What Does The Bible Say About Marrying A Non Believer

The Bible on Marrying a Non Believer

When considering marriage, the Bible provides clear instructions to those who are seeking guidance about marrying someone who does not follow the same faith as them. While there are exceptions, such as marrying within the same faith tradition, there are some general things to consider when looking at what the Bible says about marrying a non believer.

In Old Testament times, it was forbidden for Israelites to marry non-Israelites due to the fact that they followed different beliefs, often idolatrous practices. Thus, the Bible warns against marrying a non believer not just because of religious beliefs, but because of cultural differences as well. Deuteronomy 7:3 warns, “Do not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons.”

In the New Testament, there are verses that draw a distinction between Christians and unbelievers, such as 2 Corinthians 6:14, which says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” This is often interpreted to mean that Christian’s should not marry non believers, as to do so would create a “yoking” together of the two people, the Christian and the non believer, who follow different religions.

Marrying someone of a different faith can often cause tensions in the marriage and have a detrimental effect on the family dynamic. Children who are raised in a mixed faith home may struggle to choose which faith to follow when they reach maturity, while couples themselves may struggle to coexist within the marriage. The Bible advises against interreligious marriages to prevent these tensions and issues from occurring within the family and marriage.

To further understand what the Bible says about marrying a non believer, it is helpful to look to Scripture for answers. For example, 1 Peter 4:3 tells us to “live according to God’s will” and to “make sure that nothing in our lives contradicts God’s will.” This means that when it comes to marrying a non believer, we need to carefully consider how our decision may affect our relationship with God, as we should strive to make sure our decisions reflect His will for us. It also means that we need to make sure that our decisions regarding marriage, honor God and our relationship with Him.

The Bible also teaches us love and respect for our spouse. In Ephesians 5:25-33, we are instructed to “love [our] wife as [we] love [ourselves], and to live with her in an understanding way.” Unbelievers may not be familiar with or understand these kinds of teachings, which could create a disconnect between the husband and wife. This could create difficulty in the relationship and could potentially cause resentment.

Origin of the Bible’s Stance

The origin of the Bible’s guidance on marrying a non believer is rooted in the belief that all humans are created in the image of God, and those who follow God should be looking to honor Him in their decisions. By marrying a non believer, the Christian is seen as putting themselves in a position to be influenced by the other person’s beliefs and practices, which may go against God’s commands. This may threaten the Christian’s relationship with God, and also put the family at risk if the non-believer’s beliefs are incompatible with the Christian’s.

Scripture also teaches that those who follow God should seek to set an example for others. By following this teaching, Christians should be ready to live in a way that sets an example for others in the area of faith, even if their spouse does not believe the same as them. This could include regular Bible study, attending church, and praying together.

The Bible also stresses the importance of unity, especially between spouses. Ephesians 5:21 instructs, “ Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” As mentioned, when marrying a non believer, there is potential for disagreement and tension around spiritual beliefs. This could interfere with the unity that God desires in the covenant of marriage.

Impact of Marrying A Non Believer on the Family

Marriage can be challenging enough in itself, but when it involves two people who have different beliefs, the challenges may be greater. One is that the non believer may not understand and accept the Christian’s beliefs and practices. This could cause strain between them, and also lead the “unequally yoked” couple to struggle in areas like communication, household decisions, and finances.

Another factor to consider is the impact a mixed faith marriage can have on children. Believers may be concerned that their offspring could be pulled away from their faith, due to the influence of their non-believing spouse. Marrying a non believer may also lead the children to feel confusion or divided loyalty between the two faiths of their parents.

Having a non-believing spouse can also lead a Christian to become complacent in their faith and they may be less compelled to attend church or Bible study when their spouse has no interest in such activities. This can create a barrier between the Christian and God, and cause them to drift away from Him.

The Power of Prayer and Discernment

When deciding whether or not to marry a non believer, the Bible makes clear that God should and must be the foundation for one’s decision. Marriage is a big step, and it should not be taken lightly. Christians should always seek God’s guidance and pray for discernment, as He will provide clarity and wisdom in the matter.

It is also important to seek out wise and mature Christian guidance, such as from family, friends, and pastors or spiritual leaders. These wise counselors can provide a Christian with biblical guidance and advice, as well as understanding and support during the discernment process.

When seeking to discern if it is right to marry a non believer, it is also helpful to consider the following: Are they a good, God-fearing person? What are their values and beliefs? Are they respectful of a Christian’s faith? How will their views and lifestyle affect the marriage? Ultimately, Christians must seek God’s will in this matter and either move forward with a unified faith, or not at all.

Does the Bible Allow for Exceptions?

There are sometimes exceptions to the teachings against interreligious marriage. For example, some churches may allow a Christian to marry a nonbeliever if the person is not a practicing member of their own faith, but still accepts many of the Christian principles. This could include not regularly attending nor participating in the spiritual life of one’s faith.

Additionally, some churches may allow for marriages to occur between Christians and non-Christians in cases where the non-believer respects and accepts the faith of their spouse, even in times of disagreement. This could include attending church together, participating in prayer times, understanding the importance of the Christian faith to their spouse, raising children together in the Christian faith, and allowing their spouse to have time and space to practice their faith and build stronger relationships with God.

Having a “mixed” faith household can present challenges in a marriage, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and a chance to draw closer to God. If a Christian is considering marrying a non believer, they should prayerfully seek God’s will and carefully assess how their decision will impact their marriage, their family, and their relationship with God.

What is God’s Purpose for Marriage?

The Bible indicates that God’s purpose for marriage is for two people to become one (Genesis 2:24), and to display His perfect love for us on Earth (Ephesians 5:25). Therefore, when considering whether or not to marry a person of a different faith tradition, it is important to consider how that relationship will affect the unity of your marriage. Ultimately, if you are uncertain, prayer and a deep reliance on God is necessary to make such a meaningful and life changing decision.

One example of God’s perfect love being displayed in a mixed faith marriage is the story of Ruth and Boaz in the Old Testament. While both Ruth and Boaz had different faith and cultural backgrounds, they remained unified in their relationship to God and his purpose for their marriage. Oftentimes people of different faiths can remain committed to one another while maintaining the truth they each hold dear.

When choosing a marital partner, the Bible is clear that it is important to seek God’s will in the matter and make sure that your decision honors Him, as He is the one who ordained marriage in the first place.


Marrying a non believer is a big decision and one that should be weighed very carefully. The Bible gives guidance on the matter, warning against unequally yoked marriages. Throughout Scripture, we can find emphasized the importance of unity, respect, and love in marriage, as well as examples of God’s perfect love being displayed even in believing and non-believing relationships. It is important to remember throughout the discernment process to pray and humbly seek God’s will and provision.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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