Wedding Rings - Pagan Origin? Some have made the objection that wedding rings have a pagan origin. Yet, not only is there no historical evidence that provides any definite conclusion on whether pagans originally used wedding rings as part of false religious practices or whether they even would still retain such religious significance, but there is no precise evidence that pagans first used wedding rings at all.
Yes, some rings are associated with some customs, but not all customs are disapproved by God.
The Bible shows that some of God's servants in the past wore rings, even ones that had special meaning attached to them. Wearing a signet ring could indicate that one had received authority to act in behalf of the ruler who owned it. (Gen. 41:42; Num. 31:50; Esther 8:2, 8; Job 42:11, 12; Luke 15:22) So while the Bible does not mention wedding rings, these true worshipers clearly did not have a problem using rings for more than mere adornment.
Besides, it is the USE of pagan things associated with pagan WORSHIP that is at the heart of the issue. It would be wrong to incorporate anything used for pagan worship, into our worship or related activities. Holidays, for example, are "Holy Days" and are a part of "worship", by their very name. The use of wedding rings and the mere reference to a day or month on a calendar are not.
Note the following 'Questions From Readers' excerpt from the 1-15-72 Watchtower:
• Is it proper for a Christian to wear a wedding ring?
Actually there are conflicting ideas as to the origin of the wedding ring. Let us give a few examples: “Originally . . . the ring was a fetter, used to bind the captive bride.” (For Richer, for Poorer) “The ring is a relatively modern substitute for the gold coin or other article of value with which a man literally purchased his wife from her father.” (The Jewish Wedding Book) “The wedding ring is supposed to be of Roman origin, and to have sprung from the ancient custom of using rings in making agreements.” (American Cyclopædia) “Various explanations have been given of the connection of the ring with marriage. It would appear that wedding-rings were worn by the Jews prior to Christian times.”—The International Cyclopaedia.
It is thus seen that the precise origin of the wedding ring is uncertain. Even if it were a fact that pagans first used wedding rings, would that rule such out for Christians? Not necessarily. Many of today’s articles of clothing and aspects of life originated in pagan lands. The present time divisions of hours, minutes and seconds are based on an early Babylonian system. Yet, there is no objection to a Christian’s using these time divisions, for one’s doing so does not involve carrying on false religious practices.
Of course, our concern is greater as regards the use of wedding rings, since this relates, not to minor secular matters, but to the marriage relationship, which the Christian rightly views as sacred before God. Really, the question is not so much whether wedding rings were first used by pagans but whether they were originally used as part of false religious practices and still retain such religious significance. As has been shown, the historical evidence does not allow for any definite conclusion on this.
For more, see:
Weddings / Wedding Rings - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
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