I’ve heard people use Deuteronomy 7:3-4 to say the Bible forbids interracial marriage. But God was warning His people not to marry the people of other races because they were not worshippers of God, but of idols, false gods. As Solomon was compromised through the idolatry of some of his wives, the people as a whole drew away from God.
The Israelites would be led astray from God if they intermarried with idol worshippers, pagans, or heathens. This is exactly what happened to the nation as a whole: “Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god” (Malachi 2:1). It was not a difference in skin color that was at issue!
In the New Testament people of all nations and races were coming to faith in Christ. The New Testament parallel to those Old Testament texts would be, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
It’s not interracial marriage that’s wrong, but marrying an unbeliever, or one who doesn’t believe in Jesus. (Of course, God forgives this sin, like others, and countless faithful Jesus-followers came to Christ after marriage, and their spouses haven’t yet done so—my point is not to criticize and certainly not to encourage divorce!)
I believe interracial marriage between believers is God-honoring, and can be a beautiful demonstration of Romans 10:12, “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.” It can also be viewed as a symbolic picture of Heaven, where we’re shown the beauty of all races (which in fact are part of the one human race) coming together to worship Jesus:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9-10)
I’ve mentioned before my respect for Trillia Newbell, author of United. This 4-minute video of Trillia and her husband Thern sharing their thoughts on living an interracial marriage is worth watching.
(John Piper has also written some helpful thoughts on race and interracial marriage.)
Image credit: alfredo-9 via freeimages.com
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.