Ask Your Preacher
Does the Bible support courtship?
Looking For A Verdict
Dear Looking For A Verdict,
The dictionary defines ‘courtship’ as ‘a period during which a couple develop a romantic relationship, especially with a view to marriage’. Using that definition, the Bible highly supports courtship. All positive Biblical examples of men and women in romantic relationships include a view towards marriage. God doesn’t intend for people to be romantically involved without also being maritally minded. The entire book of Song of Solomon addresses the romantic relationships between men and women… and marriage is the long-term outlook.
There are many different views on what courtship should look like (and that is in the realm of opinion, not Biblical insight), but the general principle of viewing all romantic relationships as an attempt at finding your lifelong mate is definitely appropriate. Unlike the prevalent worldview that teaches us to focus on the physical side of the opposite gender, the Bible teaches that we should seek to know the inner character of someone we would like to build a life with (1 Pet 3:3-4). Men are to treat women as they would want their sisters treated, and women are to treat men as they would have their brothers treated (1 Tim 5:2). Romantic relationships are designed to help us find that one person that we will “leave and cleave” with to start our own family (Eph 5:31).
I am in a relationship with a guy who has a child from a previous relationship. He was never married to this person. He has asked God for forgiveness and sets a great christian example for his daughter. My question is: is it okay for me to be in this relationship being that he had a child out of wedlock (although he has asked for forgiveness), or is this something that God frowns upon?
Dear Marriage Material,
Yes, it was a sin for him to have a child outside of marriage (1 Thess 4:3-4). Yes, a christian can be forgiven of that sin (1 Jn 1:9). Yes, it is okay for you to date and, if you desire, eventually marry him. Sin is a horrible thing, but if you couldn’t date people who have sin in their past… you couldn’t date anyone (Rom 3:23).
The key is to make sure that you, and he, are using the Bible as the guide to your life now. God deeply loves every human being and rejoices over each sinner that repents and turns back to Him (Lk 15:7).
I have a friend that is a christian, but the father of her child is not. They no longer date, but she still cares for him. He will not work or spend time with his child. He does not give the child financial support. He studied the Bible for a short time but lost interest because nothing changed in his life. Apart from her own interests, she still wants to be with him for the child's sake. He wants to control her and does not want her to date other guys. He becomes very upset when she dates christian guys. What does the Bible say about their relationship? And what advice can I give her according to the Bible?
Aiding A Friend
Dear Aiding A Friend,
As we often say when we answer these types of questions – we here at AYP will avoid the details of the personal aspect of this question and deal primarily with the Bible one. There is no quick and easy answer for the personal side that can be addressed through a website. These kinds of problems take godly friends, faith, and time to sort out.
The emotional baggage involved with this situation is sticky, but the Bible facts are simple. She is not married to this man and has ZERO responsibility to date/court/marry someone that meets his approval. An ungodly man disliking godly choices is nothing new (Jhn 3:20). Without dwelling upon the past choices that led her to having a child with a man she is not married to, it is fair to say that she will only find a good life for herself and her child if she makes better choices… godly choices (Gal 6:7-9). She needs to begin sowing a better life for herself. The only hope she has of finding a life that is good for herself (and for her child – Pr 22:6) is to begin to fear God and keep His commandments above all else (Ps 111:10). Only when we prize God above all other relationships do we succeed in life. Serving Christ often brings great strife into our lives, but ultimately it bears the fruit of long-term peace (Gal 5:22). Even though it sets us at odds with those around us, including loved ones, we must press on and endure, so that we might be found worthy of Christ (Matt 10:34-38). Christianity is about making Bible choices regardless of how hard they might seem.
I have a friend, and he bounces back and forth with his spiritual beliefs. At the present time, this person is intimate with his cousin. I could explain the story, but the relevance I am looking for is Biblical. Where in the scriptures does it talk about intimacy with cousins, family members, and so forth as wrong? We grow up as kids being taught that it is wrong. My friend thinks since he is not breaking any laws and they’re not having children, it is okay. I know his motives are all wrong; it is all about the pleasure and selfish desires. Please provide guidance and suggestions on how to approach this matter. I am one who cares, but I also realize I am powerless. What others do with their lives does not affect me… is it my business?
My Family Tree Forks
Dear My Family Tree Forks,
In the New Testament, there is only one place that addresses the issue of fornication with family members. 1 Cor 5:1 mentions a man who had taken his father’s wife. This verse wouldn’t condemn marrying a first cousin. In fact, there aren’t any verses that would condemn that choice. It may be socially unacceptable in America in this age (fifty years ago in America it was a fairly common practice), but it is not a sin. The only intra-family relationships that are ever condemned in the Bible are relations among immediate family members (Lev 18:6-18). The ordinance reaches as far as aunts and uncles, but it does not extend all the way to cousins.
However, this seems to be the least of your friend’s problems. From what you have told us, he is committing fornication. That is a sin no matter who is involved (1 Cor 6:18). However, if your friend doesn’t care what the Bible says on that topic (and you have indicated that he doesn’t), you will be wasting your breath. Don’t throw your pearls before swine (Matt 7:6). Sadly, there is nothing you can do if he doesn’t want your help.
I live with my boyfriend whom I have known for five years; I moved in with him eight months ago. Everything was good and happy the first few months. Now he stops taking me out and goes places alone. He sits on his computer and IMs a girl he is planning to go see… but told me at first it was a guy. He is paying for weekend airfare to Texas from Florida, but can’t take me to dinner. I love him but don’t know what I should do. Can you help me get him off the computer and away from a weekend fling and back to our happiness? It's really all I'm asking for.
The Way It Was
Dear The Way It Was,
You aren’t happy because you aren’t feeding the needs of your soul. Human beings are physical creatures as well as spiritual creatures. The physical part of us wants to fulfill whatever desires we have at the moment – the need for companionship, sexual desires, hunger, anger release, etc. The problem is that if we live like we are only physical creatures, we destroy our lives. We aren’t only flesh and blood – humans are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). We have souls, and when we make choices that are sinful, we harm ourselves. It is only when we depart from evil that we preserve our souls (Pr 16:17).
God intends for a man and a woman to live together only when they are married (Heb 13:4). Living with your boyfriend erodes the relationship instead of bolstering it. Living with your boyfriend is sinful, and it is no surprise that you are having problems because of it. Living with your boyfriend was a fleshly decision, not a spiritual one. Only in marriage will God bless you with happiness. Since your boyfriend hasn’t committed to be your husband, it stands to reason that he isn’t committed to you.
You need to move out. You are sinning (1 Cor 6:18). Only when you begin to live your life by God’s standard will you feed the needs of your soul and be truly happy. Jesus said that He is life (Jhn 14:6). Only by following Jesus’ teachings found in the Bible will you find true happiness and eternal life. Flee from immorality and begin to live by God’s standards. Feel free to write us back at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist, and we will be happy to teach you how to start a new and happy life in Christ.