Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Ring In The New”

Why do most christians wear wedding rings?  I heard that ancient pagan Romans were probably responsible for beginning the use of engagement and wedding rings.  Originally, the ring was placed on the third finger of the left hand because of a superstitious belief that a vein from this finger runs directly to the heart.  Although this superstitious idea is no longer believed by most people, wedding rings are still placed on the third finger of the left hand by the majority of wearers.  There is nothing in the Bible saying we should do this.  Why have christians held on to this pagan practice?

Ringed Out

Dear Ringed Out,

Many people wear jewelry that depicts ancient idolatrous behavior (almost all Native American artwork falls into this category) or practice traditions that have ancient pagan roots… the important thing is how those traditions and jewelry are perceived today.  As Paul said, “We know that an idol is nothing” (1 Cor 8:4).  The wedding ring and the tradition of wearing it on the third finger of the left hand have no intrinsic evil to them; it is only if those traditions are perceived as acts of idol worship that they become sinful.  If people believed you were wearing your wedding ring for pagan Roman purposes (or if it offended your conscience), you would have to stop (1 Cor 8:7-9).  However, most wedding ceremonies today state that the ring is a symbol of unending love – not a symbol of pagan worship.  The wedding ring’s beginnings may or may not be idolatrous… nobody knows definitively where the tradition comes from.  Regardless of its past, in today’s society, wedding rings almost universally represent a pure commitment to matrimony.