Song of Songs tells us in numerous passages not to "stir up or awaken love until it pleases" (2:7, 3:5, etc.).The orthodox, uncontroversial interpretation of this language is that it instructs men and women not to relate in ways that arouse or encourage sexual desire or a high, unique level of intimacy until it is appropriate (i.e., within the context of marriage illustrated in the book).Whether dating or courting, following these biblical principles is the best way to have a secure foundation for a marriage.
(For instance, the story of Jacob and Rachel doesn't stand for the idea that seven years is the right length of time for a dating relationship — or that polygamy is OK!
And the story of Ruth and Boaz is not an example of a woman "initiating" the equivalent of a modern dating relationship.) So where does all that leave us?
The Bible tells us that, as Christians, we should not marry an unbeliever (2 Corinthians -15) because this would weaken our relationship with Christ and compromise our morals and standards.
When one is in a committed relationship, whether dating or courting, it is important to remember to love the Lord above all else (Matthew ).
The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture holds that the Bible guides and instructs us authoritatively in all areas of our faith and life, and that there is no area of life about which the Bible has no guidance for us.
Second Timothy -17 teaches us that "[a]ll Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." That teaching, reproof and correction may be only at the level of broad principles in some areas of life (like dating), but it will be there nonetheless.What is the difference between dating and courting?What is an appropriate level of intimacy before marriage?Sexual immorality is a sin not only against God but against our own bodies (1 Corinthians ).It is important to love and honor others as we love ourselves (Romans 12:9-10), and this is certainly true for a courtship or dating relationship.How can we search Scripture on a topic that may be only indirectly addressed in the Bible (or evaluate what someone else has written on such a topic) without either being overly dismissive on the one hand or inappropriately "proof-texting" on the other?