Online Bible Commentary
Making Good Relationship Decisions
2 Corinthians 6: 11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty." (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul begins this passage with an appeal to the affections of Christians, specifically to those Christians in the first century church in Corinth, Greece. He is introducing what should be the object of our affection, as Christians.
Paul writes that he and his fellow workers “have spoken freely and opened wide” their hearts to Corinthian believers. (v. 11) They “were not withholding” their affection from them (v. 12a).
However, the Corinthian believers were withholding their affections from Paul, because of their devotion to false teachers in the church (v. 12b). So, Paul appeals to them to open their hearts to him, because he is their spiritual father, and they are his “children” (v. 13). He was the one who first brought the Gospel to them.
Paul is saying that our affections, as Christians, should always lie with other Christians. We should not align with sin because Christ cannot abide with sin.
This is a passage that is often said to mean that a believer should not marry an uneliever. That is true, but it means so much more.
When Paul writes “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (v. 14a), he is referring to all relationships, not just marriage. This applies to any relationship, whether it be marriage, friends, business, church, fraternal organization, club, etc.
Specifically, Paul is referring to the Scripture “Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together” (Deuteronomy 22:10). He is saying that in any relationship, if we don’t share common values, we will be pulling in opposite directions, like the ox and the donkey.
He gives four examples of the differences as being between: light and darkness (v. 14a); Christ and Belial, Satan, (v. 15a); believers and unbelievers (v. 15b); and the Temple of God and idols (v. 16a). These are all opposites. They cannot exist together. In order to be in communion, one would have to yield to the other.
This passage actually refers to the first of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment says “Do not worship any other God” (Exodus 34:14). Moses then gives an example using marriage, “And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same” (Exodus 34:16).
God’s reasoning is that normally the woman in the marriage will eventually win out when it comes to religion. Even if she is the believer in the relationship, there will be a price to pay in the relationship to get an unbelieving man to the same point. He is saying do not even go there. Both people, the unbeliever and the believer, are just opening themselves up to big problems down the line.
In marriage, the believer is not to divorce the unbeliever just because they are an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:13). So do not marry someone expecting to convert them. Save yourself a lifetime of frustration.
Paul then quotes three Old Testament scriptures telling us what to do if we are in unequally yoked relationships, in general. They apply to all relationships except marriage. The marriage relationship does not allow for divorce just because a believer is married to an unbeliever.
The first of three scriptures tells us that God will always be with us, and will walk with us through any difficulties (Leviticus 26:12) (v. 16b). This is important because the next scripture tells us that we should separate ourselves from these relationships (Isaiah 52:11) (v. 17). This can be very difficult to do, which is why in the third scripture we are told that God will make up the difference by being closer to us than ever before (2 Samuel 7:14a) (v. 18).
God cannot bless sin, but when we remove ourselves from it, whether it be a personal relationship or even a church that is not being obedient to the teachings of the Bible, God will bless us abundantly, even more than before, with new, and better, relationships.