I think that many times people search for a topic like “wearing jewelry” hoping that the Bible has a definitive answer for them.
Maybe the church they go to has taken a position they disagree with like “real Christians don’t wear jewelry”, or perhaps they are considering going to a church and don’t want to wear too much or the wrong thing.
If that is the case the Bible won’t really help because in the end it’s all about motivation and moderation.
Why Do Christians Wear Jewelry – What’s The Purpose
Adornment is the term found in the Bible frequently when discussing jewelry. When we adorn ourselves, we are trying to look better, make an impression, or display wealth.
In modern day culture jewelry is also used to make a statement of belief (read my article on letting go and trusting God).
For example, pins are used to show club membership or awards received. Charm bracelets are frequently a collection of places visited or numbers of grandchildren.
More recently piercings have increased in popularity and an individual might have a nose ring, belly button jewel, or metal tongue stud. All of these types of “jewelry’ tell us something about the wearer.
It signals to others what is important to them (possibly individuality or style) and bonds with others of the same mind are formed more easily. People who have multiple piercings might enjoy hanging out with others who have the same.
Necklaces dangling flip flops, peace signs, or crosses also give a clue to others what the wearer likes or finds important.
Increased attractiveness is the most common reason women wear jewelry. Sparkly crystals, flashy hoop earrings or shiny gold chains might make a woman feel special but whether or not it actually increases her attractiveness would be in the eye of the beholder (or his or her own).
Sports figures are often seen with huge gold chains around their necks. While I don’t know of any research done as to why, it’s logical to assume it is a display of wealth or style. They do make loads of money!
What If You’re Wearing A Cross As Jewelry
Although wearing a cross may be fashionable, it can also be a statement of faith. I have a number of them given to me as gifts and they are my favorite pieces of jewelry.
When wearing something as important as a cross it is important to be ready for questions (also read “what are swaddling clothes“).
What Does The Bible Say About Wearing Jewelry
The Bible acknowledges that people wear jewelry. In a number of different chapters and verses we can see that it is usually what the people do with it that matters to God.
Gifts of Gold for Rebekah (Read the story in Genesis 24)
In the Bible, jewelry is listed when people are demonstrating their wealth, especially around marriages. When Isaac’s servant was looking for a bride and found Rebekah, he brought lots of jewelry and gold to convince the family that he was a worthy suitor and rich!
Rebekah ended up with gold and silver bracelets, necklaces and a ring in her nose; plus a husband!
The Hebrews Leave Egypt with Lots of Jewelry (Read the story in Exodus 12)
In Genesis when the Hebrews were in Egypt and Pharaoh had finally let them go, the Egyptians eagerly gave all their jewelry and riches to them. I suppose they were so happy to be rid of them after 10 plagues.
But then of course, they did the wrong thing with the jewelry.
Golden Calf Makes Itself (Read the story in Exodus 24)
In this chapter Moses is up on the mountain where God is writing the 10 commandments. While Moses is absent Aaron allows the people to get out of control and this is how he explained himself.
So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”
This is when Moses threw the tablets, broke them and directed the death of many Israelites. God is not happy with idols and especially after he made sure the Egyptians gifted the people with riches which they promptly made into a golden calf.
The Prophets Speak to Cherishing Gold not God
The Bible also points out that people are usually very proud of their gold, silver and jewels. The wearing of jewelry is important for a bride who is preparing herself for marriage.
In this verse and in other similar ones, God points out that people are loving their jewels and gold more than they love him.
Jeremiah 2:32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.
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.
Displaying wealth has historically been a primary reason especially in ancient cultures where gold and silver was the medium used for exchange. Job was a wealthy man, lost it all and then was blessed again with rings of gold.
Job 42:11 Then all his brothers and all his sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversities that the Lord had brought on him. And each one gave him one piece of money, and each a ring of gold.
Are Christian Perspectives On Jewelry the Same For Men and Women
While nothing specifically addresses the differences between the two as far as jewelry, the kings like David and Saul wore big golden crowns and amulets. Daniel was given golden chains from the King of Persia (Daniel 5:29).
It seems that besides the historical fashion dictates, there are not really any differences.
Finally, and here is the key, it’s not what you wear but how you wear it. Proverbs is full of wisdom and in this verse jewelry is addressed.
Jewelry is not forbidden but its importance is less than wisdom. Wisdom is better to have than an abundance of jewels although it may not hurt to have both. Given a choice, speaking with wisdom is best.
Proverbs 20:15 There is gold, and an abundance of jewels; But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.
1Peter 2:2-4 When they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of 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.
Peter’s admonition to be beautiful on the inside not just on the outside says it all. There is nothing wrong with adorning oneself, wearing jewelry or arranging your hair, however don’t neglect the real beauty which comes from knowing God and his son Jesus Christ.
When our priorities are correctly aligned with God’s word, we will naturally cease to worry about superficial things like jewelry, fashion or make-up. The result will be evident in pure lives and a quiet spirit.
Churches or groups who focus on what we look or dress like more than our becoming Christ-like have a way to go before they start making rules.
Focus, rather, on the inner beauty that never fades.