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What Does the Bible Say About Interracial Marriage?

     Many societal norms have evolved over the past decades that have positively impacted culture. There was a time in America when both secular and religious communities loathed the idea of interracial marriage. Religious groups cited the Bible in their arguments against people of different races coming together in marriage. But the ultimate question regarding interracial marriage should be Biblical authority: is it permitted in Scripture?

      Religious opponents of interracial marriage quote Deuteronomy 7:3-4 in their arguments. The problem with this line of thinking is that the passage's context fails to lend credibility to the disagreement. The Old Testament Law commanded the Israelites not to participate in interracial marriage (Deuteronomy 7:3-4). Understanding why this instruction was given originally is necessary to answer the question correctly. God's prohibition was entirely about religious differences and had nothing to do with skin color. The foreign people of that territory were worshipers of various false gods, and their devotion to these idols resulted in tragic outcomes. Many of these pagan groups sacrificed their children on altars of fire. Should the Israelites have married these heathens, their moral contamination would have ensued. Malachi 2:11 shows that this indeed was possible.  

     The command to live morally righteous consistently provided a divine requirement throughout the Bible. The New Testament ordered believers in II Corinthians 6:14, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and unrighteousness have in common?" This standard is the principle of the Old Testament, and nowhere does it suggest that interracial marriage is wrong. Anyone who restricts interracial marriage is superseding the teachings of the Bible and assuming an authority they don't rightfully possess.  

       The civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. rightly noted that people should be evaluated on their character, not their race. James 2:1-10 teaches that there is no place for a Christian to exercise preferential treatment towards another person based on ethnicity. The primary criteria for a Christian selecting a spouse are spiritual at its very core. Faith in Jesus Christ and not varying skin colors are the marriage standard. Entering into matrimony should be a matter of prayer and personal choice.

     Any couple contemplating marriage should consider many variables. While a difference in ethnicity should not be disregarded, it must not ultimately determine whether a couple should marry. An interracial couple will likely encounter discrimination and scorn, so preparing to respond to such prejudice biblically is sensible. Everybody should remember that marriage is honorable among all (Hebrews 13:4). Believers are obligated to recall that "there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him" (Romans 10:12). A church refusing to discriminate along with Christian interracial marriage serves as a powerful illustration of equality and unity in Christ.

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