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It can involve affection as we work together in Christ, but affection is not a necessary element.
We are commanded in the Scriptures to show love to all believers, but we are not commanded to make all believers our friends.
But for most, the issue of dating involves "romantic attraction and desire." Therefore "dating" must be approached by what the Scripture says regarding romantic desire and marriage, the only relationship in which romantic desire is to be fully expressed.
If "dating" is defined as two single friends of the opposite sex doing things together for fun without any attraction or romantic desire or intimacy involved at all, there is no issue to discuss regarding dating. The Bible describes and gives directions concerning friendship.
When a Christian marries he or she is making a commitment to fulfill the responsibility God ordains for the husband or wife to fulfill.
He or she is making a commitment to have care and concern for the spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental welfare of his or her marriage partner.
God is our Father and other Christians are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our Father deeply loves and desires that we show love to each other, that is seek each other's highest spiritual good.
It involves coming together into a permanent bond of unity.
Friendship involves three foundational elements, commitment to fulfill the responsibility of a friend, care and concern for the welfare of your friend, and affection.
The word "friend" means someone you like who also likes you.
This liking involves a "friendship kind of" affection based often on personality and common likes and interests.
A second kind of relationship is “brother-sister in Christ.” If we have accepted Christ as our Savior we have become children of God.
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"Dating" is not a relationship, it is a method people employ in our culture to get to know others of the opposite sex that was not employed in Biblical times.