Before you begin this study on teen dating...I want to make sure you undestand how I set this thing up. You shouldn't read this all at the same time. It's set up in days. Some of the days you may combine. But I wouldn't read the whole study at the same time. It's a monster!
It would be best to have your Bible handy for this Bible study.
Although I give the passages in the text...I don't always reference the
numbers of each verse. I just put them in one big paragraph. And I used the King James Version. If you have a hard time
understanding it...you may want to use your own Bible for clarity if you
or your church uses a different version. Or...you can use the Bible online.
Just click here for almost any Bible version you want.
It opens in a new window so you can study the Bible lesson and God's Word at the same time!
So let's find out more about teen dating!
So...have you noticed what's been going on in the world the past few years? It seems every day another horrific event occurs. We certainly see that in regard to severe weather. It seems the media loves to follow major flooding, snow storms and hurricanes as if death and destruction were the coolest thing around! But we have to understand one thing. No matter how troubling those stories are, we know God is in control of nature.
Storms are a part of life and teach us two very valuable lessons...
We can't control them no matter how hard we try.
They will come. No doubt about that.
There's another storm sweeping our world. That storm doesn't have wind, rain or lightning. But this storm is as real and destructive as any of those we talked about above.
What is that storm?
It's the storm surrounding the teen dating scene.
People have written books about it.
Whole magazines are devoted to it.
TV shows talk about it.
Everyone has opinions on teen dating (and you know what they say about opinions...they're like armpits...everybody has them...and they all stink!)
The storm of outrage against dating produced a book that encouraged teens to "kiss" teen dating goodbye and go with another option. A flurry of other books dealing with teen dating came out a short time later.
But as a teen, should you completely lose dating and find other "safer" options? Or is this extreme?
Let's get one thing straight right here...
Dating of any kind is a type of relationship. God doesn't look down on relationships that honor and glorify Him. So...dating, if done to God's satisfaction, can be a relationship that not only honors God but also helps you draw close to Him through the person you're dating.
Let's get another thing straight right now. No book, TV show or magazine will give you the truth regarding teen dating. The best and only place to go for good advice about teen dating is the Truth found in the Bible, the Word of God.
Yeah, I know the Bible doesn't have the word "dating" in it. But there are definitely relationship principles in the Bible that can help us figure out what's right and wrong in this messed up world. In the next few days...we'll look at a few helps on teen dating...
But first...a quick message from our commercial sponsor...
(Ok...maybe not. Hang in there with me!)
Let me just share this little bit of advice with you again...
Every relationship you have should first honor and glorify God.
In fact...whatever you do should glorify God. I Corinthians 10:31 says...
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Notice this covers everything not just teen dating...
I'm talking about every aspect of your life should be based on biblical principles. Only doing what God tells us...obedience to the Bible...will glorify Him. And He expects us to obey!
The next few days you'll notice many of the lessons cover a lot more areas of life than just dating. But the point is...
In your life...including your dating life...you need to ask God first. Read His word to find out what He wants!
That said...let's talk about some principles about teen dating.
As we said before, teen dating isn't specifically mentioned in the Bible. But relationship principles are. I know...I know! All this sounds really serious. It sounds like I'm talking about marriage. Well...why not? The way you do things now in your dating relationship will influence the way you react to the one you marry.
And who you marry is very important!
Which leads us to our first principle on teen dating.
1. God's Word clearly tells us to stay away from close relationships with unbelievers. II Corinthians 6:14-18 says...
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
No...this isn't just talking about marriage. In fact the passage doesn't say anything at all about marriage. It does talk about relationships though...including teen dating.
God talks about His close relationship with His people (v. 16.) He even tells us we're as close as Father and child in our relationship (v. 18.)
With the unsaved it's different. We're as different from them spiritually as light is from darkness or as Christ is from Satan (Belial vv. 14, 15.)
The point is...we have nothing in common spiritually with unbelievers. Our relationships are built on the love of God. An unsaved person can't understand that. So God doesn't want us to form close relationships with the unsaved...
...including dating, and certainly including marriage.
You may win them to Christ...but you most likely won't "date them to Christ."
Date Christians who can understand what you go through...the tough times...the good times...the times of prayer...the times of rejoicing.
Date someone who understands God the way you do. Date only Christians.
Ok...ok...I didn't mean for this to be "Intro to French." And that's not literally what that phrase means anyway. But in economics (I know, yuck! Stick with me.) these words carry the idea that government isn't to interfere in places it doesn't belong. It means the government keeps it's hands to itself when it comes to certain rights that people have.
Hmmm. I think you know where I'm going with this...
Too many times I've seen teen couples with their hands all over each other...out in public no less! I try not to wonder what they do when nobody's looking!!!
Does the Bible have any advice for the teen dating scene in the 21st century about touching? It sure does...
In I Corinthians 7:1-2 it says...
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
You're probably thinking..."Now wait!!!! This is talking to married people!"
And you'd be right...and wrong...ok...let me explain.
Notice verse two talks about everyone having their own spouse. That could be talking to married people. But think about it this way...
Before you engage in physical contact...remember that the person you're becoming intimate with may not be your spouse. Some day he or she may become someone else's husband or wife. That means you're having close physical contact with someone else's husband or wife!
That perspective changes things a bit.
The Bible is clear that intimate, physical contact should only be between a husband and wife.
And to remove any doubts...verse one (1) speaks of not "touching."
Unfortunately, this verse has been abused by many well-meaning Bible teachers. Let me tell you what this doesn't mean...
This doesn't mean a guy should never, ever touch a girl. Casual contact and a helping hand are still allowed. But this is where it gets a little fuzzy. Let me explain further...
The word "touch" has been used in other places to mean "starting a fire." No...this isn't talking about the time you went on that romantic date and knocked the candle over setting your girlfriend's formal on fire. That's not the kind of fire Paul is talking about here.
Paul is talking about an "emotional fire." I guess you could call it a "fire of passion." Touching in an attempt to get your girlfriend or boyfriend "in the mood" isn't acceptable Christian behavior. In fact anything that starts that "fire of passion" should send you to your spiritual fire extinguisher...put it out before someone gets burned!!!
And don't forget...God calls us to be different. The world has no problem starting "fires of passion." But we aren't like the world. We're children of God. This includes teen dating.
Just keep in mind, God's Word tells us to avoid intimate touching until we find that special marriage partner God has led us to.
No...I'm not contradicting Day Three. When I say KISS I'm using an acronym. An acronym is taking the first letter of each word in a phrase and making another word out of it. If you can remember what the new word is, you can remember what the first letter of each word in the phrase is.
KISS stands for...
No...I'm not calling you names either. Dating shouldn't mean "mini-marriage." You aren't really married, so don't act like it. We talked a little about that in Day Three.
But there's more to KISS than just that. You're young. You don't need the problems of a close relationship right now. Hurrying things won't help your dating relationship. In fact, it may harm it.
Proverbs 19:2 says...
Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.
Someone else put it this way...
"Haste makes waste."
I doubt the person who said this had dating in mind...but it definitely applies. Don't get sloppy in your dating relationship by going too fast. You've got plenty of time.
Going too slow more than likely won't hurt your dating life. But going too fast certainly will. Don't forget what Proverbs 19:2 said...the one who hastens (that is goes too fast) will ultimately find himself (or herself) wading waist-deep in sinful sludge.
Don't hasten in teen dating. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. And keep you're most serious feelings for that person who is worthy of them...that person you one day marry.
Sure...this sounds harsh. And I can't say it's a direct quotation from the Bible. But I will tell you there are a few verses in there that come very close to saying that about teen dating! Let's look at a few that will help us untangle this teen dating thing...
In I Corinthians 15:33 we read...Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Another way to put it would be..."You hang out with spiritual losers...you become A SPIRITUAL LOSER."
This is not to say we shouldn't have casual contact with unbelievers. That's extreme and not what the Bible teaches. We're to win them to Christ. How can we do that if we don't talk to them?
This is saying we shouldn't get close to those whose character stinks. Hanging around with bad company will harm us spiritually.
Working with young people for the last decade, I've seen this play out a lot. And it seems to have the worst consequences in teen dating relationships. The teen dating story goes something like this...
1. Teen starts dating girl/guy of questionable character.
2. Teen is confronted by the spiritual leader in his/her life (such as pastor, youth group leader...you get the picture.)
3. Teen becomes defensive.
4. Teen declares he/she can "change" that person or lead them to Christ or...
5. It's all downhill from there!
They were deceived into thinking good character would rub off on bad. But rememer the verse above...it doesn't work that way.
The fact is...in my time working with young people...I've never seen it work out. I'm not saying it didn't once in a while...I just don't remember it ever working out. In fact, it normally caused that person a lot of problems.
Take this advice...
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
"You hang out with spiritual losers...you become a SPIRITUAL LOSER."
It's true...your character is only as clean as the people you hang around with. The bad influences you allow in your life will form you into who you are more than any good influences you try to use to counter the bad.
Take advice from God's Word...
Date those who have dedicated their lives to living as Christ would have them live. If you're a guy...date a Christian girl who you know has God's will in view. If you're a girl...date only guys who model strong Christian leadership skills in their lives.
It doesn't matter how "cute" they are. It doesn't matter what kind of figure or how athletic they might be. If their character is flawed, they're spiritually ugly and weak. That counts more than outward appearance in relationships...
At least God sees it that way!
So...what's the bottom line...?
Date Christians who have proven their Christian character. You're only deceiving yourself if you do anything else.
There! I said it!
The truth is...they've done a whole lot more living than you have. And they were teenagers in teen dating relationships at one time. Sure it was in a different time...so what if dinosaurs were still walking the earth when your parents were dating (just kidding!)
The fact is...they know more than you think. And they know more than you...no matter what you think!
If this isn't enough to convince you, then look at what the Bible says about it. Ephesians 6:2 says...
Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
If you look in your Bible...you'll notice I didn't quote verse one (1.) The reason...?
That verse is age specific about "children" obeying their parents. Don't get me wrong...as long as you live with your parents...
you are their children!
So obedience isn't optional.
But...technically...you aren't "children" anymore. You're "young adults." And some day, you're going to move out on your own...out from under your parents authority...and live your own life.
When that happens...verse one changes in application to Ephesians 6:2. Verse two isn't just for children...it's for everybody...even adults.
How do we know this?
When Paul wrote this, he was quoting from the Ten Commandments. We find what Paul is talking about in Exodus 20:12 which says...
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
See? It's almost the same...right down to the promise at the end which Paul talks about in verse three in Ephesians. And it's quite clear in Exodus that God is talking to all people...not just children.
But lets concentrate on verse two in Ephesians. Here it is one more time...
Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
Honour doesn't necessarily mean "obey" like in verse one. It means respect. No matter where you are in life...you should always honor your parents. This is especially true while you're living with them and obeying them as well.
But even later in life...when you are no longer under their care...always remember to honor.
So...how does this relate to teen dating in your life? I'm glad you asked...
Like we said before...your parents know a lot. They even know a lot more than you do no matter what you think. So...
Listen to them!
They have wisdom you don't have. That doesn't mean they'll always be right...but then you need to leave that up to God. He's put your parents where they are as your...parents! So...honor them by...
Listening to them!
They have a lot more to say than you think.
God has given you the life you live. That's God's gift to you. What you do with the life God has given you...now...that's the gift you give back to Him.
If you've made a decision for Christ...you should live for Him. Your master...leader is Christ. You need to listen to His voice in all walks of life...including teen dating.
How do you do this?
By reading His Word. Psalm 119:9 says...
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
By the way...that includes young ladies too. The best way to keep it right is to live the Word of God...and to live the Bible you need to know the Bible...and to know the Bible you need to study it.
Make sure you know what the Bible says. Read it...study it every day. It's your spiritual meals that keep your soul alive.
You don't feed your body once or twice a week to keep it going! Don't feed your soul only once or twice a week at church...
Read...study...know...and apply God's Word to your life...especially when it comes to teen dating.
You can't go wrong...if you live God's Word.
Honor God in all...even in teen dating.