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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






19 October 2005

Interracial Marriage


Q: Do you know how many interracial marriages there are in the Bible and who they are?

A: As noted in a previous post, the Bible doesn’t speak much of race as a factor in marriage. It focuses on belief.

With what I already wrote, I here add a few examples from Scripture: We know that Rahab of Jericho and Ruth of Moab both married into Israel, and both were in Jesus’ human line. So was Bathsheba, whose name means “Daughter of Sheba.” Ruth was sort of a “shirttail cousin” to Boaz, since Moab was descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot through his incestuous relationship with his daughter after Sodom fell. We cannot identify the race of Bathsheba.

Interracial MarriageAs far as the Bible is concerned, it appears that race is a non-issue. While it sounds like a cliche, the only race that truly matters to God is the human race.

Nations might be important at certain times, but relationship with God is the only real factor that is mentioned over and over when the Lord speaks of who should marry whom. A Christian should seek to marry another Christian, as Saint Paul wrote, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)”

In 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, Paul detailed his own thoughts should one spouse come to faith after marriage while the other remains unbelieving: God can work through the believing spouse to convert the unbeliever. However, if the unbeliever decides to end the marriage, the Lord allows the believer to let the other go in good conscience.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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