The wearing of wedding rings is a man-made custom which has no Biblical or Christian roots. It is thought that the custom of the wearing wedding rings originated in ancient Egypt. Rings were made out of plant fibers instead of metal. People wore the ring on the third finger of the left hand because they believed there was a vein in that finger which provided a direct connection to the heart. Therefore, a ring (an unending circle) on that finger resembled unending love in a marriage relationship.
The modern custom of a metal wedding ring originated with the Romans who made the rings out of iron to be common and inexpensive. The Roman men claimed their woman with the giving of a ring. And they also connected the giving of the wedding band to an exchange of valuables (gold and silver). They thought that this would help ensure the economic safety of the couple. With time, the wedding ring came into use in Christian ceremonies in the 9th century AD.
The Bible gives no reference that finger rings were used as betrothal rings. The signet ring is the earliest type of ring mentioned in the Bible and it was used to seal various contracts. It was a symbol of authority, dignity, and social status (Genesis 41:42; Esther 3:10,12; Luke 15:22).
The early Christian pioneers shunned the use of wedding rings along with all other jewelry out of obedience to scriptural commands “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing” (1 Timothy 2:9); “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel” (1 Peter 3:3).
Christians who wear wedding rings today say it deter ungodly men or women from making improper advances to those who wish to be faithful to their wedding vows. Finally, those who choose not to wear the wedding ring should not condemn those who live in cultures where the wearing of the wedding ring custom is “considered essential.”
Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.
In His service,