There is much debate about the important subject of dating for Christians. Should you date or should you not date? We are dealing with what the Bible says as opposed to what the world says about dating. Our modern concept of dating only came about in the 1960s. Before that time our culture was closer to the Biblical standard for dating.
Modern dating philosophy assumes that there will be several intimate relationships before marriage. It is about finding the right person. Biblical marriage has the goal of being emotionally and physically intimate with only one person of the opposite sex after marriage. It is about being the right person. 1 Corinthians 6:9 – 7:19 tells us that we are to be pure. It addresses the seriousness of sexual sin and gives us instructions regarding marriage.
Modern dating says that there are no differences between men and women and in their roles, whereas the Bible says that men and women are different, although equal, with different and valuable roles within the church and family. Their distinct roles are defined throughout scripture, starting with Adam and Eve.
Modern dating assumes that you get to know a person intimately to figure out if he or she is “the” one, with physical intimacy that precedes commitment. Biblical dating is the opposite: Real commitment to the other person should precede such deep intimacy. In other words, commitment precedes intimacy. Song of Solomon 2:7 says “do not awaken love before it pleases”, which means before the proper time which is marriage.
Modern dating involves finding someone who will meet all your needs while Biblical dating is concerned with ministry and service and bringing glory to God. In Romans 3:18 we are told to love others, work for their soul’s good and don’t look to please self.
Modern dating assumes that what you do is up to you, but Biblical dating assumes a context of spiritual accountability, just as in every other area of the Christian life.
It is pretty obvious that there is no scriptural support for the modern approach to dating. For you, a good rule-of-thumb is to consider what conduct in your dating life will help you to be the best that you can be for God. Think of what will help you to care for your brothers and sisters in Christ and what will bring glory to God. That’s the bottom line.
A young man or woman after God’s own heart should have very high standards. You must choose to remain morally pure no matter what. The most important thing about dating is that you choose a person of the opposite sex who is a Christian and who is committed to maintaining purity in their life and in yours. Their heart must be submitted to God and set on obeying God’s Word. What does a person after God’s heart look like? They are blameless in character and godly in conduct. It is a high standard because it is God’s standard. Never settle for anything less.
Regarding purity: As a man or woman after God’s own heart you must choose to walk a different road from that of the world. You must not disrespect yourselves by dressing to be sexy or physically desirable. Instead, you want people, to like you for your character, not your looks.
Your standards for a godly date must be as high as are the standards you set for yourself. Your physical purity is important to God because:
• Your body is the temple: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
• Your body is not your own: “You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
• Your body is bought with a price: “You were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). And what was that price? “The precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19).
• Your body is to honor and glorify God; “Honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Purity, Biblically, often means chaste and without stain. It also means to be free from pollution, to be clean, innocent and guiltless. If you need to make changes regarding your purity the Holy Spirit will help you do it.
Both modern dating and Biblical dating are methods that introduce two people of the opposite sex and proceed with a pre-marital relationship between them.
The Biblical method:
• Starts with the man approaching and going through the woman’s father or family.
• Is conducted under the authority of the woman’s father or family or church.
• Always has marriage (to a specific person) as its direct goal.
The Modern method:
• Begins with either the man or the woman initiating with the other.
• Is conducted outside the formal oversight or authority of either person’s family or church.
• May or may not have marriage as its goal. It is often only “recreational” or “educational.”
Here is the final Word:
1 Corinthians 6:9-7:19 New International Version (NIV)
9 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. 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.
12 “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘ I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.’ The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 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; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.
Concerning Married Life
7 “Now for the matters you wrote about: ‘It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.’2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8 “Now to the unmarried[d] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12 “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 “But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Concerning Change of Status
17 “Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts