Does the Bible say it is wrong to marry someone of another race?

In light of Perry’s comments on Sunday about racism, we have had a few emails and calls on the subject.  I thought I would share this Q&A with you about this issue:

Q: I have a question. Doesn’t the Old Testament teach that interracial relationships are wrong. Being raised in the south, I was taught that it is sinful.  What do you believe about the issue, and is there a Biblical answer?

A: Thanks for your email. The bible has a few commands in the Old Testament in Exodus and Deuteronomy for the Jews to not marry people of other nations. The purpose of these commands was not to stop marriage of people who were different races, but so that God’s people would not marry pagans who did not worship the true God. God welcomes other races in the Old and New Testament who were willing to follow Him and worship Him and allowed these people to become a part of his family (If He didn’t allow this, all of us “gentiles” would be out of luck!)

A similar command is given to Christians in the New Testament in 2 Corinthians 6:14 about a believer not marrying an unbeliever. This command is not about race but about a Christian refraining from joining in marriage with someone who does not know Christ. If two people are believers, there is no biblical reason to keep them from getting married.

There is nothing sinful or unbiblical about interracial relationships. Disapproving of someone based on their race is wrong and not how God desires His people to treat each other. I know that many times people grow up with a certian set of beliefs because a family member or pastor taught them to think a certian way. We all have to be willing to compare what we believe or have been taught to believe with what scripture teaches. When scripture shows us that a belief we have held is not right, we need to turn from that misconception and embrace the truth of God’s word. Let me know if you want to talk about this further or if there are any other questions I can answer for you.

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