The guidelines that God has given for dating must be fully understood if we are to follow them. The two very basic ‘guard rails’ in Christian dating are typically portrayed as ‘Don’t have sex before marriage,’ and ‘Don’t date non-Christians’. God sets up these guard rails for our protection but each of them needs to be understood as God intended them so that the meaning comes through.
To tell people to not have sex until marriage is a total counter cultural idea. The culture teaches that sexuality isn’t worth much and that a person should just do what feels right. If someone wanted to they would not have to look very far to find a sexually explicit ad or bar just in Seattle alone. The Bible though teaches something very different. Matthew 15:19-20, Romans 13:13-14, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 say that sexual sin is something that we as Christians are to stay away from. To study what ‘sexual sin’ actually is referring to we go to the original language. What these verses call sexual sin, sexual immorality or fornication comes from the Greek word porneuo which means to indulge in unlawful lust. Unlawful is a simple word to understand, it is going against a law. In Matthew 5:28, lust is the Greek word epithumeo which means to long for, covet, or desire with passion or heavy breathing. In Exodus 20:14, we find that adultery is against God’s law, therefore sexual sin as seen in the English Bible today technically means to desire passionately anyone that is not your spouse. As you see, there is a lot more to this simplistic Christian dating rule than just the physical act of having sex.
Christian dating ‘guard rail’ number two is to only date Christians. This too has been made much more simplistic today. 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 shows that this equally yoked idea applies to more than just guy/girl relationships but also close friendships and any other form of partnership we have a choice in. Most often this is generalized to mean that the person must confess or say that they are Christians but that is not entirely true. Just as in the Bible some people will claim to know God when in reality they do not (Matthew 7:21-23). The Bible makes it clear that God cares who you spend your time with and call your friends. He wants you to avoid joining yourself in union with those seeking worldly pleasures more than Him. Therefore to be equally yoked is to learn to have relationships with people who are seeking God with their lives in equal portion to you.