Type the word "dating" into your Bible search tool, and what comes up? Nothing.

I remember wishing there was an entire book of the Bible dedicated to the topic when I was single, or at least a chapter. Now, I get emails from singles across the country looking for guidance on who and how to date.

While many start off with intentions of finding a godly partner, with each passing year the waiting feels longer and the hoping gets harder. Slowly, we can find ourselves starting to second-guess our original standards, wondering if we've been too extreme or unrealistic. Within that struggle, inevitably the question comes up: Can a Christian date a non-Christian?

The Bible addresses the hardships that come with marrying a nonbeliever, so that's rather clear. But single Christians may be tempted to say, "Well, it doesn't talk about dating. Can't we just date?"

To answer, it's important to take a step back and look at some principles found in Scripture. In Corinthians, Paul writes to a new group of Christians, who've asked him what's okay and not okay for them to partake in as believers in Christ. Paul then challenges the church not to simply ask, "Is it okay?" but instead to ask, "Is it beneficial?" (1 Cor. 10:23).

When a topic isn't directly addressed in the Bible, this can be a helpful guide for us. Because yes, it's okay for us to date someone who doesn't profess Christ. But to ask Paul's question, does it benefit our walk? Does it push us closer to Jesus? God doesn't call us to simply go after the acceptable in life, but the best, most enriching, most God-glorifying. Dating a nonbeliever may not be a sin, but we can do ourselves ...

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