When You Are Unequally Yoked

unequally yoked

The phrase “unequally yoked” comes from 2 Corinthians 6:14 in the King James Version: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

The New American Standard Version says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull. An “unequally yoked” team has one stronger ox and one weaker, or one taller and one shorter. The weaker or shorter ox would walk more slowly than the taller, stronger one, causing the load to go around in circles. When oxen are unequally yoked, they cannot perform the task set before them. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another.

Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 6:14 is part of a larger discourse to the church at Corinth on the Christian life. He discouraged them from being in an unequal partnership with unbelievers because believers and unbelievers are opposites, just as light and darkness are opposites.

Attempting to live a Christian life with a non-Christian for our close friend and ally will only cause us to go around in circles.

The “unequal yoke” is often applied to business relationships. For a Christian to enter into a partnership with an unbeliever is to court disaster.

Unbelievers have opposite worldviews and morals, and business decisions made daily will reflect the worldview of one partner or the other.

For the relationship to work, one or the other must abandon his moral center and move toward that of the other.

More often than not, it is the believer who finds himself pressured to leave his Christian principles behind for the sake of profit and the growth of the business.

Of course, the closest alliance one person can have with another is found in marriage, and this is how the passage is usually interpreted.

God’s plan is for a man and a woman to become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24), a relationship so intimate that one literally and figuratively becomes part of the other.

Uniting a believer with an unbeliever is essentially uniting opposites, which makes for a very difficult marriage relationship.

Whether in business or relationships Christians are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Starting a business with an unbeliever can put Christians in a terrible situation.

It can cause Christians to compromise their relationship with Christ, there will be disagreements, etc.

Don’t think that you will get married and you will change them because that rarely happens and it will most likely cause more problems.

We must deny ourselves and take up the cross daily. Sometimes you have to drop relationships for Christ.

Don’t think you know what’s best. Trust in God alone not yourself. There are so many reasons not to marry an unbeliever. Wait on God’s timing and trust in His ways.

What does the Bible say about being unequally yoked?

Here are 15 helpful Bible Scriptures…

1. Amos 3:3 Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?

2. 2 Corinthians 6:14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?

3. Ephesians 5:7 Therefore do not become partners with them.

4. 2 Corinthians 6:15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

5. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

6. 2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

7. Isaiah 52:11 Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the articles of the LORD’s house.

8. 2 Corinthians 6:16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

One flesh

9. 1 Corinthians 6:16-17 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

10. Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

If you were already married before getting saved.

11. 1 Corinthians 7:12-13  To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.

12. 1 Corinthians 7:17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.

Reminders

13. Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

14. Proverbs 6:27 Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned?

15. Proverbs 6:28  Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

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