Imagine a farmer using traditional methods to plow a field. He has two oxen and places a yoke on them, connecting them with a chain to a large plow. Picture one ox being large and muscular, while the other is small and frail. How effective do you think they will be at plowing a straight line when they are so mismatched in strength and size?

Hello, everyone! I’m Craig Smith, and I enjoy providing meaningful answers to challenging questions about God, the Bible, following Jesus, and the church. Today, we’re addressing whether a Christian should marry a non-Christian. Opinions vary among Bible scholars and teachers. Some view such a marriage as sinful, while others believe it’s merely a bad idea. However, the consensus is that it’s generally not advisable.

Boarding the Struggle Bus

A commonly referenced Bible verse in this discussion is 2 Corinthians 6:14, where Paul instructs believers not to be “unequally yoked” with non-believers. This metaphor of being yoked isn’t limited to marriage; it’s actually talking about any kind of substantial entanglement that a Christian has with a non-Christian. And marriage, being a profound partnership, can certainly be considered an entanglement of the highest order.

A Purpose-Filled Marriage

Let’s take a step back and consider the concept of marriage as introduced in Genesis 2. God created marriage with a purpose—to fulfill His intentions through the union of man and woman. For followers of Jesus, marriage is a platform to extend God’s influence in the world, supporting and sharpening each other in this mission.

Plowing Crooked Rows

If a Christian marries a non-Christian, they face a fundamental mismatch. The non-Christian partner may not acknowledge or support the Christian’s mission, potentially derailing it. This situation resembles the unevenly yoked oxen, where the stronger ox might inadvertently lead both off the intended path, despite the intentions of the stronger believer.

Letting Your Light Shine

What if the disparity isn’t about faith, but maturity or strength of faith? The principle of being “unequally yoked” still applies. Pairing a mature Christian with a less mature one can similarly lead to deviations from the intended spiritual path. Often, the more mature believer might find themselves pulled down to the level of the less mature one, rather than elevating their partner. This usually results in a compromise of the stronger partner’s spiritual intensity and missional effectiveness. Thus, the wisdom of the metaphor holds: just as with the oxen, an imbalance can lead to straying from the right course.

Have a question you’d like to ask Craig? Click the button below!



Related Video

Matt Rhodes


Craig Smith
Lead Pastor

Matt Rhodes


Zac Anderson
Video Production Specialist