“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. We love because He first loved us.” –
1 John 4:16, 19 (NIV)
The real question here is does the Bible even talk about dating, let alone provide guidelines on how it should be done from a Godly perspective?
Well, the truth of the matter is that no, the Bible does not talk about dating because ‘dating’ was not a thing in those days. The Bible does, however, provide some pretty clear expectations of Christians before and within marriage. It is with this perspective in mind that I write this post.
What is the point?
The ultimate goal of dating, or ‘courtship’ should be to find a life partner. All too often young men and women fall into the trap of the notion of ‘self-discovery’ which entails serial-dating with no future in mind to find out one’s ‘type’. It is often in these relationships that young Christians fall into temptation and sin.
What does scripture say about relationships?
The importance of being born again
In John 3 vs 3, Jesus provides clear guidance to us by saying:
“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ”
I believe that this is the most important base of any relationship, the acceptance of Christ as one’s Saviour shared as common belief between two partners. Marriage is not easy, but having a partner that shares the same core beliefs that you do definitely eases some of the stress that comes with adapting to life within the boundaries of marriage.
The mindset of Christ
Philippians 2 vs 5 also says to us,
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
First let’s answer the question of what is the mindset of Christ Jesus?
The mind of Christ is the desire to bring God glory (John 17 vs 5), to provide salvation to the lost (Luke 19 vs 10), to be humble and obedient (Philippians 2 vs 5-8), to have a compassionate heart (Matthew 9 vs 36), and to depend on God in prayer (Luke 5 vs 16)
Therefore, in our relationships with one another we are to glorify God, spread the word of God’s goodness, grace and mercy through our Saviour Christ Jesus, to show compassion, to humble ourselves in obedience to the will of God and to turn to God in prayer. If one is not born again, it would be extremely hard for both partners in a relationship to display the mindset of Christ in their relationship with one another!
Being yoked together
We are told to not:
“…be yoked together with unbelievers,”
in 2 Corinthians 6 vs 14, this is reinforcement that you should find a life partner that is born again and holds the same core beliefs that you do!
The Bible is also clear as day on the topic of premarital sex, 1 Corinthians 6 vs 13 & 18-20 says,
“…The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body; Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”
Genesis 2 vs 24 says,
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
The Bible has never been unclear on what is expected of Christians with regards to sex. Our bodies are temples, and we become one flesh with our husbands, it is important that you do not fall into the trap of premarital sex lest you defile the temple of God and join yourself as one flesh. And if you have already, remember that Christ did not come to die for the sinless, but rather for those of us who fall short!
“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God,” (1 Corinthians 6 vs 11).
Love & Honour
Within relationships, we are taught to,
“…Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves,” (Romans 12 vs 10.)
1 Corinthians 13 vs 4-8 goes on to say,
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
This is the kind of love Christ has for us and in our aspirations to be more Christ-like, this should be a guide on how we are to love one another.
What does scripture say about marriage?
Do not fall into the trap of viewing marriage from the world’s perspective, as something that is a confinement, to your personal detriment. The Bible speaks of marriage as symbolising the beautiful relationship between Christ and His Bride, the church, it is something to be cherished.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church,” (Ephesians 5 vs 25-29 & 31-32)