What does the Bible
say about Wedding Rings?
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Question: What does the Bible say about wedding rings? What do they symbolize?
Answer: Various societies, throughout history, have their own customs regarding marriage and the symbols they use to represent the union between two people. The giving of a ring to mark a betrothal is an old Roman custom that predates Christianity. At a time when arranged marriages were quite common, the ring was likely pledging the fulfilling of the marriage contract. Christians, under the Roman Empire, tolerated rings given in a betrothal ceremony.
There is not much evidence, if any, that suggests wedding rings have any religious significance. The Bible is also silent about them. That said, many feel a ring symbolizes a never-ending circle of eternal love.
Although the Bible does not mention wedding rings, it does give couples a clear admonition on how to treat each other (Ephesians 5:22 - 25, 28). Jesus underscored the importance of marriage as a lifelong commitment by referring back to God's institution of the marriage covenant (Matthew 19:4 - 6).
One European marriage tradition is the engraving of a mate's name and the marriage date on the inside surface of the wedding ring.
Why are modern wedding rings placed on the left hand's next to last finger (known as the ring finger)? This tradition came out of the ancient Roman belief that this finger was the only one that contained a vein that led directly to a person's heart. Jewish tradition places a simple ring (no stones or inscriptions) on the bride's first finger of her right hand.
The tradition in the Old Testament was that the bride stood on the groom's right hand side (Psalm 45:9). The right hand was considered a place of honor. Modern tradition, however, places the bride on the groom's LEFT side as they both face the person who officiates the ceremony. Why the switch? It seems this placement grew out of the Middle Ages, when grooms (who many times had to defend their brides during the ceremony) needed to have their right hand free in order to grab their swords.