© Rosemary Bardsley 2009


This brief study simply pulls together the relevant Bible verses related to this question.


[1] New Testament perspectives about marrying an unbeliever:

1Corinthians 7:39: ‘A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.’

2 Corinthians 6:14-18: ‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. Fro what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”’


[2] Old Testament perspectives about the impact of unbelieving partners on the believing partner …

Exodus 34:12 -16: ‘Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you …and when you choose some of their daughters as wives for you sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.’

Numbers 25:1-3: ‘While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.’

Judges 3:5-6: ‘The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.’

1Kings 11:1-6: ‘King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women … They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth and goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.’

Ezra 9:2-3, 12: ‘The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighbouring peoples with their detestable practices … they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.’

‘Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons…’

Nehemiah 10:30: ‘We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons.’

Nehemiah 13:25-27: ‘I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”’


[3] An existing marriage in which one partner is a believer and the other is not

Where [1] one partner in a marriage becomes a believer, and the other partner does not, or [2] where a believer has already married an unbeliever, the following verses apply:

1Corinthians 7:10-17

1Peter 3:1-7