Is it wrong to marry outside your own race?

In these more enlightened times very few people ask if a white girl should marry a black guy, or if an Asian guy should marry a Mexican girl. Some are offended by the question. Yet the determination of right and wrong is not based upon the prevailing opinions of society. The determination of right and wrong must always be based on Biblical truth. Does the Bible teach that it is wrong to marry someone of another race?

If it were possible for a person to marry someone of a different race then, yes, that would be wrong. It is wrong to marry someone of another race because you would either be marrying an animal (which is illegal and immoral) or an alien (which don’t exist). It is impossible for a human being to marry another human being who is of a different race.

This answer is not some trite brush off of an important issue. Racial tensions are still a significant issue in America and around the world. A right understanding of the relationships of people groups is important. The answer to this and all other race related questions starts with this Biblical truth: All humans are of one race. The Bible makes a specific declaration of this fact in Acts 17:26. All men, from all nations of the world, are of one blood. All nationalities derive from the same source- God’s creation of Adam.

The so called racial differences are nothing more than superficial differences of coloring, build, language and culture. These differences are not ones of substance or essential being. This does not deny the challenges of various cultures interacting with one another. Understanding one another requires effort. However, other ethnicities must never be dehumanized by suggesting the other is different in essence. Differences in body and behavior do not mean there is difference of being.

Is it wrong to marry someone of a different culture or ethnicity? Many cultures still have taboos against marrying into a different culture. The Bible does not. Scriptures never prohibit people from marrying based upon ethnic, national or cultural differences.

The Old Testament prohibited the Israelites from marrying certain people groups. Deuteronomy 7 has a specific command forbidding an Israelite to marry anyone from seven Canaanite tribes. The reason for this prohibition had nothing to do with ethnicity or culture. The people of Canaan were notorious idolaters and under the judgment of God. The Israelites were not to marry these specific tribes lest they begin to practice the idolatry of the Canaanites. Other than those seven groups in Canaan the Israelites were permitted to marry people from from other nations.

God is not against marriage between different ethnicities, cultures or nationalities. All people are descended from the same two people, Adam and Eve. All people are descended from Noah’s family that was saved by God from the flood. The nations of the world can be traced back to the the grandsons and great-grandsons of Noah. A different race of humans does not exist. No Biblical truth or command forbids marriage to people of a different color, language or culture.

Who is Jehosophat and why did he jump?

Though it is no longer common every once in a while you may hear someone say, “jumping Jehosophat!”. The exclamation has an amusing sound and serves as a useful expression of surprise or frustration. The hopping human of exclamatory fame is taught about in the Bible. Jehoshophat was king over the nation of Judah 850 years before Jesus was born. After the death of King Solomon the nation of Israel split. Most of the nation followed the rebellious leader Jeroboam and they continued to be known as Israel. Two tribes followed the leadership of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, and became known as Judah. Many years later Solomon’s great, great grandson Jehoshophat became king over Judah. His story can be found in 1 Kings 22 but it doesn’t say anything about him jumping.

The history behind the origin and popularity of the phrase is not certain. The most plausible explanation seems to be that the phrase is slang that came into popularity during the 1800’s. To avoid breaking the third commandment by taking God’s name in vain people would insert into their exclamations an innofensive word instead of “God” or “Jesus”. Gosh, golly and gee serve a similar purpose today. The Biblical name Jehoshophat became a substitute for Jesus. The alliterated phrase caught on and is still with us a hundred and fifty years later.

This whimsical question reminds us how much the English language has been influenced by the Bible. Dozens of familiar phrases have their roots in the Bible. A few examples are:
– Money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10- the Biblical quote is acutally, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”
– By the skin of your teeth (Job 19:10)
– A little bird told me (Ecclesiastes 10:20)
– To everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3, “Turn, turn, turn” was added by the Byrds)
– The blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:13-14)
– Cast the first stone (John 8:7)
– An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Matthew 5:38)
– A fly in the ointment (Ecclesiasts 10:1)
– Go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41)
– The straight and narrow (Matthew 7:14)
– The apple of his eye (Psalm 17:8; Proverbs 7:2)
– The writing on the wall (Daniel 5)
– A thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7)
– Wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15)
– Don’t cast your pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6)
– Eat, drink and be merry (Ecclesiastes 8:15; Luke 12:19)
– Give up the ghost (Genesis 25:8; Mark 15:39)
– The ends of the earth (Deuteronomy 33:17; Psalm 67:7)
and many, many more!

At one time the Bible was familiar to most Americans. Public schools used the BIble in their reading and writing curriculum. Many families read the Bible on a regular basis. The well educated were very familiar with the Bible, and the common man knew enough of the Bible for it to become part of the culture. Though the twentieth century saw the American culture lose its familiarity with the Bible, the Bible continues to influence our lives and language in ways that are sometimes surprising.