Christian Mixed Marriages


By Dr. Ken Matto


This is the thing which the LORD doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry. (Numbers 36:6)


Zelophehad was a member of the tribe of Manasseh.  He died in the wilderness wanderings but had no sons only daughters.  During the apportionment of the land of Canaan under Joshua, they came to him and told him that Moses had told them that they would receive a portion of Canaan.  The lot of inheritance of Manasseh was divided into ten parts.  The six families had six parts of the inheritance and the daughters of Zelophehad were given four portions of the inheritance.  This inheritance was on the east side of the Jordan which was apportioned by Moses.  The daughters of Zelophehad had married their uncles sons.  For Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married unto their father's brothers' sons: (Numbers 36:11)  They were only to marry within the tribe of Manasseh so their inheritance remained in the tribe of Manasseh.


Now I am not writing this to endorse the marriage of cousins but I want to extract the principle from this scenario.  The daughters of Zelophehad married their cousins for the purpose of keeping the inheritance of their father intact.  In other words, they married in harmony with the law of keeping their father’s inheritance where it was distributed.  If they married someone from Zebulun or Dan, then the inheritance would be split or completely given over to the husband’s tribe.  There was now harmony in their marriages since they were all of the tribe of Manasseh.


Now the title of this article is “Christian Mixed Marriages” but it has nothing to do with the nationalities of the parties who wish to get married.   The Bible gives one prohibition concerning Christian marriage and that is a Christian must marry a Christian.  If you marry an unbeliever then Satan has a foothold in your marriage and it would only end in disaster and once you are divorced you cannot marry again until your spouse dies.


I am speaking about two factors which must be considered before two Christians marry.  It is something which is normally not thought of but can be a point of contention as strong as any other marriage spoiler can be.  The two points I am speaking of are:


1) Mixed Theologies

When two people are going to be married and one holds to the Reformed Faith and the other one is a Free Will Baptist, it will eventually become a point of contention.  Which Church are they going to attend?  Smith Street Reformed Church or Smith Street Baptist Church?  Or do they separate and each one goes to the church where their chosen their theology is being preached?  Do you see the problem which can eventually surface if there are two totally different theologies involved?  Conflicting theologies can become a wedge in the marriage just waiting to break it apart.  This is why just as a Christian must marry a Christian, that principle needs to be widened to the two of them marrying within their own biblical understanding or else devastating results can happen.  Reformed and Free Will Theology are both at the opposite end of the spectrum and that is why the marriage is beginning on a non-harmonious level.  Once the icing melts off the wedding cake and reality starts to settle in, it will only be a matter of time before the subject of theology comes up.  The Free Will person says that you can accept the Lord but the Reformed person asks “Where do you read that in the Bible?” and so the first wedge is driven in only to add more later.  It is much wiser to marry within your biblical understanding than to try and blend oil and water.


2) Different Bible Versions

The second point of contention is one party using a King James Bible (KJB) and the other uses an English Standard Version (ESV).   This can be a point of contention as big as mixed theology.  The KJB and the ESV are so different from each other and actually teach different theologies.  Now this can be applied to the KJB versus any modern version.  The married couple could be sitting in a Bible study and let’s say they come to Acts 8:37.  It is in the KJB but missing in the ESV.  Don’t you think a discussion will follow and maybe the one using the ESV may become agitated and therein is another wedge driven in the marriage.  As Christians, before you marry you must seriously look at the Bible version you use and bring yourselves into harmony in that issue or else that too can lead to devastating circumstances.  Using two different Bible versions may cause you to cancel daily devotions to prevent an argument and then the spiritual life of the couple will degenerate.  This is a serious issue which must be discussed before marriage.



As Christians your marriage goes much deeper than just the physical.  There must be spiritual harmony so when the storms of life come, you both will be strong enough to face them instead of being apart and in a spiritually weakened state.  Remember, Satan will do anything to break up a Christian marriage because it becomes a bad testimony for the kingdom of God plus you will be very hard pressed to give advice since people will think to themselves that they couldn’t even handle their own problems and they are going to give advice to others?  These two aspects of the Christians life must be considered before the day of marriage comes.  Remember, your wedding is only one day but your marriage is for life!  Focus on the marriage more than you focus on the day!