The Problem With Dating
Dating is not Biblical because it fails in three of the most important aspects of the Christian walk: holiness, faith, and following Christ’s example.
There are a variety of studies that speak about how dating, a relatively new invention, can lead to problems in marriages, but I will only focus on the Scriptural problems here. After all, the only Rock on which we stand is Christ, not on what studies seem to prove or disprove.
Holiness and Purity
Holiness is of critical importance to God. Therefore, the enemy of our souls works hard to distort it in the hopes of causing people to forsake it. Scripture exhorts us to more than merely avoid premarital sexual relationships. God commands holiness in every area of our lives, not only to live in a socially acceptable manner.
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: - Hebrews 12:14
“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. - 1 Peter 1:16 Holiness is made of two parts, both the putting off of the old man (Colossians 2:11), and the putting on of the new man (Romans 13:14). Most of the time when “holiness” or “purity” is used as a justification for wrong actions, it is simply the refraining from “sin” in man’s power - rather than also including the new life in Christ that is to take its place. Remember the parable of the swept house in Matthew 12:44?
“Treat… …The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. - 1 Timothy 5:2
It is not possible for a single man to date a young lady and still treat her as a sister in all purity. This was the problem I faced when comparing my life with the instructions in Scripture. In God’s design and plan there is no special relationship in-between treating a young lady as a sister and then as a wife. I encourage you to look if you don’t believe me.
“For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. - 1 Thessalonians 4:2-7
This verse speaks directly to fornication, but also to living in sanctification and honour in every way. This includes even simply lusting after someone.
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. - Exodus 20:17
Did you ever consider that God already has someone for them, so you are coveting their future spouse? Are you dating someone else’s future husband or wife?
“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. - 1 Corinthians 7:1-2
This is clearly something that is “good” beyond what might otherwise be apparent about the matter from the rest of Scripture. What Paul is saying here should be obvious to us; touching members of the opposite sex can lead to problems, so it’s wise to avoid it. Notice this isn’t a commandment - there might be a good reason to touch someone from the opposite sex. Obviously if you need to carry someone who is hurt, or save someone from drowning then there is nothing wrong with touching them in order to take care of them. However, it’s generally “good” and wise not to go around touching men or women for reasons that are obvious. (more…)[todo]
Every Christian I’ve ever met struggles to completely surrender every area of their life to the Lord. Our faith is often weaker in some areas than others. Some have an easier time trusting the Lord with money, while others have an easier time trusting the Lord with family.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. - Hebrews 11:6
It’s not surprising then that since the world rejected Jesus as the Lord of their life, they also reject His plan for their life—including who He has chosen for their spouse. This has caused them to invent dating or courtship as they try to find their own way in life by their own wisdom. With dating or courtship, the relationship can be terminated during the evaluation period if one person doesn’t find the other one suitable. In other words, Dating is a trial romance.
Waiting to be in a relationship seems to be the hardest area of our lives in which to exercise patience. A lot of that probably comes from the God-less worldview we are surrounded with every day. Online, out-and-about, at school, or at work, people are always keeping an eye out for others of the opposite sex that are attractive, or might notice them.
Our romance is an opportunity to exercise our faith and look to God for direction in marriage. Jesus is Lord of our lives and the only person trustworthy and wise enough to make important choices like who are spouse will be.
Dating and courting are not seen anywhere in the Bible. Some good examples we see in Scripture of how couples come to marriage are Godly couples like Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebecca, and Joseph and Mary. All these had marriages arranged and directed by God. Sometimes God used the family, servants, or even fathers to help. In fact, the ultimate (and only lasting) marriage is Christ and the Church (the true marriage). As part of the bride of Christ, we are betrothed to Christ.
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. - 2 Corinthians 11:2
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. - Ephesians 1:13-14
Jesus did not “date” the Church. He did not “test drive” the Church to see if they were compatible. Instead, in our darkest hour, Jesus obediently sacrificed himself for us as God had already promised.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:6-8
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. - Revelation 19:6-9
But I’ve Seen Dating Work
In America, where dating is common, many godly couples have dated and subsequently married and went on to live their lives in a way that glorified and honored God. And even some of the most rocky relationships have been (despite the situations) redeemed by God to create godly marriages. However, that doesn’t mean dating is the best way to pursue relationships.
The question isn’t whether God can use or overcome your choices to produce a good outcome, but whether you want to glorify Christ in every way - including your marriage. Even the most pure dating situations fail to live up to the Scriptural ideas about romance.
Dating is not treating your brothers (or sister) in all purity, it’s not resisting the desires of the flesh, it’s not relying on God to confirm who you should marry, it’s not walking in faith as God leads, and it’s not imitating Christ and the church.
Dating is used by the world because they reject God’s plan for their lives and seek instead to gratify their own pleasures. Christians are called to a higher (and more beautiful) standard.