What Does the Bible Say About Racism?

by Crystal McDowell · Print Print · Email Email

The church of Jesus Christ was never meant to be a group of people who looked and act exactly alike. We are united in our faith in Christ Jesus and our trust in God’s Holy Scriptures. After Peter’s first sermon, three thousand people came to know Christ from all over the world. As believers we have the responsibility to stand out for our unconditional and accepting love of Christ for all people. Let’s learn how to deal with R-A-C-I-S-M according to the Bible:

R – Refuse to accept cultural prejudices

“Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite” (Numbers 12:1).

Miriam and Aaron used their prejudice against Zipporah as an excuse to question Moses’ authority given to him by God. As a result, Miriam was struck with leprosy and sent out of the camp for seven days. God will always discipline prejudicial attitudes within the body of Christ in His own way.

A – Accept others in the light of Christ

“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right’” (Acts 10: 34-35).

At the end of Peter’s vision—God said to him, “Don’t call anything impure that I have made clean”. Peter realized after being in Cornelius’ home that God was calling the Gentiles to the faith. The Lord will have representatives from every nation of the world in heaven—believers must witness and be open to those of different races in the Spirit of Christ.

We (the Church) are to reach out in the unconditional love of Christ and become a refuge for all people regardless of their race.

We (the Church) are to reach out in the unconditional love of Christ and become a refuge for all people regardless of their race.

C – Conform to Christ’s example of acceptance

The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9).

Jesus shook up the social perceptions of His day by talking with a Samaritan woman who had a bad reputation. He looked past her cultural background and ministered to her need of Him. As a result, an entire community came to know Christ. Believers need to seek out God’s vision of people’s spiritual needs rather than get side tracked by their race.

I – Instigate the Christian example of love

“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles” (Acts 9:26-27).

The disciples were afraid of Paul based on his reputation; yet Barnabas took the step of helping them to see what God had done. In many societies, there can be deep rifts of cultural and racial hatred from past offenses. However in the church, there should be unity in the love and forgiveness through Christ Jesus. Old wounds can be healed in the presence of the Holy Spirit when there’s acceptance and openness to God’s purpose.

S – Speak up when racism is evident

“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned” (Galatians 2:11).

Although Peter was initially given the charge of ministering to the Gentiles, in a moment of weakness he reverted to separating himself from them. Paul took the initiative to call Peter out for his wrongdoing in order that the church stand true to its witness. Courageous men and women of God must speak the truth in love so that the church remain unified in the Spirit.

M – Make every effort towards peace and fellowship

“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food” (Acts 6:1).

Were the Hellenistic Jews being overlooked on purpose? Scripture doesn’t give more insight into this situation other than how the church solved this problem. There will be times of conflict within the church—perhaps because of cultural differences. However the Lord has called His body towards peace and there should always be great effort to restore proper fellowship among believers.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19)

Racism isn’t from the Lord, but from the devil. His evil agenda is to kill, steal, and destroy as many people from every continent as possible. It would be hypocrisy for believers to attest to the love of God and yet hold on to racism.

The church stands in the gap for the lost people of the world. We are to reach out in the unconditional love of Christ and become a refuge for all people regardless of their race. The body of Christ is the great melting pot of all nations in this present world leading towards the next.

More reading: What is the Purpose of the Church?

Resource – New International Version Bible, The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblca, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

David Hopkins May 16, 2014 at 11:37 am

Excellent article and good teaching style. Thank you and God bless you for your care and dedication.


DocReits May 17, 2014 at 1:52 am

Hey Crystal,

Oddly, Christians are being marginalized with the label “racist” by the “gay” community, in our stand for traditional marriage. I found Ravi Zachariah’s explanation as the best I have witnessed concerning this matter.

He explains a person’s race or ethnicity as an inviolable trust given by God which may not be broken. Whether we are red, or black or white, God fashioned us in this manner. It is a violation against God to break that Trust.

Likewise, God made man and his companion or helpmate, woman. It was God’s Trust to have man and woman join as one flesh to become co-creators with Him to bear children. This was a Trust that God gave to Adam and Eve. This Trust, like our ethnicity, was never to be violated.

I love this explanation, as it explains when the Christian claims that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman, it affirms the dignity of God’s inviolable Trust at creation.

Further on this point, I was listening to Dr Robert’s speech at a Heritage Foundation symposium last night. He holds a PhD in Semitic languages, and was explaining how the word “Adam” means human, and this single creation(Adam) was sufficient to embody that term at the beginning. There was no need for another. Later, God saw that “It was not good for man to be alone”(Gen 2:18) since the created animals were not suitable as helpers for him(Gen 2:20).

So He took from Adam, a rib, and formed woman, bringing her back to join with him(Adam), becoming “one” with him (joining back with him, as she had been taken from him in her creation), so that Adam(the human) could be complete…and sufficient for God’s purposes or Trust…Adam, IOW, was made complete in Eve, the “one” who had been taken from him, now re-joined.

God gave man and woman(this completed human), the Trust to bear children and raise them in family.

This is why same sex marriage is a violation of God’s Trust to mankind.




David May 18, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Interesting thoughts Doc. I remember reading the O T account where God forbade the Jewish nation to intermarry and how Solomon fell because of it.
However, we now live in N T times and “all things become new“.
Blessings, David, Central Europe


DocReits May 18, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Hi David,

“God forbade the Jewish nation to intermarry and … Solomon fell because of it. However, we now live in N T times and “all things become new“.”

I am not understanding your meaning David. Could you help me? My comments were on racism and how God’s Trust in requiring equal treatment of all races is analogous to God’s Trust He gave for marriage, between one man and one woman. Both being inviolable.

That Trust did not end when Jesus made the New Covenant with His Blood.

Having said that, God loves everyone, and we all are sinners, saved only by His Grace. We are all level at the foot of the Cross, and have nothing in our hands which we bring to Him, except our faith, which we humbly offer to Him in repentance for our breakage of His commandments(Rules).

Those Rules still apply. We all fall, but we must confess our sin before God and ask for His forgiveness, forsaking those sins, and making a new attempt at following Him. If we fall again, repeat the process. God looks at our heart and our attempts to follow Him, in obedience, not so much the scoreboard…;-).

To be clear, Christians do not make sin a lifestyle as if nothing is wrong with disobedience. I have my own sin chest(God knows). I empty it out at the foot of the Cross, daily, asking God to help me to not fill it up again. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”(Rom 7:24,25)




David May 19, 2014 at 12:20 am

Sure Doc, Nehemiah 13 vs`s 25 to 31 is a good example.
I am old, white, male and an alcoholic. And often been subjected to “isms“ A Christian for 39 years. Strong in faith.
Is that a problem for you?
Blessings, David Central Europe


DocReits May 19, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Hi David,

“… And often been subjected to “isms“ … Is that a problem for you?”

Somewhat… especially “easy believism”.

Your reference to Nehemiah…here was a man of God separated out with the daunting task of not only performing the miraculous feat of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem in about 56-69 days(I forget the exact number), but also tasked with keeping the population of Jews from breaking God’s laws, risking further judgement upon the nation of Israel.

Remember that the wounds of that condemnation was what they(the nation) had just spent the past 70 years enduring. Think about it!! Here they were, back in their homeland, with a chance for freedom, out from under the thumb of their captors(Assyria), on “parole”, so to speak, and Nehemiah did not want them to mess up and “violate” parole.

OK, I get your point, the NT is “new” in the sense that we don’t live under a nation state anymore. We now have this “freedom” to do as we darned well please without a “boss” like Nehemiah, to pull out the hairs from our beards when we whore with women outside the camp(Neh 13:25). Sure, God will forgive us 70×7, and He does not keep count, but does this freedom we have in Christ give us license to sin?

You know the answer, which belies your question though. It is the frustration that those who have the Spirit of God(those truly saved and born again) struggle with. It is the same struggle which those “outside the camp” also struggle with, as they have the Law written on their hearts(“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them”Rom 2 :14,15)

Notice especially the phrase “their conflicting thoughts accuse…them”. So this law, written on all men’s hearts is our NT times where “all things become new”. The “new” is only that we now have Nehemiah inside than outside. Has anything really changed in God’s economy? Is He this “soft” grandfather with the white beard who now winks at sin? Have the Ten Commandments somehow now dissolved into the ether of forgetfulness? Is God the Father less demanding of us than in the OT where the Israelite’s had to keep the Law or perish?

Mankind still has to keep the Law or perish. Nothing has changed!! Mankind is doomed! Abandoned to all suffer the same fate for we have all broken the Law. Who has not stolen, who has not lied, who has not blasphemed, and who has looked upon others and not lusted, or desired what others have in possessions. We all have sinned, and are judged “guilty” by the Law.

You know this. Yes, the “only” way we are acquitted from the sentence of death and torment is through the acknowledgement of our sins, “turning from them”, and belief upon our scapegoat, who took our punishment upon Himself…Jesus. Christians are forgiven! Hallelujah!

So, do we say, “Everything is good now?” I am no longer under the Law, so I can keep on sinning. Nehemiah is still there David in the form of the Holy Spirit residing within us, compelling all who have been born again, to forsake sin, and follow Christ. Will we ever be without sin? No. Do we stop trying? …..It is not easy.

I wish you well,



David May 20, 2014 at 12:35 am

Good insight, yes we are miserable sinners, and I thank God daily for His patience.
Interesting, never thought about “outside the camp“.
Blessings to you Doc.
David, Central Europe


David May 19, 2014 at 12:36 am

oh, BTW am hetero


David May 19, 2014 at 12:37 am

and a sinner too


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