Why A Believer Should Not Marry An Unbeliever

By Richard Boone

Purpose: To show scriptural, sensible reasons why Christians should not marry unbelievers.


1. A problem that faces every Christian when he comes to adult age is that of whom to marry.

2. In our day, when infidels out-number Christians, it is made more difficult because it seems as though there are so few Christians available.

3. I want to give some scriptural, sensible reasons why Christians should not marry unbelievers.

4. This lesson applies to all of us because young people will be making their choices, and parents and other relatives should be providing the proper training along this line.

5. Before I proceed any further, let me make two specific statements:

a. While marrying an unbeliever is not a sin (cf. 1 Cor. 7:12-13), is is unwise.

b. Although it is possible that the unbeliever can be converted (cf. 1 Pet. 3:1-2), statistics do not favor the Christian.

6. With those remarks made, please consider carefully the following reasons why a believer should not marry an unbeliever.


I. The Scriptures Speak Against Inter-Marrying With Unbelievers.

A. They speak by direct statement (Deut. 7:1-5).

B. They speak by example (cf. Rom. 15:4).

1. Abraham did not want Isaac to marry a Canaanite (Gen. 24:1-4).

2. Esau’s wives were a “grief of mind” to Isaac and Rebekah (Gen. 26:34-35).

3. Rebekah did not want Jacob to marry a Canaanite (Gen. 27:46-28:5).

4. Solomon’s heart was turned away by non-Israelite women (1 Kings 11:1-8).

5. Peter had “a sister, a wife” (1 Cor. 9:5).

C. The Christian will have trouble with his spiritual “father-in-law” (John 8:44)!

II. Problems In A Religiously Mixed Marriage.

A. Marriage partners should have the same goal (Gen. 2:24; Prov. 31:10-12).

1. While marriage between Christians won’t be without problems, the chances of solving their problems are greater because they are working toward the same goal – heaven.

2. In a mixed marriage the Christian is trying to work toward heaven, and the unbeliever is not.

B. Just between the marriage partners, there may be conflicts over:

1. Worship (cf. Jn. 4:23-24):

a. Your attendance may be affected (Heb. 10:25).

b. Your Bible study may be affected (2 Pet. 3:18).

c. Your praying may be hindered (1 Thess. 5:17).

2. Marital responsibilities (1 Cor. 7:1-5; Eph. 5:22-23; 1 Tim. 5:8,14; etc.).

3. Morality (Eph. 4:25ff; Col. 3:5-17).

C. When children are born, there may be trouble over:

1. Religious upbringing (cf. Deut. 6:4-6; Eph. 6:4).

2. Discipline (Prov. 13:24; 22:6; Heb. 12:5-11).

D. As this only scratches the surface, there are many other problems that can exist in a marriage between a Christian and one who is not a Christian.

1. The Scriptures warn us about inter-marrying with infidels.

2. We see some of the problems that can exist in a religiously mixed marriage.

3. Let us make it our aim to marry faithful Christians and teach young adults to do the same!

Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 23, p. 719
December 7, 1989