While some would think of this as absurd, it is quite a legitimate question which is raised by many Christians today. Is it against God’s Word and Will to wear Jewellery? The short answer would be “NO”, as we do not see any objections raised against wearing of Jewellery anywhere in the Scriptures. But we will research this topic nonetheless to get a better understanding of the subject, and iron out any queries that remain by testing the proof texts used to say “wearing jewellery is unchristian like”.
Let’s review the usage of Jewelry in the Scriptures
♦ Abraham sent Jewellery to Rebekah who wore them
Gen 24:22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;
Gen 24:30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.
Gen 24:47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.
Gen 24:53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.
♦ God asked to recover precious things from the Egyptians and put it on their sons and daughters
Exo 3:22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.
♦ All of Israel brought Jewellery as offerings to Moses, so he could build the Tabernacle for God
Exo 35:22 And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD.
♦ The officers who returned from the battle with the Midianites offered the spoils to God, for the victory without a single casualty.
Num 31:50 We have therefore brought an oblation for the LORD, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the LORD.
♦ Joseph wore Jewellery
Gen 41:42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
♦ Daniel wore Jewellery
Dan 5:29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
♦ God speaks of Israel as a bride who He adorned with Jewellery
Eze 16:11,12 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.
Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
♦ God equates Israel who has forgotten YHVH, to a woman who has forgotten her jewellery or a bride who has forgotten her fine clothing
Jer 2:32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
The above examples make it clear that jewellery was worn by many in the Scriptures, and that there exists no Commandment or restriction against the wearing of such given by God.
So what are the verses often used to prove this argument against Jewellery?
♦ One of the main verses of Scripture used to further this argument is, of the story of Jacob and how earrings were removed according to his instructions.
Gen 35:2-5 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
The above passage is often used as proof of all jewellery being unbiblical and against God’s way. But read it again, and you see that Jacob’s request is that they “Put away the strange gods”, to which the people hand over “all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears”. Why did they give the earrings along with the idols, when his request was to put away idols? The only reason could have been that the jewellery was either consecrated or been made with figures/embellishments of pagan gods. This was a common practice in ancient cultures and there are quite a few ancient artifacts such as rings, bracelets and earrings in museums around the world which contain pagan religious symbols to prove this fact. If this was the case, Jacob’s request to put away idols, being met with the giving away of their earring would make complete sense.
♦ The second set of verses are quoted from the letters of Paul and Peter.
1Ti 2:9,10 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness–with good works.
1Pe 3:3,4 Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear. but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
Peter and Paul both instruct their congregations in the verses above, to dress the inward parts of their lives, rather than adorning themselves in jewellery. But these verses cannot be taken out of context to say that wearing jewellery is wrong before God’s eyes. What they simply said was that everyone should strive for inner beauty rather than looking beautiful externally. Reading the verses before and afterwards in these letters, the above highlighted verses of Paul and Peter, makes this fact clear – as this was the context of their messages in the letters.
Wearing of earrings, jewelry, perfume, etc is becoming a problem even here in Sri Lanka. Some teach that these things are wrong and that Christians should not wear such things. In the Bible there is no such prohibition. Nowhere does it say wearing jewelery is wrong. Abraham sent jewelery to Rebekah (Gen 24:22). Moses used jewelery from israelites when making the tabernacle (Exo 35:22, Num 31:50). God speaks in parables using jewelery to show how he loved Israel (Eze 16:11). These are only a few of the examples that showcase this fact.
The Christianity of our day, is looking at the outer things and pointing fingers at these, while the more important commandments such as the Sabbath, Food Laws, Feast days are forgotten and discarded. We need to concentrate on decorating the insides of our lives, more than the outside – but this does not mean jewelry is a bad thing, or that it is forbidden in the bible. The only thing we need to remember when wearing jewellery is, to wear it decently. And as in all things, wear, walk, talk, so that we bring glory to God in all that we do. Each Christian should remember the wise words of King Solomon – “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” (Pro 11:22)