So you think you can date?

Image: So you think you can date?

Answering some of the big questions about sex, purity, and dating

Fervr interviews regular contributor Alex Greaves for his thoughts on Christians, dating, and sexual purity.

Q: Alex, what does the Bible say about dating?

A: The Bible doesn’t say anything specific about dating. When the Bible was written, the only people who had any real choice over who they married were widows and widowers, so dating didn’t really occur.

Q: Okay, does the Bible say anything that might impact Christians when they begin thinking about dating and sexual purity?

A: It definitely does! In Genesis 2:24-25, we read:

A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. So, sex (“becoming one flesh”) is a good thing that God created, but it’s designed for a husband and wife only.

For those who are not married, we get this command from 1 Timothy 5:1-2: Treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity. While the passage isn’t specifically addressing sex, sex does fall within its scope. Christians are meant to treat other people with all purity, including their boyfriend or girlfriend.

Q: A common question people ask about sexual purity is 'how far can I go?' What are you thoughts on that?

A: 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to “flee from sexual immorality”.

So asking how far you can go with your boyfriend/girlfriend is exactly the wrong question to be asking. It’s like playing a game of soccer, and trying to see how close to your own goal you can get the ball. It’s just not what you’re supposed to do – you should try to keep the ball as far away as possible. In the same way, you should try to stay as far away from doing something wrong sexually when you are dating.

Q: So do you think that it may be better if Christians don’t date at all?

A: 1 Corinthians 7:6-7 and 7:25-35 say that singleness can be a good thing, a gift from God .

However, I think that a ban on Christians dating is taking 1 Corinthians 6:18 a bit too far. Nowadays, it would be very hard for a Christian to marry someone without dating him/her first, so I’d say that Christians are free to date, but they should do it biblically, dating the right person at the right time, and staying pure throughout the process.

Q: You said that Christian dating is about when and who? Okay, when should someone date?

A: Christians should only date if they can see themselves getting married in the near future, and should only date to see if this person is the right person to spend the rest of their lives with.

Dating “because it feels good”, “because he/she’s hot”, “because I feel lonely” or “because I don’t want to feel left out” are essentially selfish reasons. On top of that, you’re risking putting each other in a situation where you won’t be treating each other with purity.

Q: Okay, then, who should Christians date/marry?

A: The Bible sets a few rules for who Christians can marry, and therefore who Christians should date. Prospective partners should not be already married, and should be of the opposite gender. As a very strong guideline, it’s also best for Christians to only date other Christians.

Q: So do you have any other practical tips on dating while still “fleeing sexual immorality”?

A: These are some tips I’ve heard from mature Christians (often ones who have married). These are not rules – they’re guidelines – but I’d recommend them to any Christian who wants to date:

  • Always pray about remaining pure – by yourself and with another, mature Christian friend of the same gender.
  • Don’t be alone together. Go out in groups or meet in open, public places (e.g. coffee shops).
  • Set up boundaries to make sure you don’t fall into sexual impurity, even accidentally. Some people I know who take this seriously won't even kiss during dating – they have a fantastic relationship!
  • Take dating as a time to practice being faithful, and develop self-control.
  • Ask another mature Christian friend (of the same gender) to keep you accountable.
  • Keep your eyes on the end – if you don’t see yourself marrying the other person, you should break it off. Do this lovingly and respectfully. Respect the other person’s decision if he/she wants to break up with you for this reason.

Christian dating is almost completely counter-cultural. It’s often very hard to keep to what the Bible says. However, with effort and God’s help, we can keep sexually pure. You can even use your relationship to show others the impact that God has had on your lives! Above all, keep your eyes on the ultimate prize: Jesus our King, the forgiveness of sins and the hope that he’s given us, and the service that we can render to him in response.

Comments (16)

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  • user

    Travis

    I really like the soccer idea. I’d probably go further and say that its not alright to date a non-christian. Great article, full of wisdom.

    • user

      Nathan

      I also like the soccer idea. I also believe it’s foolish and unwise to date a non-christian, but I can’t really find any clear scripture about this… 

      • user

        Travis

        You can find teaching relating to not marrying a non-christian (2 Corinthians 6:15). I would suggest if you wouldn’t consider dating them there’s no reason to date.

  • user

    Tim

    Thanks Alex. Some great wisdom. The soccer example is brilliant and will be using it for sure.

  • user

    Nicholas

    an even more potent example is that of a crocodile den.
    “Flee from the crocodile” does not mean “jump into the den and see how hard you can hit it without it waking up and eating you”, the same way that “flee from sexual immorality” does not mean “see how far you can go without actually having sex”.

    • user

      Ruth

      Awesome illustration.

  • user

    Luke

    I found this very helpful. The main point is that the relationship should be Jesus-centric and about building one another up in their relationship with God.

    http://phasercomputers.com/60in60/17 - Hans Kristensen - ‘Who To Date and How To Date’.mp3

  • user

    Luke

    for some reason the link decided not to work below but if you would like to check it out go to http://phasercomputers.com/60in60/ and then head down to sermon 17.

  • user

    Rachel

    This was super helpful thanks!!!!!!! <3

  • user

    Nate

    This is massively helpful! Thank you, Alex and Fervr for this. Gonna share this to others, as well.

  • user

    Sophia

    thats totally amazing.now i think i actually get it

  • user

    Ruth

    Wow, even though I am not dating, this issue is super big for me. when I talk to my friends and even in college. It is so hard to stay away from this stuff! Thanks for posting.

  • user

    Georgia

    Awesome article! It made me realise that I’m not the only person battling through our society today!!! Some really wise advice. 

    • user

      Ruth

      *like this post*