Every day, Christians from different denominations come up with rules and regulations expected of every believer. Some are agreeable, whereas others remain controversial. Still, to better understand how to serve God and not sin against him, many believers wonder, is wearing jewelry a sin?
It is no sin for Christians to wear jewelry. However, they are asked to do so in a decent manner. 1 Peter 3:3-4 suggests how a woman is expected to dress. Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. Simply put, religious scholars imply that to flaunt your beauty for selfish adoration is sinful.
Is wearing jewelry sinful? Are there bible verses that have openly condemned jewelry-wearing? Why, then, do people marry in Church and wear rings? Using evidence from the scriptures, let us look into the answers to these and other questions.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 is the scripture that causes many people to question whether wearing jewelry is sinful. In this verse, Paul says, I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
Yet some religious scholars argue that there are also positive scriptures regarding wearing jewelry. Ezekiel 16 is an example of a verse that implies that wearing jewelry is not bad. This chapter figuratively describes how God handled the nation of ancient Israel. In this scripture, God is seen figuratively finding an abandoned female baby on the street, cleaning her, and clothing her. When he cares for her enough until she is old enough to love, he dresses her in expensive jewelry and covers her with costly garments. Later, God marries this woman, who symbolizes the nation of Israel.
So theologians point out that if wearing jewelry was sinful, God could not have married such a person. Then when does it become so wrong to have jewelry on your body as a Christian?
This same scripture further implies that after a while, Israel believed so much in her beauty that she forgot what God had done for her. Ezekiel 16:15-16 says, ‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by, and your beauty became his. You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. You went to him, and he possessed your beauty.’
This is where the problem starts. Religious scholars imply that if wearing jewelry makes you so beautiful that you become selfish and forget God, who favored you, then the act becomes sinful.
The New Testament also stresses the importance of a God-fearing person not focusing on the outward appearance but rather on proper adornment. The scriptures imply that proper adornment involves good deeds for a Christian woman. This is why Tabitha, in Acts 9:36, was considered proper, not because of her outward appearance but because of her feeds.
Furthermore, Revelation 17:4 says, ‘The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.’ This lady in the bible was glittering because of her jewelry, hence the scripture suggests that she was relying on her jewelry to make her beautiful, which is considered to be chasing after vanity. Theologians, therefore, suggest that this is sinful.
These scriptures are backed up by the other verses in the New Testament (see 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:3-5)that condemn Christians who focus on their outward beauty rather than the purity and quietness found within.
Interestingly, the Catholic Church is not strict about wearing jewelry. No law forbids Catholics from wearing jewelry. Just as a married couple symbolizes their union by wearing rings, so do catholic nuns, known as consecrated virgins, who wear rings to show their loyalty to their God. And this is not all! The bishop also wears jewelry. When a bishop is ordained, he is given a ring known as a Bishop’s ring or an Episcopal ring, which symbolizes the bishop’s obedience and loyalty and the power he has over the faithful entrusted to him.
Let’s not forget that every Catholic believer also wears a rosary or a crucifix necklace or even hangs these items on their car rearview mirror or other important places. For them, these items symbolize objects of devotion to their Lord.
Another form of jewelry is the Pectoral cross worn by the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, and Abbots. This one is usually tied to a chain and hangs on the chest next to the heart. It symbolizes the dignity of their position. All this suggests that the Church does not give official teachings prohibiting Catholics from wearing jewelry.
Married Catholics are allowed to wear wedding rings. For Catholics, just like any other Christian denomination, rings are considered a sign of a covenant of love between the married couple. Catholics wear it on the third finger of the left hand. Peter Klein’s book called the “Catholic Source Book” further suggests that “It was once believed that a nerve, or a vein of blood, ran from this finger to the heart.”
Catholics have specific necklaces that they wear, and they speculate that these necklaces are an indication of the protection and love granted to them by their Holy Father and Heavenly Mother Mary. The kind of necklaces that a Catholic can wear include:
- Cross necklaces
- Four-way or five-way necklaces
- Crucifix necklaces
- Patron saint necklaces
- Rosary necklaces
Christians have no specific jewelry to wear. In the bible, many passages show people were either gifted or given jewelry of all kinds, from gold to silver. So this assists theologians in their suggestion that it is not the kind of jewelry that Christians should wear that is the problem, but rather how much attention it will bring to you. So Christians wear rings and necklaces, among many other kinds of jewelry, because no law prohibits them from wearing certain types. Remember that in 1 Samuel 16:7, the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
From all biblical evidence provided, theologians suggest that wearing jewelry is not a sin as long as it does not lead you to sin. They further imply that sin occurs when a Christian wears jewelry and focuses so much on her outward appearance that she becomes selfish. This is because this will distract them from focusing on their spiritual life. According to believers, a beautiful woman is one with a quiet and gentle spirit who does not attract too much attention because of her jewelry but who, because of her good deeds, God sees her heart.
- 1 Peter 3:3-6: Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. –This scripture suggests that Christians should not focus on beauty enhanced by wearing jewelry but rather on the unfading beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit
- 1 Timothy 2:9-10: I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God-Women who love God are advised to focus on good deeds, not on expensive jewelry.
- Isaiah 3:18-23: On that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.- This scripture suggests that because the women of Zion have lost themselves in the beauty of their jewelry, they forget to serve God and hence will be punished.
- Revelation 17:4: The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet and was glittering with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.- In this verse, this woman is speculated to be a sinner because she is blinded by her pearls.
- Ezekiel 16:15-17: You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.- The scripture figuratively describes Jerusalem as an adulterous wife of God. God clothed her and adorned her with jewelry, only for her to become selfish and forget him.
- Hosea 2:13: I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the Lord-Even in this verse, the Lord decides to punish the person who forgot him because she saw herself better with her beauty.
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As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.