The Bible has very little to say about “dating” because people in ancient times didn’t really date. Marriages were usually contracted by the fathers of the parties involved or representatives of the fathers. The servant of Abraham went to the people of the city of Haran and brought back a wife for Isaac. Isaac did not see her until the night he married her (Genesis 24:62-66). Marriages were typically arranged for the parties involved. This made them no less binding. God still commanded husbands and wives to love one another and submit to one another’s needs and interests (Ephesians 5:21-33).
Though people in Bible times didn’t really date, there are some biblical principles that should govern our dating activities today. First of all, people who date should not have sex until they marry. While it is normal and natural to be attracted to someone of the opposite sex, we are called by God to keep those urges under control until we commit to someone in marriage. The New Testament clearly teaches that sex outside of marriage is sinful (1 Corinthians 6:9-11,18-20; Hebrews 13:4). Dating, then, for Christians, is not about sex. Since that is true, Christians who date will want to choose activities in public places where conversations and healthy activities can be carried on without becoming involved in too much intimacy. Keep the lust in check and the touching to a minimum (Matthew 5:27-29). Going out in groups is a good thing to consider. Since dating may eventually lead to marriage, we probably should not begin dating too early or date one person too long, unless we are ready to commit to a lifetime relationship.
Next, since the Scriptures teach us that it is important to form our primary relationships with people who will help us spiritually, we should date people who want to do the will of God. Since we eventually marry someone we date, we should not date those who lack Christian values (2 Corinthians 6:14ff).. When we go out with someone, we should engage in lots of conversation and get to know what kind of person our date is. It would be good to observe this person in church, in various acts of service, at work, and in various social situations to see how this person conducts himself/herself and how this person treats other people. Having done these things over a period of time, we are in a better position to decide whether this person would make a suitable companion for life. We should ask, “Will this person help me walk with God?” “Will this person be the kind of parent I want for my children?”
Finally, since the whole of Christian life is governed by God’s will, we should choose the right kind of activities for our dating. We should avoid the kinds of places where ungodly things are the norm. We need not be in seedy nightclubs or in bars or in decidedly vulgar movies. Instead, good dates might be to sporting events, high quality movies, a nice dinner, a good concert, a church activity, a museum, or a service activity. Do the kinds of things that you, as a Christian, feel good about doing.
It is good to be friends with lots of different people. When Christian singles date, however, they do so with several basic principles in mind. They know that dating is not about sex. They work to maintain their purity, saving sex for marriage. They seek relationships with people who will support them in their walk with God. They seek activities through which they can both get to know their date and act in a way that is pleasing to God. So, happy dating! Just remember to take Jesus along with you everywhere you go!