A popular question many single Christians ask is: “Is it a sin for me to date someone who isn’t a Christian?”
It’s a good question — and a very important one. Let’s find out how we can best answer it by looking at what God’s Word says.
Does the Bible Answer This Question?
If you open your Bible looking for a passage where God says “Thou shall not date someone who isn’t a Christian,” you’ll be disappointed to find that no such verse exists. As a matter of fact, God’s Word neither restricts us from dating non-Christians, nor does it give us permission to date non-Christians.
In fact, the Bible doesn’t say anything about dating.
So what does that mean? Are we allowed to date whomever we want? Can we really say that dating a non-believer is a sin if the Bible doesn’t explicitly tell us that it is?
If you feel tempted to stop reading right here, don’t. Take a couple more minutes to hear me out.
It’s important to understand that just because the Bible might not explicitly tell us something is a sin, it doesn’t make that thing good for us.
For example, does the Bible say it’s a sin to eat your car? Technically, no. It doesn’t. But should you eat your car? Absolutely not. It might not be technically labeled as a sin, but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea.
To really understand what the Bible says about this issue, we have to ask a different question. We have to ask a better question.
The Better Question
Imagine the question, “Is it a sin?” in your mind. Do you see it? You have probably asked this question about a lot of things.
Do yourself a favor and delete that question from your mental files. Don’t ask it. Learn to ask a better question. Replace “Is it a sin?” with “Does it help me run after Jesus?”
Why ask this question instead?
Because there are many things the Bible doesn’t technically label as sins that don’t actually help you pursue Christ.
Look at what Hebrews 12:1 says: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” (emphasis mine).
Pay attention to the wording. Why does the writer make a distinction between “weight” and “sin”? Why doesn’t he just tell us to “lay aside every sin which clings so closely”?
The reason the author mentions “weights” in addition to “sins” is because there are a lot of non-sins in our lives which don’t help us run harder, longer, or faster after the Lord.
The question shouldn’t be, “Is such-and-such a sin?”. Instead, the question should be, “Will such-and-such help me run after Jesus?”
So how does this tie back to dating non-believers?
Just because the Bible doesn’t explicitly label it a “sin” doesn’t mean that it will help you run the Christian race. As a matter of fact, it is a certainty that becoming romantically involved with a non-believer will inhibit your pursuit. We can see this principle clearly laid out in Scripture (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33).
The Bible also restricts Christians from entering intimate, binding relationships with non-believers, such as marriage (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Any romantic relationship with a non-believer does not reflect God’s good design for love and marriage.
The Bible may not explicitly say “don’t date a non-believer,” but if we look at certain principles in Scripture, we can understand that dating non-believers will neither help us run after Jesus — nor will it please God.