Unequally Yoked? Meaning, Scriptures and Lesson

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What does the Bible mean by saying we are not to be unequally yoked?  What do the Scriptures say this means and why are we commanded to not be unequally yoked.

The Yoke

What is a yoke?  A yoke is an implement that is used to harness animals together to pull a load or a plow.  The yoke is a familiar and useful tool to agrarian (farming) societies.  This device is used to join a pair of animals, like oxen, to work together, simultaneously.  They can be used to pull out tree trunks, move boulders, pull logs, to plow fields, or pull a loaded cart.  The yoke is often used in the Bible to express the symbolism of having two that are similar in capacity so that they can both work together.  Jesus referred to a yoke once when He told His followers to, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).  When we are walking with Christ and are in Christ, we can share the load of our life with Him and the walk, although not easy, will be more bearable.

Unequally Yoke

A yoke is an implement that is used to harness animals together to pull a load or a plow.

A yoke is an implement that is used to harness animals together to pull a load or a plow.

What did Paul mean when he said to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14)?  Does he mean with friends or with those we are dating or considering marriage with?  I believe it is all of these that Paul was addressing but he may be emphasizing marriage in these texts.  In the context we can see that Paul was writing about unbelievers (including friends), those we might consider dating, and those whom we might want to marry.  When we read the entire context of 2 Corinthians chapter six, I believe we can see the answer clearly as with any Scriptures.  Context is always important.  As a rule, I do not like to read just one verse and quote it without reading the entire chapter and possibly the entire book.  So let’s see what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial, Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

In verses 14-16 Paul contrasts light and darkness and righteousness with wickedness.  These have nothing in common.  Jesus said thatYou are the light of the world (Matthew 5:16) but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19a).  No one who believes in Christ should stay in darkness (John 12:46c).

Also consider, What harmony is there between Christ and Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15)? The answer is there is no agreement between the two!  Belial is a symbol of a demon or the Devil himself. Belial also means someone who is self-sufficient, truly independent, and has no master.  It is no wonder that Belial is a Hebrew adjective meaning “worthless.”  We must not be self-sufficient but worship and depend upon our Master…that is Jesus Christ.  These two are diametrically opposed and opposites of each other.

We are told that we are the temple of God because God the Holy Spirit dwells in us, therefore there is no place for idols. God must be first and foremost in our lives (Matthew 6:33) but this would be difficult if we marry or have as best friends those who do not believe in God.

Just as God told Israel, Come out from them and be separate (Isaiah 52:11) so we too must be separate from unbelievers in close friendships and in marriage (which includes dating non-believers).  God is our Father (2 Corinthians 6:18) but the unbelievers have Satan as their father (John 8:44).  I know that sounds harsh, but those are not my words, rather,  that is Jesus speaking.

Unequal Yokes

Imagine you see a farmer getting ready to plow his or her field.  They hook up a powerful ox to one side and on the other side, they hook up a tiny little Chihuahua.  Which side is going to work the hardest?  Will they plow together in an equal fashion?  Can they walk along and carry the load on an equal basis?  Of course not!  One will likely be dragged along and impede the progress of the other.  One may pull to the left and one may pull to the right.  The one that is the primary worker will be pulling more than their fair share.  The ox will strain because the Chihuahua will want to run away or go the other direction.  They can not work together because they are unequally yoked together.  They will have little success and the work will either not get done or it will be exponentially more difficult.  It is not fair to the Chihuahua or to the ox.  This will simply not work.  They will eventually have to be unyoked.  For some that are unequally yoked, this means divorce.  How tragic and how unnecessary; it could have been prevented.

The same principle applies to dating or considering an unbeliever as a marriage partner.  Their morals will not be the same, they may have differing principles in child rearing, their television or movie taste will be not be the same, their language, work ethic, just about everything will be different.  They will struggle at almost ever thing they do.  God commands Christians to not marry unbelievers because it is in their best interests.  No marriage is always better than a bad marriage, especially since marriage is intended to last until “death do us part.”  Don’t be fooled by thinking that you can convert them after you marry them because it is God who draws people to Christ (John 6:44).  Just because they say they believe in God does not mean they believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord for He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.  Even the Devil and his demons believe in God but that doesn’t make them Christians (James 2:19).  You will know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:16, 20) and not by what they say.  Time will tell.  Jesus meant this when He said, A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit (Matthew 7:18) and Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7:17).

Equally Yoked

When Jesus said toTake my yoke upon you,” there is the idea that we can put our heavy loads on His shoulders (which is where the yoke goes on the team of oxen).  We must be walking along side of Christ to have the yoke be useful to us. If we walk ahead of Christ, the load will be on us…if we walk behind, we will get no help with our heavy burdens…but if we walk with Christ, we have access to Christ and we can have Him share the load.  That is how we can find rest for [our] souls” for His “yoke is easy and His burden is light.”  The same principle applies to those who marry believers.  They walk together in agreement.  They can share life’s heavy loads together forTwo are better than one, because they have a good return for their work (Ecclesiastes 4:9) andIf one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up (Ecclesiastes4:10)!  Amos 3:3 puts it this way, Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

Being married to believers is like a three-fold cord because, one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).  Two are able to stand stronger than one against the Enemy but when Christ is in the marriage, it becomes a strong “cord of three strands” which is “not quickly broken.”  The idea is that when Christ is at the center of the marriage, the two become stronger because of Christ’s presence and His strength.

I have married many couples who were both believers and I have married couples who were non-believers but I refuse to marry couples where one is a believer and the other is a non-believer.  Believe me when I say this that I am trying to spare them much grief and heartache and perhaps prevent a needless divorce.

If You’re Married to an Unbeliever

What happens if you are presently married to an unbeliever?  My own opinion is worthless compared to what the Bible teaches.  Paul wrote that If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.  For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband (1 Corinthians 7:12-14).  It is crystal clear that Paul says not to divorce someone if they are not a believer because you may be an agent used by God to bring that person to saving faith.  Paul concludes this thought by writing that such a person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them (1 Corinthians 7:17).


There is no doubt that a Christian should not date, become engaged, or marry an unbeliever.  They will have trouble in their marriage to be sure, they will be unequally yoked throughout their lives, they will have many disagreements, they will struggle over ethical and moral decisions, they will differ in their child rearing philosophies, but above all God commands believers to “not be yoked together with unbelievers “ because “what fellowship can light have with darkness?“   It is for our own good and God always knows what best for us…more so than we do for He is God and we are not.

Read more about a model for the Christian marriage here:

Cord of Three Strands

Resources – New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert May 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Great article Jack,
So much heartache is caused by people joining up who are unequally yoked; whether in marriage, business, or whatever. Sooner or later, their differing worldviews will cause problems. Thanks again for this insight.
Yours in Christ,


Jack Wellman May 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I thanks Robert. I agree…it is for thier best interest to truly be married to believers if you are one and not married to unbelievers if you are one, because I personallly, on many marriage articles, have such grief they deal with. Thanks so much for the encouragement.


Al May 9, 2013 at 8:39 am

I believe and have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. The thing is I have a girlfriend who is not a Christian; she believes in God, but does not believe in Christ as her savior, and I dont know if she ever will. We met each other before I became a Christian. I have always believed but havent always been a follower of Christ.

I pray and hope for her to turn to Jesus. But maybe I should leave her, though it’s going to be hard. I just hope she’ll understand.

Thanks for the article.. it arrived at the right time. God bless you


Jack Wellman May 9, 2013 at 9:33 am

Thank you Al for your comment. This must be painful my friend. I am assuming you started to date your girlfriend before you became a Christian? I am glad that you found out though about how God feels and what His Word says for no marriage is better than a bad one and being married to an unbeliever can bring such heartache and division and if there will be children, the parents need to be on the same page.

I too hope she understands but she will not likely do so. This might be a great opportunity to sit down with her and go over these verses and tell her that you’re first love is always going to be God and that He comes first. You can also pray for her to come to know Jesus Christ.


Al May 9, 2013 at 10:52 am

Thank you Jack. Yes we started to date before I became a Christian. She has actually said she will understand if I leave her, but it will still be quite painful of course. I surely will pray for to come to know Jesus.


Al May 9, 2013 at 10:53 am

For her*


Alicia May 17, 2013 at 4:32 am


I’ve been reading your articles for a few hours now and have enjoyed all that I’ve read. I decided to search for this topic on your site, since I am a believer married to an unbeliever. It is amazing how true the scripture is on this topic. It is definitely difficult having different beliefs and views. I didn’t realize how “unbelieving” my husband was until after we were married, and it’s been bothering me. I pray about it, and I mention God/Jesus to him every once in a while, but it seems as if he’s even angry at God and has even applied that we were like His “toys.” I don’t know what happened in his life to feel like that. With completely different moral views, it will be a challenge. I recently told him that it is my duty and purpose to make Jesus a part of our children’s lives (they’re both under 4). I haven’t been to a church in a very long time, and thankfully he is respectful of my want to find a good church for myself and my children. However, he doesn’t understand me not wanting my child to play certain video games or watch certain shows and he is obviously annoyed with me at times, even somewhat angry. I’ve warned him of what is going to happen in the future, so hopefully when he sees these things, he will remember what I’ve said and see that it is all so real (persecution, rapture, mark of the beast, antichrist, etc). However, at the moment he has definitely been fooled, as he thinks it’s ridiculous to think RFID chips would be anything bad, and if a bunch of people disappear (rapture) he’d think it was aliens. Satan sure is a good deceiver! I just want to thank you for writing this article for people that are seeking answers on this subject. I will continue to pray for my husband, and will be patiently hoping for God to show him the light and love he offers.


Jack Wellman May 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Thank you Alicia. You are right to see prayer as the only true source of change for your husband for Satan is a deceiver for sure but I pray others will join us in praying for your husband to repent and see his need for a Savior in Jesus Christ and trust in Him.


kayode May 21, 2013 at 2:57 am

Thank you for this article,as you wrote it there that a non believer also believe in God but not jesus,i want you to emphasis on this sentence because am dating a muslim girl,that doesn’t believe in jesus but believe in God.and use to confuse me that we are serving thesame God.
Please,is this true that christian and muslim worshiping thesame God?


Jack Wellman May 21, 2013 at 10:20 am

Hello Kayode and thank you for your question. As painful as this is, you must not be dating a girl that doesn’t believe in Jesus for through Jesus alone is there salvation (Acts 4:12, Acts 16:30-31, John 3:16-18, John 6:44). There is no other way to God and to heaven than thru Jesus alone.

Let me say this as a warning to you and to this girl who “believes” in God. James 2:19 says “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” but of course they are not Christians. The Muslims do NOT worship the same God and Allah is not God but a false God which we are commanded to not worship which is given in the First Commandment. If you are a Christian, you are commanded to not be unequally yoked and must cut off this relationship or God will not be pleased. You must seek first and above all things, the Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt 6:33).


Laurence September 3, 2013 at 6:09 am

This is such a very interesting Article and Topic to talk about. I had loved a non believer once. I believe in Jesus Christ.Unfortunately, she does not. I am keep putting in my mind that God has a purpose why I met that person- and that is to show to that person the gospel of God and to tell that Jesus Christ is our only way to be save. I even thought to myself, that God, maybe, used me as an instrument so that I could introduce Jesus Christ to that person. Many have commented that it is better to leave that person (the non believers). I am wondered why they are giving up that easily for the person they love. Introducing Jesus Christ may be hard to accept for someone. But Since I really love that person, as much as I wanted that person to have salvation, I will do my best (though I know that it will not be a big deal to that person) to introduce to her the greatness of God. I think God will be please more if there is a one person in this planet that you had change from non believer to a believer. I think that is the main purpose why God introduce that person to my life- to test if your love could defy some ethical standards, and if that kind of barrier could detain you from loving him/her.or to test if that kind of relationship you have is worth having or not. I also belived that Love knows no boudary. I think I will just pray that I could turn that person into a believer, if not in this planet, perhaps in another lifetime.


Jack Wellman September 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Thank you Laurence for your comment. I agree that we can pray for a person who is not saved but God alone decides who is saved (Eph 1,2) and so God is the one who brings people to Christ (John 6:44). I am sorry you do not agree to 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and Paul’s, and God’s teachings. We can not change anyone on this or any other planet but God can (Prov 21:1). God is pleased when we obey Him ((2 Corinthians 6:15).


Anita Hampton January 9, 2014 at 1:58 am

Good Morning

Im a 51 year old female-Not married and dont have children.My Mom was my best friend she passed away suddenly in 2012-She left me a legacy-Taste Nita taste and see how good God is.She really loved the Lord and because of this scripture i have become more dependent on Jesus.However -I think im impatient-What i pray for never materialises.I want to stop smoking cigarettes,I need a scipture that i can turn to -to overcome this habit.I really would like my nountain of debt to dissappear-And i would really like a partner.Im not sure -But Jesus is listening to me i think.Please assist me with scriptures.Also.Your article on unqually yoked.I loved it .Thank You.However can 1 pray that the mind and heart be equally yoked to the Holy Spirit.That they become 1?


Jack Wellman January 9, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Hello Anita. I am sorry for such heartache my friend. I love your comment about being equally yoked with the Holy Spirt. Wow…that’s a great way to say it. Brilliant and thank you so much. Let me instead of one or two Scriptures, direct you to an article that may give you help with the smoking addiction at this link: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-can-i-overcome-addiction-and-sin-in-my-life/ I pray it helps and keep that battle going for if you are wanting to overcome this, this is a great sign that the Holy Spirit is working in you Anita. Keep battling…seek His supernatural power and you can do it by God’s strength.


Anita Hampton January 10, 2014 at 3:54 am

Good Afternoon Jack

Thank you so much for the feedback.I printed the article and have a weekend to read it and be encouraged by it.
Ive learnt that in all things i must trust the Lord.But there comes a time when im so desparate to hear another voice someone that answers me immediately-I miss having conversations.Almost always-I hear people say how God has blessed them-And it pains me no end that there blessings is over and above anything that i can possibly imagine.So i am being hesitant and i dare say reluctant to step out grasp Jesus hand and say lead me Lord-Here am i.Its almost a case of better the devil you know than the devil you dont know-No disrespect intended-And this bothers me no end.For that reason i questioned whether my heart and my can be equally yoked to that of the Holy Spirit.Natuarally my comment didnt come from me.That must have been the holy spirit.So i cant understand why it is that im struggling to let go-Knowing how Good God has been to me.It seems to me -That im waiting on the Lord(silently and doing nothing-im just waiting)While the Holy Spirit is waiting on ME-So im not sure whos waiting on whom and why is that anyone is waiting and not doing!!I need to break some kind of strong hold thats on or over my life-That whatever it is thats holding me back needs to be revealed and severed.But i dont know what it is yet i can feel it sometimes.


Anita Hampton January 10, 2014 at 4:06 am


1 of the questions i have is :What is the Holy Spirits Yoke.I never understood that.The analogy of cattle being yoked together to plogh a farmand that they should be of the same species,makes sense to me.But the scripture Mathew 11 vs 30- Says: For my yoke is easy but my burden is light.I dont understand what Jesus MEANS BY HIS YOKE AND HIS BURDEN BEING LIGHT.A friend of mine asked me to explain this scripture and i didnt convince myself.


Jack Wellman January 10, 2014 at 8:57 am

Jesus was not really saying that being a disciple of His would be easy but to make that decision to believe in and trust in Him is easy. Also, a yoke was usually held or the burden shared by two oxen and so if Jesus is asking you to take on His yoke, He is saying that it better to have Him take some of the load off during our trials and sorrows than to go it alone. It is easy to do this because we must bring our heavy burdens to Him and lay them at His feet and plead for His aid to should the weight. Does this make sense Anita? Thank you for such a great question.


Ella April 1, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Thank you for the article. I was having my daily devotions and came upon this verse and it seems as if the Lord is warning me not to be yoked with unbelievers. This verse, however does not apply to marriage in my situation now. I have bestfriends who are, technically speaking, unbelievers because they are not really followers of Christ so therefore they are not Christians. They believe in God but like you said thats not the same with being truly a Christian.

I know what the Lord is saying. I understand it but i think there is just something in me thats not letting the message to directly go through in me. I am now questioning that “Lord what do you really mean by yoke?” (That is how i reached here since i looked it up, praying for the Holy Spirit to lead me to an answer). After reading the article, I asked “how then am i suppose to influence these close friends of mine if I wouldn’t really go and meet with them?”

Last night my bestfriends are inviting me to meet and bond with them today at one of my bestfriends’ house but there’s something in me that was having second thoughts about the invitation and now that I am having my daily devotions (MPCWA), I received this warning. I am not sure now if the Lord is telling me not to go or just warning me to be careful when I am aroun them since if I desire to be a light in their lives, I also need to be their in their life.

I really appreciate the article you made. Praying for you Mr. Jack, may God bless you more and use your abilities more for His greater glory.


Jack Wellman April 2, 2014 at 9:14 am

Thank you Ella for your comment and honesty. I do hope you will keep the relationship open for the sake of those who are not yet saved but you already have a good understanding about what this article was saying. Well said. I pray you are salt and light to a dead, decaying, and dark world for the glory of God.


Fefe April 15, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Hi. I just want to say thank you for putting this article out there. I’m a believer married to an unbeliever and it’s one of the hardest thing a person has to go through. The best way I can explain my marriage is I feel like I’m alone all of the time. I’ve always been a believer but strayed away for a while during my early twenties, which was when we got married. Later after God called me back and I got a clearer understanding of His word, I realized that my husband and I were unequally yoked and that was the reason for all of our hardship in the marriage. It just seemed like everything I was for he was against and vice versa. He was even upset about me re-dedicating my life to the Lord. Eventually, it seemed like there was no more support, affection, respect, or trust left in the marriage. I know that the way our marriage is will potentially affect my salvation and I’m afraid of that. Even though I know Paul says that you shouldn’t divorce an unbelieving spouse I feel like that’s my only option. I have tried everything and he doesn’t want to compromise a little. He even told me that he would never “be into church” the way I am. I’m not sharing my experience to scare anyone from marriage, but I feel like this is a good example of what happens when we go outside of God’s plan.


Jack Wellman April 16, 2014 at 11:33 am

Hello Fefe and thank you for your comment. Let me say that this may affect your salvation but not take it away. As I normally first of all recommend, I would ask God to send the Holy Spirit to him to convict him of his sin and if he is not saved, then to repent and trust in Christ since God is the evangelist and He alone can change a heart (Prov 21:1) and please remember that He even changed Saul (a murderer) to Paul a love of God and perhaps the most powerful missionary ever. I so appreciate what you have told me and the readers and perhaps your mistake will keep others from making the same mistake. I will be praying and please talk to your local pastor too to see what he says and don’t delay.


Genesis May 1, 2014 at 7:54 pm

i recently have a guy who likes me and he is an unbeliever and he asked me to prom and i said yes bu we are going as friends. I am starting to like him but i know i shouldn’t be dating an unbeliever so i shouldn’t date him. I asked god about it and when i thought of no dating him it felt like a “no” like god is telling me too date him and i am confused cause i thought we are not suppose to date nonbelievers


Jack Wellman May 1, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Genesis you should speak to your pastor about this. Since you have already committed to go the prom, you can’t change that but something you said troubled me. You wrote “I asked god about it and when i thought of no dating him it felt like a “no” like god is telling me too date him.” God does speak to us but it is through His Word and not Him telling you something that is different from what’s in the Bible. Anytime you feel God is telling you something and it doesn’t agree with the Bible, then it is not from God but perhaps your own desires and inward wishes. The Bible is clear…do not date unbelievers for being unequally yoked with them will take you to places and positions and things you can compromise your faith with. How do you know God is telling you to date him? What was it that made you feel God spoke to you about this? God does not speak to us except by and through His written Word, the Bible. Please don’t date this man for it is sin to do so. You cannot ever trust what you think God is telling you but you can always trust what God tells you through the written Word.


Genesis May 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm

your right it is not from God if i doesn’t agree with his word, it is of the devil trying to get me to sin even more by being with him. I should go by what the word says and not what i think. It is hard for me too do but i know that God will get me through this. Also if the Bible says i can’t then i can’t, for the sake of protecting me and my future. No mater how much it hurts God’s grace will be there for me.

Thank You Jack


Jack Wellman May 1, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Thank you Genesis…I would be lost about God’s will without His Word. At times I struggle like you…and if fact, all believers, if they are honest, would tell you as much. Yes, it does hurt at times but you can always have peace of mind that you obeyed God and that God will bless you for that and you are saving yourself for a godly man someday who will be one of your greatest joys. I too have trouble knowing if its in God’s will or in my will and then I have the only way to know at my fingertips…the Holy Bible. Hope your prom goes well my friend and may God richly bless you and enjoy that night for these are once in a lifetime memories. When I had my prom, they were only in black and white and not color (just kidding, my prom was long ago!)> 🙂


kim August 23, 2014 at 6:27 am

Thanks for the article, I have just ended a friendship based on being unequally yoked. A person my seem that they believe, but are not. Make that a question when you are learning about friends or considering dating. Ask do you believe in Jesus? The enemy deceives with the statement I believe in God. There are many gods, there is 1 true God. It is better to be alone than be in bondage.


Jack Wellman August 23, 2014 at 8:30 am

Kim, thank you so much. I love your humility and passionate desire to obey God, no matter way. Amen to your comment that the enemy is a deceiver. I am so glad you added your powerful testimony.


Rachel August 26, 2014 at 9:48 pm

So there’s this guy that I started to talk to and we became friends on Facebook and I told him that I’m a Christian and he said that that was fine that he wouldn’t judge me or anything. We are really starting to like each other so I told him that he could come to church with me just as friends. He said that it would be hard for him to think of me as just a friend because I’m so pretty. So we’re going to see a movie tomorrow but we aren’t actually in a relationship. I just want to meet him and see what he’s like. Any advice?


Jack Wellman August 27, 2014 at 8:11 am

Hello Rachel. Please take this serious. This man says that your are pretty and that it would be hard for him to think of you just as a friend. The fact is that married couples become best friends first and then end up in marriage. He doesn’t think of you as a friend but as pretty? Advice? Do not date those who are not believers. Please re-read this article. To date him just to see what he’s like is asking for trouble. Talk to your pastor about this and he should tell you the same thing. As Paul warned, and note I said that he warned, and not suggested and so this is a biblical command “2 Corinthians 6:14-18:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial, Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

If you continue to do this despite biblical advice and counseling, you are headed for and asking for trouble. Please don’t do this.


Robert August 27, 2014 at 9:22 am

Hi Rachel,
I concur with my friend, Jack Wellman, in that this is a very serious matter you are considering. Jack is absolutely right in sounding a warning here. Basically, with his statement, “…that it would be hard for him to think of [you] as just a friend because [you’re] so pretty”, this guy is probably letting you know that he is going to want more from you (physically) than just a friendship.
His statement about “not judging you” is troubling also. What does that even mean? To me, and this is just my read on all this, that simply sounds like a smart aleck reply to a Christian from a non-Christian. Everything about this guy sends up red flags. He does not sound like a Christian at all, and he sounds like he wants more from you than a Godly woman should be willing to give.
I hope you’ll pray and make the decision God wants you to make. We’ll be praying for you.
Yours in Christ,


Jack Wellman August 27, 2014 at 11:44 am

Amen Robert…I am glad you elaborated much better on this “not judging you” and you are absolutely right brother. I feel that he is in this for more than friendship and to have someone as a girlfriend that is pretty. Well said sir. Please Rachel, take these warnings very seriously. If you get into this relationship Rachel, and it seems you already have since you have a date coming at the movies. Talk to your pastor. He will tell you likely the same thing. Don’t go on this date. The temptation could lead to serious sin.


Rachel August 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Thank you for your advice! I have actually been thinking about it a lot and I think I’m going to tell him that I’ve changed my mind and that I feel uncomfortable about going on a date with him.


Jack Wellman August 27, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Rachel, what a great relief this is to Robert and me. I thank God that we could help for we are bound to the Word of God for my opinion, like Oprah Winfrew’s, is nothing you can hang your hat on but the Word of God cannot be broken. Thank you Rachel.


jhen November 3, 2014 at 8:10 pm

hello sir, why do we need not to be yoke with the unbelievers?..
are we talking about the people or the work of satan in their life?.. we are all humans but the difference is we are believers and the others are not,,, yet those who ARE unbelievers are under satans control… so we can be yoke with unbelievers but do not be yoke with what satan had put on them.
???? they are not our enemy. its satan.. so how can we deal with them?.. kindly nswer pls. tnx..


Jack Wellman November 3, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Thank you Jhen for your comment. Please re-read this article sir. I never said that unbelievers are our enemies or that we should not ever associate or be friends with them. If you read the article you will see that I am talking about marrying an unbeliever. No Christian should marry a non-believer and that is what this article is about. Yes, Satan is our enemy and not people. I agree and I never said that in this article. Thank you so much for your comment.


Niccole January 29, 2015 at 10:04 am

I came across this website while running a search on “equally/unequally yoked”, a term that for some reason kept popping in my head. In my case I have recently had to end a friendship of many years because we were too different, and walking completely separate paths. I do believe that believers need to watch who they spend their time with. It’s not that unbelievers are evil, but that there are huge differences in moral beliefs and ways of life. In my case, the unbeliever began to personally attack me for reasons I could not understand. When I choose to follow God, there were by default things I chose not to do any longer. I chose to study the Bible and get a higher education, my friend chose to drink and be perspicuous. I choose to spend time in church and with people who also know the lord so that I can strengthen my understanding and be around those equally yoked, my friend wants to gossip, talk bad about my new friends and make fun of how I spend my time. There is no good reason for me to continue that friendship. I believe god wants us to be around others that share our beliefs. That is not to say we should never speak to those that do not believe but we must guard ourselves because the devil is sneaky and likes to used loved ones in order to gain a foothold into our lives.


Obi February 3, 2015 at 5:37 am

Thanks a lot for this article. I am a believer and married to a believer, but lots of things happen around us in our society where we need to interact or work together with unbelievers.

How can one really handle this around the office, in business places and even in schools (with our kids)? Or is being unequally yoked particular to marriage?



Jack Wellman February 3, 2015 at 8:28 am

Thank you Obi…if you read the context of these verses, you can see that Paul is writing about being yoked in marriage together but for those in the world not saved, pray for them and witness to those around you that they might be saved.


Kay June 23, 2015 at 6:40 am


I am a believer and a believe that God is always true to His words and above all, sovereign. I find the lesson and comments here very insightful. Would just like to know if a marriage of a believer and a none believer has completely no hope? is this kind of marriage just bound to fail? I have brothers who are believers and dated none believers. Eventually they got married in a Christian wedding as their partners were willing to submit to them as their husbands-to-be. Their wives started to constantly attend church with them, attend Bible studies and now share the same faith. They have honored the Gospel even from the beginning of their marriage and in raising their family. This is the same with my friend who is now a pastor and serves the Lord with his wife. I can’t help but only see this as God’s grace. Please enlighten me further.

Thank you very much.



Jack Wellman June 23, 2015 at 7:52 am

Thank you Kay for your question. Yes, there is always hope because Peter and Paul both mention that by the way the believer lives they can show Christ and perhaps win them to belief in him but for ever marriage where one believer marries and unbeliever and it works out well, I have counseled hundreds where it has ended in disaster. God says clearly we are not to be unequally yoked and to disobey this is asking for trouble because it is disobeying God. That is grace yes, but God command us to not be yoked or joined together with unbelievers and exceptions may occur but these are rare and why would you want to go against what God teaches in His Word?


mari cable July 8, 2015 at 10:34 pm

I would like to say that with a heavy heart sadly, there are many unequally yoked IN ‘christian marriages’ suffering. Truth and untruth cannot live together. Too many men pose as one thing and dont obey God in their relationship. Even after counsel they refuse to change and follow God in the whole counsel of His word. Projecting an image is more important to them than right relationship. They dont take responsibility to own up and do the hard work of humility and repentance. This kind of change is part of the sanctification process we undergo when we are true to the Lordship of Jesus. They may apologize but never bear fruit in keeping with repentance. If they are true they will want to allay the fears of hidden sin and destructiveness regarding those they say they love, using God’s resources to transform problems; growing, maturing, honoring, cherishing, healing. Too many demand trust and entitlement without integrity or giving way to humility and love. Those who think they are always ok, cannot internalize grace. Even Jesus did not demand trust. John 10:37,38. “If I am not doing the works of my Father then do not believe me.” We must everyone and everyday follow Psalm 139: 23,24. ” Search me O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This verse should be dwelt upon more than John 3: 16, as we need to hear it, and do it, more than once! The church has not been a true witness to the reality of what we are called to , too often. And so, I think why our families and people and our country are in such a sorry state! I only rest in Gods word “A wife should not leave her husband, but if she does…” He knows the need does arise and cares for women as no one else. What do you think?


Jack Wellman July 9, 2015 at 9:26 am

Thank you Mari. I have seen so much heartbreak in these situations when unequally yoked couples wed and try to justify their actions by “I can save them after I marry them ” and such comments as these when actually God commands us not do marry unbelievers and the result is often tragic and they are legally bound to an unbelieving spouse. There may not be any harder situation to find oneself than to marry someone who is not a believer. I am not sure of your question about “What do you think?” Could you be more specific on what you are asking. It is probably my dullness of understanding your question so please forgive me for that.


Daniel Henkel July 25, 2015 at 2:44 pm

I have been married to a Mormon for 19 years;together for 21 since we dated in high school before I became a believer. I found Christ just before we got married but was so young both in life and faith that I didn’t think it would matter. In fact, I believed that God would change her; so very certain was I. We were married at age 17 a month after we became pregnant with our first child. I was still so attached to the world that sex outside of marriage was normal to me. I a fledgling believer and she a rebellious Mormon had love and nothing else mattered. During our first year of marriage I became as the term states “on fire for Christ” and she strengthened her faith in Mormonism. We argued constantly during that first year. I found myself praying in the only place I could be by myself in prayer (the bathroom). I was crying out to God saying, “what am I going to do! My wife will die and go to hell and take our child with her should he follow her beliefs!” I heard what I believed to be God’s voice in my head tell me, “You’re not going to do anything, you’re getting in my way. Stop it.” I took this as a message to stop using the Bible to cut my wife’s faith (and my wife in the process) to pieces. So I walked out of that prayer session and told her I wasn’t going to try to change her anymore but that I was going to trust in God. I’ve been living under the hope that God will change her since then. Here we are, together 21 years and four children later and she is still solid in her faith. Regarding our children, we started off fighting until a compromise was made; we had decided that we would take our kids to my church for an hour and then to her church for an hour, and that we’d share our own views of God and Christ with them so that they can decide for themselves one day. Our oldest is 18 and not attached to either faith fully but sometimes seems to lean towards Christ. He is not really attending church unless we force him most of the time. Our younger three go as we direct. I use to believe that God would give me beauty for my ashes and change my wife but I am seeing that my original fears are coming to pass. I am loosing faith and am in despair. It’s been so long and I think I’ve only made it this far because I’ve always believed that God would change my wife. I have realized though that He never actually said He would change her. That I have been living on a false hope. I told her yesterday that I am without hope, depressed, full of anxiety, and that I don’t want to be unequally yoked anymore. I am defeated. I am broken. All I want to do is to disappear. She says she loves me and doesn’t want me to go but I feel so alone and have been feeling this way for a long time. I’ve tried to tell her over the years but every time we’ve argued and I’ve fallen back on what I thought was the voice of the Lord all those years ago. I am without hope and despair of life at times. Not suicidal but am desperate to go Home.


Jack Wellman July 25, 2015 at 6:16 pm

I am speechless and these are hard situations in which to know what to counsel someone, even after many years at the pastorate. Doesn’t the Mormon faith teach wives to be in submission to their husbands which is in the Bible? All you can do, since you don’t have any biblical grounds for divorce, is keep loving her as Christ loves the church. The Bible teaches men to love their wives as Christ loved the church but this is no answer for you, I am sure. What has your own pastor said about this? Have you spoken to him? All I can do it point to you Jesus’ words in Matt 6:33 and Luke 14:26. I am sorry I have not been able to help you.


Michelle July 29, 2015 at 4:37 am


Thank you for this article. I’m greatful that I saw this article of yours. I slightly understand what God wants me to do upon reading your article.(I think so) because ive been struggling and i’m a little bit confused about my situation right now. I just want a confirmation. And i believed that God lead me in this site to clear my mind about my situation. I’m a believer since i was a child. I believed Christ in all my life. but I have a boyfriend dor 7 years who is a roman catholic. I met him when im in college. My relationship with the Lord in past few years are not that good. But now, ive decided to follow His word, to seek Him, to obey his word and to serve Him with all my heart. Then last month ive had a decision to separate from my boyfriend since he is unbeliever, but i love him that i couldnt leave him like that. and i realized that in our 7 years of relationship, I never share the word of the Lord to him. I feel guilty about that. then i started to share the Lord to my boyfriend and he believes it. but sometimes he has a lot of questions about the differences between the roman catholic and born again Christian. But in that situation, i continually inviting him to our gatherings and services at church. Now, i dont know if im doing the right thing, i dont know if im pleasing God with this. because i dont know what really is his motive. I’m thinking maybe he just accept the Lord just to save our relationship or he truly believe and want to accept Christ as his personal savior. I’m confused right now. because he kept asking me that is it not okay if were still dating then at the same time he is learning about Christ? please give me a verse or a thought what do i have to do. Do i need to leave him and he must continue to learn more about Christ all by himself before we date again or its okay that were dating and at the same time im guiding him to know more about the Lord. i want to keep his and my motives pure. please comment. i dont know what to do. i just want to please the Lord. I want to follow him. i want to go deeper to him. please. Thank you and God bless you more!


Jack Wellman July 29, 2015 at 8:23 am

I would speak with your pastor or priest about this. This boyfriend may not really be saved or born again (John 3:3, 7) plus he may not like the Catholic faith. You might want to stay friends but not date for the time being. Since you really want to please the Lord be careful, seek counseling, and don’t date those who you know are not saved for sure.


Michelle July 30, 2015 at 9:05 am

Thanks a lot. I know that I must obey the Lord first before anything else. I’m just a little bit confused. because I opened this to my spiritual leaders at our church last month. Some of them saying that since i already violated the word of the Lord in 2 corinthians 6:14, its better that i should continue inviting him at our church (since my boyfriend said that he already accepted Christ as his Lord and savior.) even were still together. to see if he truly accept the Lord Jesus. and to see if he’s growing for the Lord and then i’ll decide later if whether to separate from him or not. they said that I must see first by his fruits.

And then some of my leaders says that i need to separate from him, as in now. and as in no need to explain why. i must obey the Lord right away. because it is written in 2 corinthians 6:17 that “therefore come out from them and be separate says the Lord.” and also in some verse in the bible said that God alone decides who is saved. and so God is the one who brings people to Christ. not me. And also there is no written in the bible that God is using us as a guide or instrument for them to know Christ. (i think in terms of in a relationship) And they say that the word of the Lord does not depend on the situation of a person. We must obey and do on what is written.

so now im a little bit confused of what i’m really going to do. My boyfriend kept saying that he accepted the Lord Jesus with all his heart, he truly wants to learn about the Lord and he already considered himself as a believer/born again christian. and now he’s asking me that is it okay if were not separating cause he wants me to be his guide to be able to know the Lord deeper. I just always say that he needs to focus to God, not to be able to save our relationship. and we need to keep our motives pure..

Im always praying for the Lord to help me on this. I just want the Lord to be pleased. I think I need to talk to my pastor (actually my dad is also a pastor but i dont know why im not telling my situation to him.) and also I should pray for him (for my bf), whatever the Lord wants us to do, it must be done for His glory. I’m really sorry if my statements are too confusing and a little bit long. I just want you to know the whole story. Thanks again for your time. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions. God bless you Pastor Jack!


Jack Wellman July 30, 2015 at 9:15 am

Thank you Michelle. There is no Bible verse anywhere that says we accept Jesus. I would talk with your dad, yes. I would give this boyfriend time to show he really is saved. I think you show great wisdom in your decision to take your time in this. May God show you the path He wills for your life.


gary September 3, 2015 at 8:34 am

There are several things that I, as a Christian, do not understand about this. I would not be writing about this if it did not happen to a member of my family. I can send you an email to you tell the whole story. But yoking with an unbeliever and stating it will not work is kind of like judging a person without understanding why the person became an unbeliever. Perhaps that person lost his in faith due to a trust issue, in the same line as a person looses trust in one church and moves on. Also, take mission work. Many Christians go to countries that do not believe in Christ, partner (yoke) with them and say if we can convert one than it was well worth it. The example of the ox and what I hear is donkey. Both have similar features, head,tail,legs,body. The only thing is this, the ox is stronger than the donkey and that will not change. The ox won’t get weaker but the donkey will get stronger over time. The Christian won’t get weaker but the unbeliever may get stronger over time and follow the Christian. One last thing, the statement…. They will have trouble in their marriage to be sure, they will be unequally yoked throughout their lives, they will have many disagreements they will struggle over ethical and moral decisions, they will differ in their child rearing philosophies….how do you know that for a fact? Many unbelievers have integrity both ethical and moral and does it not say in Proverbs 11-3 and 28-6 integrity is very important and John 7-24 about judging? I hope you can answer or give me thoughts about this. I am a Christian and been for over 60yrs. You can even call me…I will email my phone number. Thanks, Gary Smith


Bianca October 17, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Dear Sir,
I have a friend who will soon get engaged to a catholic boy. We used to be close friends and shared our joy as believers some years back while going to the same Church. Even though she is aware of the scriptures she has still decided to go ahead with him. He has made it quite clear he doesn’t want to come to the believer church but has agreed that the children will be believers. I am not too close to her and do not want to interfere much. But I can’t sit and watch something wrong happen. What should I do?


Jack Wellman October 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Thank you Bianca. You asked a great question; what should you do? I am glad you care enough about your friend to see trouble potentially coming. When people of two different religions marry, they can sometimes manage to live peaceably together. She goes to her church and he to his. However, the difference in religious views are never resolved. It remains a point of contention between the couple. It hinders them from fully becoming one. Then children come along. What was once a quiet stalemate in this man’s having no problem with them going to the believer church and not the Catholic church later becomes an explosive situation. Which church will the child attend? What if he changed his mind? Now he wants them Catholic and she want’s them in the Protestant church. In what religion will they be trained? Sadly, children of these marriages more often than not reject all religion when they grow up. They see the mother and father do nothing but fight over religion and then conclude that religion — all religion — is the problem.

The idea that there is just one special person whom God wants you to marry is a myth. God never said that. It biblical days there were people whose partner was chosen for them and whom they married having never met them before the day of their wedding. It didn’t happen in every case, but it did happen. Yet these people still managed to have a happy marriage. The reason was that both were committed to making the marriage work, no matter what obstacles were in their path.

There isn’t just one right person for you in this world. Imagine if that were true. Out of 6 billion people currently living it would take you thousands of years on average to find the right one! The truth is that there are thousands of woman whom you could happily marry. You simply need to find the one with whom you are willing to spend effort making her happy, while she is willing to spend effort making you happy. You need someone you respect and whom you basically agree regarding issues that are important in your life. The rest can be resolved. But if you are starting out with unresolved issues, then it would be a tragic mistake to marry such a person.

That is why we date before marriage. To find out about the other person. To see if we basically agree about life and where we want to head in life. It is not a tragedy when a couple finds out after dating for a while that they are not a match. It is a tragedy if they marry anyway. Sure, it hurts to break up with someone who you like, but with whom you cannot come to a full agreement. But an unhappy marriage hurts worse and having no biblical grounds to divorce and being “stuck” for life can be terribly regretful.

Can this relationship work? Possibly, but only if both of they resolve their differences ahead of time. Have they had premarital counseling?


Bianca October 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Your reply means so much to me. I am so grateful.
They have not yet started the process and they are planning on an engagement party in december this year. marriage is about 1 year from now. So no they haven’t got any premarital counseling . and even if they do in the near future it will mostly be done in the catholic church.


Edna Ingram May 16, 2016 at 11:25 am

Great article, Jack. Our son is a preacher in the church and he also will not marry a Christian to a non-Christian. He says he can not do for someone what it would be wrong for him to do. So proud of him and proud of your article. Thank you for all you do.


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