Does the Bible forbid people of different races to marry? Yes and No!

Before you get too worried about the "Yes" answer, let's explain the "No" part. There is not even a hint that it is wrong for a man of European ethnicity, for example, to marry a lady from an Indian background. As the old children's chorus put it in somewhat politically incorrect language many years ago: "Red and yellow, back and white / All are precious in his sight / Jesus loves the little children of the world." And in the greatest marriage of all time, a Man from the Middle East will marry a Multi-Ethnic Bride called the Church.

Does this mean that the Bible endorses inter-racial marriage? No - but not because it is racist.The Bible does not say it is wrong for people of two races to marry. It tells us it is impossible for people of two races to marry. How so? Because there is only one human race. Trying to defend inter-racial marriage (at least in those terms) is actually racist because it assumes that the European male and Indian female in our hypothetical example come from two races. It denies the much more radical Biblical reality that we are all one race because we all trace our ancestry back to one father, Adam.

But there's the rub. With that reality in view, the Bible does forbid inter-racial marriage. For Paul is clear: in Christ, God begins a whole new race. When we become Christians we are "in Christ" rather than "in Adam". And between those two races, there can be no inter-marriage. Such an inter-racial marriage is called "unequal yoking" (2Cor 6:14). The Bible really is black and white on this issue. It was to this reality that the Old Testament ban on Jews inter-marrying with the surrounding nations pointed. And this gives us a dramatic illustration of how profound is the difference when we truly become a Christian. More radically different than the ethnic distinction between a European city dweller and an Indian who has never left her village.

May God's grace enable us to be that different because we are "in Christ" rather than "in Adam".