Biblical standards for dating

In a certain sense, Jacob’s marriage to Rachel was through courtship (though his marriage to Leah was through trickery! Now, with the increasing complexity of the modern society, arranged marriages are all but extinct.Few parents are willing to arrange marriages for their children; and few children would be happy to be forced into marriage by their parents.

Some years ago when my wife and I started going out together, my wife’s Bible Study leader in the parachurch group we were in gave her a book on dating. Clair and Bill Jones, has a very attractive title:(Here’s Life Publishers, 1987). But now looking back I am glad that my wife did not apply the principles taught in it, or I might not have married her! It gives a ‘sanctified’ definition of dating as: “A growing friendship between a guy and a girl which honours Jesus Christ as each person puts the other’s need first” (p. As the book progresses, however, it becomes quite clear that the authors are simply trying to force-fit some biblical guidelines into a questionable worldly practice which is at worst a sensual and meaningless end-in-itself relationship experiment, and at best a rather selfish trial-and-error spouse fishing method.

Consider how the authors exalt non-commitment in dating and deprecate commitments.

Yes, it must be entered with the understanding that there could be good reasons eventually to call off the relationship; but the reasons must be biblical.

Lost of the “cloud nine feeling,” the appearance of a “holy hunk or spiritual fox,” or even quarrel are certainly not right reasons.

Indeed, I do not think we can make a biblical case for a girl and a boy going out together alone on a date just for fun or for making friends. Someone may ask: But how do you know it is God’s will for you to marry someone whom you have not had a long time of consistent dating to get to know very well?

If not, how could you enter into a relationship with a goal of marriage?

You are committed, so you no longer have the freedom to go out with others. We will be hard pressed to prove that dating is always sinful.

This can create problems if a holy hunk or spiritual fox arrives on the scene” (p. But I do believe that the practice of casual dating is one of the causes of moral laxity in the American culture.

If they date fairly often, they date other people as well. the couple dates no one else because they have a commitment to date only each other.

This is the healthiest stage of dating, because a person builds friendship with many different people…” (p. They may or may not have talked about their commitment.

Of course, “in the Lord” can and ought be more narrowly defined as in our Confession, so that “such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters:…

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