Dating is a modern phenomenon and did not exist as we know it in the time the Bible was written. However, it is a reality of today’s world. There are a few societies that continue to arrange marriages for their children—a custom common in biblical times—but it’s becoming rarer. It’s not something that we can implement in our current culture. Therefore, we must teach our children what it means to live as Christlike as possible, even in how they date. So the same Scriptures I mentioned for parenting apply to dating as well. If we keep Christ central in our lives and teach our kids to do the same, it hopefully will carry over to whom they choose to date and how they date that person.
That said, we live in a world full of temptations and even kids raised well may fail. But when they fail, they’ll know they can turn to a Savior who loves and accepts them as they are and is anxious to forgive and restore them. This life lesson will carry them much further than just being able to obey your rules, as necessary as those may be.
The explicit commands of Scripture are never more important than in marriage. Passages such as “love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) are perhaps the hardest to apply in marriage where we often battle for our own way. In marriage, we commit to learning to love one person as ourselves, and we get a lifetime together to work on this unique relationship. Whether you’ve been married 2 years or 60, you will still struggle in applying this verse. Because of that, this verse is far more important to having a good marriage than the passages we usually focus on for marriage.
Of all areas to be wary of our certainty, it should be our theological systems. My husband trains pastors in developing countries and has recognized his own biases as he learns from these pastors. They’ve been taught a system different from his own, and both are challenged equally as they go to Scripture and try to determine what it’s actually saying. This is particularly noteworthy when coming to a verse or passage where you think, It can’t possibly mean that!
The Gray Areas of Scripture
So where does that leave us? What specifically do women in ministry need to remember as they teach, counsel, and disciple in relation to the “grayness” of Scripture on so many of these topics? It means that we get no simple black and white answers. We must wrestle with and admit uncertainty in these areas and be willing to have others disagree with us. But no matter what, we should cling to the clear teachings of Scripture, especially verses such as 1 John 14:6, “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.”