What does it say in the bible about black and white marriages?

What does the Bible say about interracial marriage?

Should a Christian date or marry someone from another race?  Does skin color matter in a Christian marriage?  Does the Bible forbid a black person from marrying a white person or an Asian or Hispanic?

The Bible teaches that there is no such thing as different "races".  We are all from one race – the human race.  There exits many different cultures, different external physical characteristics and languages in the world, but there is only one human race.  It is more accurate to say that there are different people groups based on nationality and culture, but biologically speaking, there is only one race of humans on the earth.

Adam and Eve are the parents of all human descendents.

Genesis 3:20  The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

1 Corinthians 15:45  Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

All humans share another common ancestor in Noah and his family.  Noah's three sons and daughters-in-law were told to leave the ark and re-populate the globe.

Genesis 8:16-18  "Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh--birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth--that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth." So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him.

The New Testament also confirms the fact that we are all one race.  Paul was preaching in Athens to a group of Greeks and other groups when he said…

Acts 17:26-27  And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,  (27)  that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,

Modern biologist have discovered through the Human Genome Project that the differences between people within the same people group are about the same as variations between them and others outside of their group.  Skin color is a very minor difference genetically speaking.

But what do Bible verses mean in regards to the prohibition of marriage between the ancient Jews and the surrounding nations?

In the case of King Solomon, he disobeyed the word of the Lord when he married women from other nations.  His disobedience was not because of a difference of race, but because the new wives (which also is poligamy) brought him into idolatry.

1 Kings 11:1-2  Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,  (2)  from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, "You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love.

Deuteronomy 17:17  And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

In the days of Nehemiah, there was a mixture of marriages between Israel and surrounding nations.  The problem was the same – foreign religions caused the people of Israel to forsake God.

Nehemiah 13:23-26  In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab.  (24)  And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people.  (25)  And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take oath in the name of God, saying, "You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.  (26)  Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin.

The New Testament equivalent command for Christian marriage is found in

2 Corinthians 6:14-17  Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  (15)  What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?  (16)  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (17)  Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,

A Christian should not marry an unbeliever.  It does permit that a Christian marry someone from another nationality or another ethnic group or culture.

But is it wise to marry someone from another culture?

Every marriage faces challenges because of differences of opinion and different assumptions about the other person.  Differences in age, culture, language, family environment all need to be considered and discussed before committing to marry one another.  These obstacles may be anticipated and overcome.  If you are planning to be married, you should get to know your spouses family very well ahead of time.  Your spouse learned a great deal of how a family functions (or malfunctions) from his/her parents.  If your fiancé is from another country or culture, you should take your time to adapt yourself to the other culture and make adjustments.


Shad David Sluiter