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There are two popular, misleading ways of relating the Bible to dating. In other words, the institution of dating does not receive its legitimacy from covenantal realities and does not “sanctify” as marriage does (1 Cor. Dating is merely the way our culture manages the transition from singleness to marriage without the ancient (secular) courtship structures.

The first is to think that because the Bible does not speak about dating, we have liberty to dive headlong into romantic waters, guided only by desire to get married. This view allows us to imbibe secular dating-game platitudes like the currently popular sage wisdom called flirtexting. Compare how the Bible relates to dating with how it relates to national politics. The difference, however, is that marriage pictures for us the consummative union of Christ and his church on the last day (Eph. It is a this-world cultural mode of manifesting a legitimate transition that God endorses and delights in.

You’ve likely heard of the 80/20 rule when it comes to diet (both Jillian Michaels and Miranda Kerr use it to guide their healthy eating habits), but there’s another area of your life that you should be applying the principle to: your dating life.

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He has not left you to crude speculation (libertarian) or crass rigidity (purist). God is not sitting on the sidelines of your romantic life waiting for you to become winsome (Prov. He anticipates, delights in, and works through awkward faithfulness (1 Cor. (4) Pre-marital romantic feelings are part of the inherent goodness of creation (Gen. Fall: (5) You are a sinner, and will desire to use, lie, manipulate, and push emotional, physical, and relational boundaries for unholy reasons (Jer. Don't structure your relationship as if you will always be at the top of your game (Matt.

Here are some starting places for living in an other-worldly (Eph.

So let us describe the nature and content of dating this way: Thus, dating is not more or less biblical than the courtship rituals of the Ancient Near Eastern culture in which the Old Testament was written, or the courtship customs of the Jewish/Greco-Roman culture in which the New Testament was written.

If you are dating someone, no matter the level of formality or intimacy, there are helpful biblical truths that God has provided for your encouragement, discipline, and faithfulness. ) manner in a this-worldly and non-holy cultural institution: Creation: (1) Your conception of humanity should govern your conception of your gender (Gen. (2) Because you are finite (Psalm 39:4; Psalm ), you are not called to God-like certainty about the future of your relationship. It is the emotional experience of being vulnerable with another person.

He was reacting against the casual, recreational, aimless dating that had come to dominate the American landscape. But, as we are so prone to do, we took good principles and distorted them and distilled them into a series of unhelpful/legalistic practices.

He was trying to help young men and women stop hurting each other through the endless hooking up, breaking up, hooking up, breaking up, etc. Dating/courting has turned into an elaborate set of unwritten rules which must be followed to the letter, no matter what the circumstances. But the reality is, you can’t slap these practices on top of every relationship and expect the relationship to go well.

The second is to think that because the Bible does not speak about dating, it forbids dating entirely, and constrains us to pattern our practices after the cultural options available to the biblical authors. This view allows us to imbibe (not necessarily Christian) ancient, secular, dating-game platitudes like asking the dad for a date and bundling (wait, do people still bundle? The Bible teaches that earthly kingdoms are of this age, yet they are institutionally legitimate. Likewise, dating may be called an institution of this age, yet it is legitimate. It is neither a worldly structure outside the reach of Scripture (the libertarian approach), nor a heavenly structure that carries with it a mandated form (the purist approach). Dating is a this-age institution (it will perish with “this present evil age” [Gal. ), because marriage is a this-age institution (Matt. In dating, theology informs our conduct, intentions, boundaries, relationships, and the manner in which we go about expressing them.

Dating does not carry special divine sanction like marriage.

And here’s the kicker: believe it or not, the Bible doesn’t actually say a whole lot about dating/courting relationships.

When we place our above Biblical principles, it’s a recipe for disaster.

The most commonly recognized definition is “an appointment for a specified time; especially a social engagement between two persons of opposite sex” (.