OK. Let's take care of some basic definitions. We may define biblical dating as a method of introduction and carrying out of a pre-marital relationship between a single man and a single woman:
The Scriptural support for the idea of biblical dating is largely by example and implication. We will look at a number of passages over the course of our discussions that support various aspects of biblical dating, but for the moment, let me just give you some references to study:
- That begins (maybe) with the man approaching and going through the woman's father or family;
- that is conducted under the authority of the woman's father or family or church; and
- that always has marriage (or at least a determination regarding marriage to a specific person) as its direct goal.
Again, we'll talk more about these and other passages as we deal with specific questions.
- I Corinthians 6:9-7:19 (command to be pure, seriousness of sexual sin and instructions regarding marriage)
- I Thessalonians 4:1-8 (do not wrong or defraud one another in relationships — by implying a relationship or commitment by your words or conduct that does not actually exist)
- Song of Solomon 2:7 ("do not awaken love before it pleases" — i.e. before the proper time, meaning marriage)
- Proverbs 6:20-7:27 (warning to avoid sexual sin and foolish relationships)
- James 1:13-15 (temptation is from Satan and to be taken very seriously)
- Romans 13:8-14 (love others, work for their soul's good; don't look to please self)
- Romans 14:1-15:7 (favor others, not self ... value what's good to their souls)
- I Timothy 5:1-2 (treat single women as sisters in Christ, with absolute purity)
- Titus 2:1-8 (young men and women should focus on self-control/godliness)
- John 14:15 (if you love Christ, you will obey His commands — read: above your own desires — and live biblically)
We may basically define modern dating as a method of introduction and carrying out of a pre-marital relationship between a single man and a single woman:
Now, the biblical support for the modern approach to dating ... (insert crickets, tumbleweeds, person whistling here).... That was it. There isn't any. The very idea of extended romantic or sexual involvement outside of marriage doesn't even appear in Scripture unless it is described as illicit (sinful). Furthermore, it doesn't even appear in any society, western or otherwise, in any systematic way until the 20th century! While the principles supporting biblical dating have their beginnings with the very structure of the family, modern dating has its origins with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. It is brand new, and yet, seemingly, it is all we know.
- that begins with either the man or the woman initiating with the other;
- that is conducted outside the formal oversight or authority of either person's family or church; and
- that may or may not have marriage as its goal and is often purely "recreational" or "educational."
Differences Between Modern Dating and Biblical Dating
So what's the real difference? Here are some fundamentals:
Modern dating philosophy assumes that there will be several intimate romantic relationships in a person's life before marriage. In fact, it advocates "playing the field" in order to determine "what one wants" in a mate. Biblical dating has as its goal to be emotionally and physically intimate with only one member of the opposite sex ... your spouse.
Modern dating tends to be egalitarian (no differences between men and women in spiritual or emotional "wiring" or God-given roles). Biblical dating tends to be complimentarian (God has created men and women differently and has ordained each of these spiritual equals to play different and valuable roles in the church and in the family).
Modern dating tends to assume that you will spend a great deal of time together (most of it alone). Biblical dating tends to encourage time spent in group activities or with other people the couple knows well.
Modern dating tends to assume that you need to get to know a person more deeply than anyone else in the world to figure out whether you should be with him or her. The biblical approach suggests that real commitment to the other person should precede such a high level of intimacy.
Modern dating tends to assume that a good relationship will "meet all my needs and desires," and a bad one won't — it's essentially a self-centered approach. Biblical dating approaches relationships from a completely different perspective — one of ministry and service and bringing glory to God.
Modern dating tends to assume that there will be a high level of emotional involvement in a dating relationship, and some level of physical involvement as well. Biblical dating assumes NO physical intimacy, and more limited emotional intimacy outside of marriage.
Modern Dating assumes that what I do and who I date as an adult is entirely up to me and is private (my family or the church has no formal or practical authority). Biblical dating assumes a context of spiritual accountability, as is true in every other area of the Christian life.
Basically, we can make three general statements about modern dating vs. biblical dating in terms of their respective philosophies:
That's it. That's a basic framework for biblical dating as best I can discern it from the principles of God's word. Now, you're on. No question is too broad or too specific, too theoretical, too theological, or too practical. Agree with what I've said, or challenge it. This is how iron sharpens iron.
- Modern dating seems to be about "finding" the right person for me (as my friend Michael Lawrence has written on this site); biblical dating is more about "being" the right person to serve my future spouse's needs and be a God-glorifying husband or wife.
- In modern dating, intimacy precedes commitment. In biblical dating, commitment precedes intimacy.
- The modern dating approach tells us that the way to figure out whether I want to marry someone is to act like we are married. If we like it, we make it official. If we don't, then we go through something emotionally — and probably physically — like a divorce. In biblical dating, Scripture guides us as to how to find a mate and marry, and the Bible teaches, among other things, that we should act in such a way so as not to imply a marriage-level commitment until that commitment exists before the Lord.
Just remember one thing: we're in this together — for His Glory.
Article By: Biblical Dating: An Introduction