What does the Bible say
about Interracial Marriage?

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What does the Bible say about interracial marriage? Did Noah's sons marry women of different races? Did God allow the men of ancient Israel to have an interracial marriage? Let us notice from the scriptures that what God forbids in His Word is NOT people of different skin colors marrying but marriages where one person worships God and the other person either does not and/or actively believes and worships a FALSE god. In Exodus 34 we find:

15 Do not make any treaties with the people of the country, because when they worship their pagan gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you to join them, and you will be tempted to eat the food they offer to their gods. 16 Your sons might marry those foreign women, who would lead them to be unfaithful to me and to worship their pagan gods. (Exodus 34)

From these verses we can clearly see that God's concern was that marriage to those outside the "church" (Israel was the Church of the Old Testament) would cause Israel to turn away from him. These verses have nothing to do with interracial marriage. The command is similar to what we read in the New Testament in 2Corinthians 6:

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers." (2Corinthians 6:14)

God has given his people the liberty to marry anyone in the Lord regardless of race or skin color. The issue was the same for the Church in the wilderness. Now, some may agree that the main issue had to do with religion, but will still hold on to the idea that race was also included. Let's notice God's ruling on race once religion is taken care of:

"And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; AND HE SHALL BE AS A NATIVE OF THE LAND . . ." (Exodus 12:48)

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If a stranger becomes "as a native of the land" then it would no longer be wrong for this person to wed an Israelite. Thus, we see that scripture forbids those of differing religions, NOT differing races, to marry.

Did EACH of Noah's sons have an interracial marriage in order to perpetuate certain races after the flood? No. God's word does not support this view. Rather, God's Word tells us we are all of one blood (Acts 17:26). We are all the descendants of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:20). We are all the descendants of Noah. We are all of one race (the human race or family). If we trace our roots back, why stop at the sons of Noah? What scripture indicates that we should stop there? Another commonly misunderstood scripture regarding this topic of interracial relationships is found in Genesis 6:9 where it says,

"This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God."

Some believe the phrase, "perfect in his generations," means Noah was the only racially pure person alive.A closer look at the verses surrounding this statement shows this cannot be the correct interpretation. God said Noah was "perfect in his generations" when he called him to build the ark. God then gave Noah 120 years to build it and preach righteousness before He would send the flood (Genesis 6:3). At the time of Noah's calling at the age of 480 (2448 B.C.) his father Lamech was alive as well. His grandfather Methusaleh was also still alive. How could Noah be the only racially "pure" person at the same time his father and grandfather were alive? Were they racially impure and Noah was not? If racial purity was God's concern, why did he not consider Lamech and Methusaleh "perfect" as well?

Why did God scatter the nations at Babel after Noah's flood? Was it to keep interracial marriages from occurring? We find our answer in Genesis 11:1-8. Nimrod led an organized rebellion against God in the building of the tower of Babel. God then scattered man abroad so that unified opposition to him, leading to worldwide destruction, would not occur until its appointed time (see Acts 17:26-30).

Another scripture that is generally misused to support some sort of separation between races is Leviticus 19:19 which states:

". . . You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you."

This scripture says absolutely nothing about interracial matrimony. It speaks about breeding livestock and sowing your field. When we read the entirety of Leviticus 18 and 19, we find that God is very specific and straight to the point in all of his instructions. God takes the time to make his intention abundantly clear. We should not read our own interpretation into this verse. Nowhere in the scriptures does it state this verse applies to interracial relationships occurring either through dating or to those married. In fact, if we apply this verse to being married, we will actually break other scriptures including the verse above Leviticus 19:19 -

". . . but you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18).

Did God start his chosen nation, Israel, with all the natural advantages of a superior heredity? If Israel's heredity was superior, then everyone else - all other races - must be inferior. This all sounds racist. Yet, many scriptures clearly contradict this view. Let's notice from the scriptures the REAL reason why God chose Israel:

"And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day. " (Deuteronomy 4:37-38).

Notice that God says he chose Israel because of the faithfulness of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and not because of their interracial laws. The scripture also indicates that the other nations were in fact GREATER than Israel, not inferior. God did not choose Israel due to any superior heredity, righteousness, or race on their part. He chose them according to the promise he made to Abraham. Moreover, God chose and blessed Abraham because he obeyed him and not because he was a certain skin color (Genesis 26:5).

A church’s policy on race must stand on the Bible alone. Since the scriptures do not forbid interracial marriage or say that it is wrong then we must not forbid it either.

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