When I was growing up, I would sometimes hear people in my family talk about interracial marriage, and whether different cultures colliding could work within marriage. I decided to do a little research about this topic to clear up some questions that I had and that others may have about this.
What does the Bible say about interracial marriage? There is nowhere in the Bible that forbids or discourages interracial marriage. Interracial marriage is not a sin in any way. Every human is created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), and we all come from the same ancestors, Adam and Eve.
So where did all of these questions about interracial marriage come from? I will be diving into further details about this topic, and what the other requirements for marriage that are given to Christians.
Interracial Marriage: What the Bible Actually Says
In my research for this topic, most of the articles that I found on this topic said it was one of the most requested topics people were asking for. People do want to know a solid yes or no answer. All of the answers can be found in the Bible.
What the Bible Says
People may be questioning what the Bible says about interracial marriage because of this passage in Deuteronomy.
You shall not intermarry with (the inhabitants of Canaan), giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.– Deuteronomy 7:3-4
At first glance, this may be confusing and make it seems like the Lord wants the Israelites to not intermarry ever. However, this passage has nothing to do with race and everything to do with religion.
God does not want for the Israelites to turn away from Him, but instead to continue to worship and follow him. If the Israelites were to marry the inhabitants of Canaan, they would be tempted to worship their false gods. By the Lord declaring to not marry these people, He is protecting Israel from idolatry.
Examples of Interracial Marriage in the Bible
In Numbers 12:1-15, Moses, who was a Jew, married a woman who was a Cushite; Cush was a southern region of Ethiopia, where people were known for their black skin. The Lord approved of this marriage, but Aaron and Miriam criticized this marriage, to which God was angered by. He gave Miriam leprosy for seven days as a punishment to her criticism of Moses and his wife.
Ruth is another example of an interracial marriage. Ruth, from Moab, moved to Bethlehem when her land was struck with famine. When she met Boaz, he did not hesitate to take her as his wife because of her faith in God if Israel.
Ruth was not a Jew. She was a Moabite. Even though many discriminated against her, God loved her just the same. God does not discriminate, and He loves all people just the same.–Chris Russell from biblestudytools.com
In Colossians 3:11, Paul writes, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” We are all the same in Christ, and skin tone or different cultural backgrounds cannot hinder the mission of the followers of Jesus Christ.
Why this Question About Interracial Marriage is Being Posed
Why are people still asking whether this question is okay? Haven’t we moved past this by now in this day and age?
There is a lot of checkered history in regards to interracial marriage. Especially in the United States, racism is a huge part of the USA’s story. Interracial marriage was illegal until 1967 when it was deemed unconstitutional. Perhaps the question is still posed because there are still parts of America, or other places around the world, that are still unsure or afraid of what interracial marriage means and are using fear as an excuse to not endorse it.
In any case, this is an incorrect view of other races and cultures around us. Every single human being is created in God’s image. We are to treat everyone with the respect and honor they deserve as image-bearers of God.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.–Genesis 1:27
Cross-cultural marriages can sometimes pose a different set of challenges because of cultural differences. As this article explains, there are sometimes unmet expectations because of cultural differences that can hinder and wear out patience in the marriage.
As with any upcoming engagement or marriage, pray with God for Him to help you be patient with your spouse and to have wisdom within the relationship. Especially with cross-cultural marriages, be open about expectations, and talk with each other about your different cultures. We are all one in Christ, and cross-cultural marriage can and have been beautiful examples of how Christ brings people together.
What are the Requirements for Marriage in the Bible?
The only requirements for Christians to marry are if the other person is currently unmarried, is of the opposite gender, and is a Christian as well. There are of course other factors to consider when marrying someone, but these are the big ones to follow.
Only One Man and One Woman
The Bible is very clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. It was God’s design that that marriage is this way. Genisis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Just this verse alone shows how it is right for only one man and one woman to be united in marriage. Polygamy is a sin.
The Spouse is to be the Opposite Gender of Yourself
Using the same verse in Genisis 2:24, Christians are also to marry someone that is the opposite gender of themselves. Biblical marriage is to be a man and a woman, and not a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.
Just Disciple has covered this topic more in this video if you want more information about this topic.
The Spouse is to be a Christian
As Christians, we are also to marry another Christian. 2 Corinthians states clearly:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?– 2 Corinthians 6:14
As with the story in Deuteronomy where the Israelites are not to marry the inhabitants of Canaan, Christians are not to marry unbelievers. This is for the same reason as well; we are not to be corrupted and turn away from God.
All of these Requirements are Attainable in a Cross-Culture Marriage
Each one of these requirements for Christian marriage is absolutely attainable if you were to marry someone of a different race. Interracial marriage is beautiful in God’s eyes and there is no reason to resist marrying someone if they have a different skin tone. But make sure that for whoever you are hoping to marry that you are able to say “yes” to each of these requirements above.