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What Does the Bible Say About..Christians Marrying Unbelievers?

I am aware that Islam permits Muslim men to marry women of the book (Jews and Christians). Although the Quran allows this, what does the Bible say about marriage between a Christian woman and a Muslim man? Is it permitted? Thanks so much for your time.


There is no scripture that forbids a Christian from marrying a Muslim, since the Muslim religion did not begin until about four hundred years after the New Testament was written. So the question becomes whether there is any scripture that forbids a Christian from marrying any non-Christian. The closest scripture to this would be “be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Corinthians 6:14) That scripture is in a context about Christians participating in idol worship while still claiming to worship the one true God. It says nothing about marriage, although it does point out potential problems with a marriage with an unbeliever.

Since Muslims and Christians believe significantly different things, and worship different Gods, problems will arise if either one is asked to participate in the religious practices of the other. Since the dietary laws of Islam are strict, and Christianity doesn’t have any dietary restrictions, you would have to decide whether you are willing to abide by those restrictions. If there are children, then the decision must be made (preferably before the wedding) whether they will be raised in Islam or Christianity. No good Muslim will allow his children, especially not male children, to be raised as Christians; and if a Christian believes that the only way to heaven is through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ they would not allow their children to be raised as Muslims. Beyond the consideration of children, there have been many news stories about cases where a Muslim man moves to a Muslim country and the wife then has to conform to a strict Muslim code of dress and action, effectively making it impossible for her to worship God in the way she believes is right. Even if these things are worked out before the marriage, a move to a Muslim country even for a supposedly short visit could negate any prior agreements.

I have not found anything in the Qur’an that allows a Muslim man to marry outside the faith. My expert source on Islam does not believe that it does. [I have, since sending this reply to the questioner, found that the Qur'an prohibits such a marriage. Sura 2:122 says "A man may not wed a pagan woman, unless she becomes a Believer." That would include women "of the book" that don't believe in Islam.] If it does, there is a reason the Qur’an, or Islamic doctrine, would allow Muslim men to marry women of the book, but not afford Muslim women the same rights. Islam assumes that the wife will be, or be treated as, a Muslim. If an Islamic woman married a Christian man, it is assumed she would become a Christian. This is in part due to a cultural, not scriptural (Qur’an or Bible) difference. In strict Muslim cultures the woman is practically considered as little more than property. Although she is to be treated with respect, she is expected to obey the husband in all things. He is under no obligation to consider her wishes, especially in the matter of religion. In fact, he is obligated to make her as much a Muslim as he is.

On the other hand, in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul encourages a wife, who has converted to Christianity while her husband has not, to stay married to the unbeliever. So the Bible clearly does not prohibit a marriage between a Christian and an unbeliever. But it does point out that there will be problems when that happens.