Why Color Doesn’t Matter In Marriage

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Does it matter to God who you marry? Yes, it does matter to God who you marry, but it has nothing to do with the color of a person’s skin.

Neither Jew nor Greek

The Apostle Paul and the other authors of the Bible make it clear that a person’s national origin, their language, their sex, or even their skin color doesn’t matter when it comes to salvation. Paul wrote that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28), so why does it matter to some who believe that we should marry only those who are like us or have the same skin color or national origin? It shouldn’t matter, that’s for sure, but for some reason, there are people who believe that Hispanics should marry Hispanics or African-Americans should marry African-American or whites should marry other whites, but I hope to prove that to you from Scripture that this is wrong. Paul would ask, “is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also” (Rom 3:29). No matter who or what a person looks like, God has called people from all nations and with all colors, and He did this “in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles” (Rom 9:23-24)? Regardless of who or what a person looks like, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).

Gentiles Welcome

Paul’s previous point was that “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction” (Rom 3:22). Jesus Christ never narrowed down or specified where the disciples were to go with the gospel. He told them, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20). This means that “God does not show favoritism but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34b-35). When the Apostle Peter was witnessing to the Gentiles, “he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean” (Acts 10:28). Since God “made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith,” (Acts 15:9), then neither should we. If we do, we are sinning before God and showing partiality where God shows none.

Unequally Yoked

Since we now know that skin color doesn’t matter between two people who want to get married, we need to discuss the fact that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. The Apostle Paul gives the command, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness” (1 Cor 6:14)? Those are great questions, aren’t they? Why would we who are in the light want to walk in the fellowship of darkness? What do people who have been declared righteous by God (2 Cor 5:21) want to partner with those who live in lawlessness? Just as oil and water don’t mix, believers and unbeliever’s are not compatible. Further, Paul would ask, “What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever” (1 Cor 6:15), but also, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (1 Cor 6:16)?

God made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.  Acts 15:9

A House Divided

If there is a problem with what is called a “mixed marriage,” this would be it. If a believer married an unbeliever, would the children be allowed to go to church? Would the believing spouse be able to participate in church activities? What would their personal life be like if one spouse lived in sin while the other didn’t? You can see huge problems with being unequally yoked. The term “unequally yoked” is used by Paul to show the difficulty in moving forward in a relationship when two animals are not the same. One on the yoke might be an ox and can pull heavier loads than the other, but they might stray to the right or the left while the other animal might want to go another way or might not want to pull their weight at all. No farmer would ever try this because he or she knows it just wouldn’t work. The same thing applies to those who marry unbelievers. The only sure thing is that they will have struggles and difficulties, and don’t be fooled by some who think you can change your spouse after your married. That is not a safe assumption to make at all. One person has the Holy Spirit while the other is being held captive by the god of this world (2 Cor 4:3-4).


There is no prohibition for people of a different skin colors to marry because there is no biblical command to forbid such a marriage, and if we think there is, we don’t understand that God doesn’t look at the outside but at the heart (1 Sam 16:7). We too should look at the heart, and if a couple has repented and trusted in Christ, then there should be no reason they can’t marry. As long as they love one another and are unified in the faith, the two can walk together in agreement (Amos 3:3). It doesn’t matter if they come from different backgrounds, have different skin color, or have differing nationalities. As long as they love one another and are joined with Christ, they are both one in Him. That’s all that matters. Everything else has to do with the outside, and God is not concerned with the outside but what’s in a person’s heart.

Here is some related reading for you: What Did Jesus Teach About Marriage?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible : English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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