The Bible is SILENT on the subject of dating. The “modern” concept of dating (where a boy and girl spend a lot of time together to see if they are compatible) was foreign in Bible days. One has said, “In Biblical times, the process of meeting a spouse had little to do with compatibility and personality traits, and everything to do with family lineage and economic status. Finding a mate functioned a lot more like a bartering system than dinner and a movie.” But there are examples in the Bible of men and women spending time together, falling in love, and getting married. Jacob and Rachel, Isaac and Rebecca, and Boaz and Ruth are a few examples that come to mind.

Though the Bible doesn’t speak directly on the subject of dating, it surely gives us “principles” that would guide us in dating. As we list a few of these principles, let’s be clear on one thing: Dating is the first step that leads to marriage. It is a very serious step that should be weighed in the light of Scripture.

  1. A Christian should DATE ANOTHER CHRISTIAN. Scripture is crystal-clear in this area, for 2nd Corinthians 6:14 states: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness” (NKJV). Again, we MUST look at dating as a potential marriage. In marriage two people are “yoked together” for life and it would be disastrous to be bound together with an unbeliever for the rest of your life.
  1. A Christian should DATE A GODLY CHRISTIAN. In addition to dating a fellow Christian, one should date a believer who makes the Lord Jesus the “Lord of their life.” We see this principle in 1st Corinthians 7:39, “A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, ONLY IN THE LORD.” Those three words “in the Lord” imply that one is to marry someone who is subject to the Lordship of Christ. Is the person you want to date living in the will of God? Does he/she love studying their Bible, praying, and enjoying fellowship with other believers? If not, then Scripture would lead you to pass them by, for a marriage with one (even though they may be a Christian) who is not willing to take up their cross, deny themselves, and follow Christ could be just as heartbreaking as marrying an unbeliever.
  1. A Christian should DATE WITHOUT PHYSICAL INTIMACY. The world sees nothing wrong with physical intimacy during dating; in fact, they encourage one to “test the waters” to see if you are compatible sexually. Scripture condemns this and calls it what it is: FORNICATION! 1st Corinthians 6:13 and 18 read, “Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body…Flee sexual immortality.” Ephesians 5:3 declares, “But FORNICATION and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.” All dating should be guided by preserving one’s purity and “saving yourself” for that special moment when in marriage “two become one flesh.” Perhaps, in order to avoid the temptation for physical intimacy, “group dating” is to be preferred over being alone in a place where the opportunity for sexual immorality exists.
  1. A Christian should DATE WITH THE THOUGHT OF BRINGING GLORY TO GOD. Again, the world is very “self-centered” when it comes to dating, for they hope to “meet all their needs and desires.” The Christian should look at the one they are dating and say, “Will I be able to serve the Lord with this person and bring Him the glory He deserves?” This is closely linked with what we saw in dating “a Godly Christian,” but here the emphasis is more on SERVING THE LORD TOGETHER than on serving the Lord individually. Aquila and Priscilla are a beautiful example of a Godly couple who served the Lord together.  (221.5)  (DO)