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Biblical Courtship vs. Modern Dating – What’s the Difference?

The dating world can be a confusing place. There are unwritten rules for men and women to follow to have a successful relationship and there are also Biblical rules that are assumed for courtships.

Modern dating is really quite different than a biblical courtship because biblical courtships are designed to only be for two people who are really serious about finding a path to marriage.

Modern dating could end in a variety of ways and there are fewer rules or expectations in place. If you’re looking for a completely countercultural path to marriage, Biblical Courtship may be for you, while modern dating is better for those that don’t desire a commitment and want to take the path that’s more likely to be seeking meaningless romantic endeavors.

Here is a look at the differences between the two.

What is Modern Dating?

Modern Dating

Modern dating is hard to define because it can really be different for all singles and for all couples. Its purpose can vary and its meaning can vary from person to person.

While courtship is designed for the purpose of two people to be together that want to be married, modern dating is open-ended and its sole purpose could be as meaningless as two people that want to have solely a physical connection and in other cases, it could be two people that do seek to be married and committed eventually.

It’s conducted outside the formal authority of either person’s family and either the man or woman can initiate it. It’s often designed to be purely recreational or educational rather than with the goal of marriage.

Modern dating and courtship are alike in that they are two methods of beginning a relationship with the opposite sex but in the case of modern dating, non-Christians will treat it as an opportunity to be physically intimate.

Without the rules in place of courtship, there is no accountability to keep the relationship sacred until a marriage covenant takes place, but in some cases, that is what is preferred anyhow.

What is a Biblical Courtship?

Biblical Courtship

Courtships are a Biblical and Christian concept. Christians understand that it’s not acceptable to be physically intimate before marriage and in courtship, this can go as far as saving handholding and the first kiss for marriage.

Christians see dating as a friendship and maintain this until two people are ready to commit to one another as potential marriage partners. The dating period is a time when the two Christians can determine if their partner is a believer in Christ and if they are husband or wife material.

Courtships have stricter rules so that a couple won’t feel the temptation to do something that is designed for marriage alone. Their interactions are always with a chaperone until they are married and there is no physical contact until marriage. Some may find this oppressive or controlling and you can’t always get to know the person on a deeper level with constant chaperones around.

This is also intended to be under the guidance and blessing of parents or mentors that can help you discern your readiness for marriage. Keep in mind that the man is to approach the woman’s family to begin a courtship and the courtship is conducted under the authority of the woman’s father, family or church because it’s always designed for the intention of marrying.

While modern dating often leads to confusion, hurt and sexual sin, Biblical courtship has intention behind it, a sin-free relationship and a very clear path.