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Question:

The question: is it a sin to marry an unbeliever? I believe it is strongly discouraged because of the consequences in ones marriage and the possibility of being pulled away from the church, not to mention the ramifications on the children and all other facets of marriage. I believe it is unwise, but is it a sin?

Through my studies and discussions with other brethren I find that Scripture strongly discourages a believer not to marry an unbeliever, but does not give an absolute prohibition of the marriage. I understand many try to take II Corinthians 6 and relate it to strictly marriage, but we do not see marriage, husband, wife or spouse mentioned anywhere in the context of the entire chapter. However, I do believe that marriage is included in the "unequal yoke" as well as business partnerships and friendships, if you are not going to be the dominating influence in those relationships. I point out that I Peter 2 and 3 would be a better fit for someone discussing the marriage to unbelievers and seeing exactly what we are to do.

I had an individual tell me that the "unequal yoke" means to "lie down with" in the Hebrew and that there isn't any closer relationship than marriage in order for that term to be used. I haven't been able to find this in any commentary: Barnes, Matthew Henry, Gospel Advocate, or Vines. Therefore they were saying II Corinthians 6 was and is specific to marriage. Furthermore, they said that one must repent of their sin if they do marry an unbeliever. But what do you do in the event your spouse doesn't convert? Do you continue to live in sin staying married to them? Jesus said there is only one exception for divorce, sexual immorality, having an unbelieving wife or husband is not what He said. In fact Peter says just the opposite in I Peter 3 and so does Paul in I Corinthians 7 (stay with them).

So, I look at it like this: if God does not consider a couple to be married that scripturally cannot be then why would He allow or accept union between a couple to be married if one is a believer and the other an unbeliever? Would He then be saying it is okay to marry in sin and continue in it? Would this mean that all the Christians that have married unbelievers to be not actually be married, but just "shacked up", possibly with a family until the unbeliever becomes a believer? What do they do then? Remarry, or should I say marry for the first time?


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