Christ and love God at the same time ( 1 John 4:16-21 ).

There is nothing morally wrong with dating or marrying a person of another race. But the serious cultural and social demands of interracial marriage require clear vision and mature motivation. The single most important factor in choosing a lifelong mate is that person’s relationship to Christ.

  1. Some racial segregationists claim that the curse on Ham in Genesis 9:20-27 requires the races to be separate. However, the curse that resulted from Ham’s disrespectful act fell specifically upon Canaan, and the descendants of Canaan were the tribes surrounding Israel. Ruth, in fact, was a Canaanite, a Moabitess ( Ruth 1:22 ). Back To Article
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