When dating is mentioned inside the church, no difference is often mentioned from the dating of the world[1]. I vividly remember the “singles and singles again class” my mom attended at church years ago. The class was practically a glorified dating service. Does the Bible explicitly say anything about dating? How should a Christian date according to the Bible? When one searches for the word “date” in the NIV, the results include days and Middle Eastern fruit[2]. The Bible may not refer directly to dating; however, the Bible shows implications of dating in the first male and female, the gospel[3], and their applications.

Adam and Eve are the first male and female to ever be in a marriage relationship. They did not date before; God created them in matrimony. What does this have to do with dating? The creation of man is distinct from other creations in the fact that man was created in God’s image[4]. Genesis 1:26 magnifies the triune relationship of God: “Let ‘Us’ make man in ‘Our’ image.” This trinity is part of the image of God: oneness yet separate, the same yet distinct. God makes man in His image even in somewhat of a triune image, “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.”[5] The man and the woman are distinct yet one—an earthly picture of a heavenly reality. This manifests a desire for oneness in the majority of mankind. Mankind desires this oneness designed for marriage; however, the oneness is only designed for the confines of marriage.

In Ephesians 5, Genesis 2:24 repeats as Paul explains Biblical marriage. Paul’s commentary on this verse relates it directly to the gospel, “This mystery[6] is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.”[7] Paul’s explication of the verse (the only divinely inspired commentary) correlates Genesis 2:24 to Christ and the church. Therefore Genesis 2:24 could be read as, “This is why [Christ] leaves [H]is [F]ather and mother and bonds with [the church], and they become one flesh.” What Christians do in marriage merely pictures the heavenly reality of Christ and the church.

How Christians date tells the world what Christians believe about the Gospel. Dating is simply a precursor to marriage; however, the world and a large amount of Christians have made dating into another relationship category. Is dating a relationship category in the Bible? No. God honoring human relationship categories in the Bible are neighbors, brothers/sisters, and marriage.[8] The dating relationship category is manmade. A relationship designed to experience some of the oneness (whether it is physical or emotional), without the confines of marriage, does not honor God. Dating as a new relationship status says Christ tried to experience oneness with others not a part of the church. Christ did not ‘date’ the church as in a new relationship, but He pursued the church.

Christians in no way should date like the world. How Christians date is effected by the oneness of marriage, the gospel, and what dating says about the gospel. Biblically, one man is to pursue one woman to be bound in matrimony for the rest of their lives: this is the picture of the gospel. Christ pursues the church to be bound with her for all eternity.

[1] When referreng to “world” the essayist refers to that which manifests itself in any idea, system, process, behavior, thought, pattern, or image that leads people away from life with God and toward a life consumed with themselves.

[2] http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=date&qs_version=NIV

[3] The gospel technically encompasses all the parts of the essay, but this point will explicitly talk about the gospel.

[4] Gen. 1:26

[5] Genesis 2:24 (emphasis added)

[6] Mystery referring to Gen 2:24 or Gal. 5:31

[7] Galatians 5:32

[8] I apologize for not giving Biblical back up on this statement because the lack of time; however I am willing to do a systematic study on this or give you a book suggestion.