A close-up shot of intertwined wedding rings delicately placed on an open Bible, symbolically capturing the sacred union and the significance of commitment and love in marriage.

What Does The Bible Say About Wedding Rings?

Wedding rings are a timeless symbol of love and commitment between two people joining their lives in marriage. But what does the Bible actually say about wearing wedding rings? Should Christian couples exchange rings as part of their wedding ceremony?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible does not explicitly mention wedding rings or say thou shalt or shalt not wear them. There are some indirect references to rings in relation to marriage and commitment, but overall the Bible neither requires nor prohibits the wearing of wedding rings.

In this comprehensive article, we will examine key biblical passages that relate to marriage and commitment. We’ll look at what these verses imply about the custom of wedding rings, and explore the history of how the tradition developed over time.

With insight from biblical scholars, we’ll address common questions about whether it’s biblical to exchange rings in a Christian wedding ceremony and if there are any objections based on Scripture.

The Origin and Symbolism of Wedding Rings

Rings as Symbols of Commitment in the Bible

Throughout the Bible, rings are used as symbols of commitment and everlasting bonds. For example, in the Old Testament, signet rings were seen as symbols of authority and used to seal letters and decrees (Genesis 41:42).

The New Testament speaks of the prodigal son being given a ring upon his return, symbolizing his reinstatement as a beloved family member (Luke 15:22). So biblically, rings represent unbroken bonds, authority, and familial belonging.

Following this tradition, wedding rings signify the unbreakable bond created between spouses in Christian marriage. The ring’s unbroken circular shape represents eternity and the continually restored commitment between partners.

Its placement on the “ring finger” of the left hand also stems from ancient beliefs that a vein travels directly from that finger to the heart. So wedding rings symbolize an eternal, spiraling bond connected directly to the couple’s hearts.

The History of Wedding Rings in Christian Tradition

While Scripture shows rings symbolizing commitment, the specific tradition of wedding rings developed over time. Some historians place the origin of wedding rings within early Roman culture. Romans believed circles represented everlasting love, so they used rings to signify betrothal.

This custom later spread through the Roman empire as Christianity took hold.

In 860 AD, Pope Nicholas declared an engagement ring as a required statement of nuptial intent. And by the 11th century, Christian wedding ceremonies commonly included a ring exchange. Their increasing popularity stemmed from beliefs that the fourth finger held a “love vein” running to the heart as well as mystical interpretations of the rings’ circular shape as a representation of God’s unending love.

So while the modern tradition stems from a blend of cultural influences, biblical views on rings developed alongside the wedding ring tradition as symbols of marital commitment. Today, rings retain both symbolic and traditional significance for Christian spouses, with over 80% of American Christian weddings including an exchange of rings.

Key Biblical Passages About Marriage Vows and Covenant

Genesis 2:24 – United as One Flesh

Genesis 2:24 reads, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This foundational verse establishes marriage as a sacred covenant between a man and a woman, united together by God.[1] Their union represents the profound mystery of two separate individuals becoming one, forming the bedrock of family and society.

Proverbs 18:22 – Finding a Wife

Proverbs 18:22 declares, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Marriage is portrayed as a blessing from God, and finding a suitable partner is something to be celebrated. This reminds us that both men and women should enter marriage prayerfully and thoughtfully.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – A Cord of Three Strands

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 illustrates the power of marriage: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Married couples can support and strengthen one another.

Ephesians 5:22-33 – Marriage Reflects Christ’s Love for the Church

Ephesians 5:22-33 provides instruction for marital roles and responsibilities, with husbands called to sacrificial love and leadership and wives called to respectful submission. It concludes by stating that marriage is a profound spiritual metaphor that reflects Christ’s sacrificial love for the Church.

Husbands should emulate Christ, and wives should emulate the Church.

Mark 10:2-12 – What God Has Joined Together

When questioned about divorce, Jesus responds in Mark 10:2-12 by affirming God’s original intention for marriage: “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Marriage is meant to be a lifelong covenantal union.

Although divorce is permitted in some circumstances due to human hardheartedness, it is not part of God’s design for marriage.

What the Bible Implies About Wedding Rings

Wedding Rings Can Symbolize Marriage Covenants

In the Bible, wedding rings are often used to represent the covenant between spouses in a marriage. When exchanged during a wedding ceremony, the rings can signify a solemn promise between two people to love, honor, and remain faithful to one another.

As circular objects with no beginning or end, wedding bands can symbolize the eternal bond and unending love between husband and wife.

Some key Bible verses that mention wedding rings or covenants include:

  • “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave.” (Song of Solomon 8:6)
  • “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)

Rings Represent Commitment and Fidelity

In many cultures today and throughout history, wedding rings have symbolized the commitment, fidelity, and exclusivity between spouses. Wearing a wedding band speaks volumes without having to say a word – it non-verbally communicates that the wearer is married and devoted to their partner.

Rings have no beginning or end – like a circle that goes on forever. This imagery reflects the ideal lifelong union that married couples strive for. Rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was believed that a “lover’s vein” runs directly from that finger to the heart.

Here are some relevant Bible verses about rings and marriage:

  • “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.” (Song of Solomon 8:6)
  • “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4)

The unbroken circle of wedding rings represents the promise of unconditional, faithful love between spouses.

Exchanging Rings Is Not Strictly Required or Forbidden

While wedding rings are a major tradition in many cultures today, the Bible neither requires nor forbids their use. No biblical passages command a couple to exchange rings during a marriage ceremony. However, Scripture does use ring symbolism to reflect concepts like God’s everlasting love and covenants with His people.

Nowhere does the Bible prescribe rules about which types of rings to use, what fingers to wear them on, or whether they must be exchanged at all. These specifics are not doctrine, but cultural traditions that have developed over time.

A few things the Bible does say about marriage:

  • God intended marriage to be a lifelong union between a man and woman (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5).
  • Husbands and wives should lovingly submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21).
  • Marriage partners must remain sexually faithful and not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14).

In the end, a Christian wedding ring is not about following strict rules, but embodying what Scripture teaches about God’s love, covenant bonds, and the sanctity of marriage.

Objections and Concerns About Wedding Rings

Are Rings a Pagan Custom?

Some Christians object to wedding rings because they believe the custom originated in paganism. However, the history of wedding rings dates back thousands of years and has roots in many cultures. Here are some key points on this concern:

  • Archaeologists have found rings signifying marriage from ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece. While some of these cultures held pagan beliefs, the ring itself does not have inherent pagan meaning.
  • Many common wedding traditions today also have distant roots in non-Christian cultures, like the white wedding dress, bridesmaids, and exchanging vows. But the meaning depends on the faith of those practicing the custom.
  • Rings represent a circle and eternity. So they nicely reflect God’s desire for marriage to be an unbroken union throughout life. Christians can give biblical meaning to this ancient symbol.
  • Shouldn’t Our Marriage Vows Be Enough?

    Some Christians argue that wedding rings are unnecessary since the marriage covenant is already established through verbal vows. Here are several reasons rings can still hold value:

  • Rings provide a visible, ongoing symbol of the vows made. When glance at the rings, spouses are reminded of their commitment which now influences all areas of life.
  • Rings signify the change in status from single to married. Like putting on a uniform, rings show others that the wearers are now unavailable for romantic pursuit.
  • Rings act as seals. In biblical times, kings used signet rings to validate documents. Wedding rings seal the marriage covenant in a symbolic way.
  • The circle of the ring pictures God’s desire for marriage to be lifelong. Removal of the ring can represent cancellation of vows.
  • So wedding bands serve as helpful symbols and reminders, though the marriage commitment ultimately rests on the vows themselves. Rings complement and reinforce those promises visually.

    Is the Cost of Wedding Rings Excessive?

    With wedding rings ranging from a couple hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, cost is a frequent concern. Here are a few considerations on balancing value and affordability:

  • Focus on long-term meaning over short-term fads. Opt for a classic style that will retain sentimental value rather than follow fleeting trends.
  • Prioritize budget for the things that matter most to you as a couple. Maybe splurge on photography but save on rings.
  • Consider affordable alternatives like tungsten, titanium, sterling silver, or modest sized diamonds. Emphasize personal meaning over size or extravagance.
  • Make ethical choices that align with your values. Some brides prefer gemstones over mined diamonds due to environmental factors.
  • Buy rings you can reasonably afford without going into debt. Save up if needed. Your financial partnership is more important than expensive rings.
  • With some intentional thinking, couples can find wedding rings that strike a balance between meaningfulness, personal style, and responsible cost. The rings you exchange will be priceless reminders of your covenant.

    Pastoral Perspectives on Wedding Rings

    It’s a Matter of Christian Freedom

    When it comes to wedding rings, pastors often emphasize the principle of Christian freedom and conscience. The Bible does not command or forbid the wearing of wedding bands specifically. So whether to exchange rings is a personal choice for couples to make as they see fit (1 Corinthians 10:23).

    Most pastors focus on the Biblical principles for marriage itself rather than details like rings. As John Piper writes, “The deepest and most durable foundation for marriage is the grace of God directing our choice to trust each other rather than ourselves and to glorify Him rather than maximize our pleasure.”

    Rings are optional traditions, but faith and commitment are essential.

    Focus on Marriage More Than Rings

    Still, some pastors point out that the circular shape of wedding bands can symbolize never-ending love and the removal of rings in cases of adultery can signify the breaking of marital vows. So rings can carry spiritual meaning even if they are not strictly required.

    The Old Testament portrays a ring given in connection with a marriage covenant (Genesis 41:42).

    But pastors universally focus more on the marriage than the rings themselves. The rings are not magic talismans that ensure an enduring marriage. As pastor Jim Daly counsels, “The strength and life of your marriage is rooted in your relationship with God and each other, not in wearing or not wearing rings.”

    Viewpoint Supporting Evidence
    Rings are optional The Bible does not command wedding rings
    Focus on marriage vows Rings may symbolize commitment but are not essential
    Principle of conscience Couples should thoughtfully decide based on their views

    In the end, nearly all Christian pastors emphasize that couples should make prayerful, conscience-driven decisions about wedding traditions. The raging debate over the legal definition of marriage in culture may tempt Christians to over-focus on externals like rings.

    But inner transformation through faith is far more important according to the Scriptural principles for marriage.


    In conclusion, while the Bible does not explicitly mention wedding rings, based on broader principles and themes related to marriage covenants, love, and faithfulness, most Christians view wedding bands as an appropriate outward symbol of the marriage commitment.

    There are no direct biblical prohibitions against exchanging rings, so Christians have freedom to include or exclude this tradition in their weddings. More important than rings themselves are the vows and covenant made between spouses and with God at the heart of Christian marriage.

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