Can we wear finger rings and nose rings according to the Bible?
Rings are mentioned 68 times in Scripture. Half of the references to rings occur in the book of Exodus in reference to constructing the tabernacle. They were used to assemble the tabernacle. In the rest of the Old Testament rings are mentioned as items that men and women wore. Rings are mentioned only two times in the New Testament as jewelry for women and men.
Rings In the Old Testament
It was common for men and women to wear rings in both the Old and New Testament times. The first time that rings are mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 24. In verse 22 Abraham’s servant offers a gold ring and two bracelets to a woman who is later identified as Rebekah.
When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold . . . Genesis 24:22 (NASB)
The Hebrew word for ring is nezem. It refers to ornamental rings or jewelry. The gifts are mentioned again in Genesis 24:30, 47.
In Exodus 32:2-3 Aaron commanded the people to remove the gold rings from their wives, sons and daughters. The verse states that the rings were earrings and not finger rings.
Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me. Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. Exodus 32:2-3 (NASB)
In Exodus 35:22 we discover that the Israelites wore brooches, signet rings and bracelets.
Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and bracelets, all articles of gold; so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the LORD. Exodus 35:22 (NASB)
Numbers 31:50 reveals that the Israelites also wore armlets and necklaces.
So we have brought as an offering to the LORD what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD. Numbers 31:50 (NASB)
Esther 3:10; 12; 8:2, 8, 10, and Daniel 6:17 do not give us any new information about rings since it refers only to signet rings. Job 42:11 states that people when consoling Job presented him with gifts of rings and money, but this verse does not indicate God’s approval of men wearing rings. However, God never warns the Israelites to not wear rings, nose rings or earrings. Proverbs 11:22 indicates that women wore nose rings. Nose and finger rings are also mentioned in Ezekiel 16:12.
Rings In the New Testament
Rings are mentioned in the New Testament two times. For example, finger rings are mentioned in Luke 15:22 and again in James 2:2. Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, it is obvious that men and women wore rings on their fingers, in their noses and on their ears. But does God ever prohibit the wearing of rings? The answer is yes! The explanation is given in the conclusion.
God does prohibit the wearing of finger rings, nose rings and earrings under certain circumstances. A very important and helpful passage about a person’s attitude toward jewelry begins in Isaiah 3:16. In verse 16, God rebukes the women of Israel who wear jewelry for the purpose of being seductive and when they are overly preoccupied with being beautiful. Carefully read God’s rebuke.
Moreover, the LORD said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud
And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes,
And go along with mincing steps
And tinkle the bangles on their feet,
Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs,
And the LORD will make their foreheads bare. Isaiah 3:16 (NASB)
Then in Isaiah 3:18-21 God states that He would take away the Israelites dangling earrings, bracelets, ankle chains, armlets, finger rings, and nose rings.
In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments, dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, finger rings, nose rings . . . Isaiah 3:18-21 (NASB)
This is the first warning in Scripture about wearing jewelry. It occurs because of the sinful heart that is too proud and preoccupied with personal beauty.
God warns men and women to not wear strange clothes in Zephaniah 1:8. The warning deals with wearing clothes of another culture. That is, the blurring of one’s distinctiveness.
1 Timothy 2:9 warns women to wear “proper clothing” and then adds she must be modest. The Greek word for modest has the sense being humble and avoiding shame. The same principle applies to men. We are to avoid costly clothes and jewelry.
Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments . . . 1 Timothy 2:9 (NASB)
Finally, 1 Peter 3:3-4 tells women to be more concerned about the inner person and not the external appearance. This does not mean that men and women should avoid jewelry and clothes. God is not promoting nudity and a worn-out-clothes look. God is calling for us to be more concerned about the inner person than the external person.
Can men wear finger rings, nose rings and earrings? The answer is yes, but it depends upon the reason and a person’s heart attiude . The issue is your purpose for wearing the ring!
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