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Portions of my article below are now published in the wedding planning book, Planet Wedding.  Despite the fact that the web site address included in the article's introduction is incorrect, I am thrilled to share the news with all my visitors!

Bible Verses for Your Wedding

The list below will aid you in selecting Bible verses for your wedding and comes as a result of years of working with wedding couples in Episcopal, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Christian Science churches and from my education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Following the list are some closing thoughts which may be helpful to you.  Direct quotes from the Bible are taken from the King James Version, which is in the public domain.  The interpretations or paraphrases of these Bible verses are strictly my own.  However, they do reflect mainstream thought and are nondenominational in perspective.

A word about translations and paraphrases:  While many prefer the King James Version for the sheer poetry of the language, many verses read quite differently in other translations.  Consider consulting Today's English Version, The New International Version, the Revised Standard, the New Revised Standard, The Good News Bible, the New Living Translation, the Jerusalem Bible, and many others for more modern language.  A good online source that provides a quick look-up of Bible verses from 16 different translations can be found at Bible Gateway or Cross Walk.

Beware of Biblical translations that are paraphrases!

Wedding Bible Verses from the Old Testament and Apocrypha

Bible readings for your wedding from the Old Testament, also called The Hebrew Bible, are suitable for Jewish weddings.  The most appropriate version of the Bible for a Jewish wedding is the Masoretic Text.  Instructions for viewing the Hebrew text are included at the site.

Genesis 1:27-28a, 31a God's good and gracious work in creating man and woman for each other
Ruth 1:16  The devotion of Ruth to a new family
Song of Solomon 2:10-14, 16a  The lover arrives in spring to call for his bride
Song of Solomon 8:6-7 A bride beseeches her lover to be faithful
Isaiah 26:3-4  Trust in God
Isaiah 43:1-7  Our redemption by God, and God's presence and love in our lives
Isaiah 55:10-13  God's word feeds and nurtures us
Isaiah 61:10-62:3 Our certain salvation and a new status
Jeremiah 29:11-13  The context of Jeremiah's letter to the exiles in Babylon is wayward people being called back into a righteous relationship with God.  Taken out of context, it could be interpreted as a directive to seek the Lord, thus making it appropriate in a wedding ceremony.
Psalm 19  A psalm praising God as creator
Psalm 34:8  A psalm of thanksgiving.  Verse 8 is a particularly nice wedding reading when Holy Communion is included in the service.
Psalm 98:1a, 4-6 A psalm of praise
Psalm 100  A psalm of praise
Psalm 119  The longest in the Bible, the entire psalm is a reflection on God's laws, with verses 1-16 reflecting on walking always in God's way.
Psalm 127  A home built by God
Psalm 128  The blessings of lives led by God
Psalm 148  Praise the Lord
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12  The values of human companionship
Tobit 8:5-9  Tobias and Sarah praise God and acknowledge Him as the creator who ordained marriage.  Tobias prays for mercy and that God allow him and Sarah to grow old together.  (This is the only verse I could find from the Apocrypha.)

Wedding Bible Verses from the Gospels

Matthew 5:1-10 The famous Beatitudes which proclaim God's favor to those who try to live by God's law.  (See Luke 6:17-49 for a shorter account of The Sermon on the Mount which also includes a few other verses found elsewhere in Matthew.)
Matthew 7:24-27  A metaphor on establishing your home on a foundation in God.
Matthew 22:35-40 The greatest commandment of love and the many ways it applies to life.
Mark 2:18-22 Christ as the bridegroom and His followers as the bride.
Mark 10: 42-45  It is better to serve than to be served.
John 2:1-11  Christ performs his first miracle of turning water to wine at the wedding at Cana.
John 3:16  The famous "For God so loved the world" verse.
John 14:6  "I am the way, the truth, and the life..."
John 15:9-17  An admonition to love one another.  Christ's sacrificial love for us.

Wedding Bible Verses from the New Testament

Romans 12:9-18 The Christian's duty to love and all that is encompassed by that duty:  Hope, patience, prayer, compassion, and more.  Be sure to compare this passage to the 13th chapter of First Corinthians.
I Corinthians 13 Perhaps the most famous of all wedding Bible verses, this chapter defines the ultimate gift of the Spirit:  Love.
I Corinthians 14:1 "Make love your aim" in all that you do.  (Verses 2-5 go on to discuss the superior gift of prophecy rather than speaking in tongues.)
I Corinthians 16:14 Be certain that everything you do is motivated by love.
2 Corinthians 5:14-17  Through Christ's sacrificial love, we have become new creations.
Ephesians 2:4-10 God's gracious love for us saves us through faith.
Ephesians 4:25-5:2  Be loving and forgiving, speaking only good and imitating Christ. "...let not the sun go down upon your wrath..." (KJV) Check on more modern translations for a better reading.
Ephesians 5:21-33 This passage depicting the Christian home is difficult for some because it deals with "submission theology."  However, the general thought is mutual submission.  Understand it from an early church point of view.
Philippians 2:1-5 Guard against selfishness.  Be humble and serve others.
Philippians 4:4-9  Rejoice and don't be anxious.  Live honorably and justly, and God's peace will be a part of your lives.
Colossians 3:12-17  The Christian life lived in love and harmony.  Do all in Christ's name.
Colossians 3:18-20 More submission theology with the admonition to husbands to love their wives
I John 3:1  "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us..." (KJV)
I John 3:16  Christ's example of sacrificial love.
I John 3:18-24  Believe in Christ, and keep His commandments by loving one another.
I John 4:7 Love each other because love comes from God.
I John 4:16-19  God loves us.  If we live in love, it serves as a sign that God lives in us.  We are capable of love only because God loved us first.
Revelation 19:1; 5-9  A glorious celebration in heaven for the marriage of the Lamb of God.  The church is depicted as the Bride.

An important aspect of planning your wedding is selecting scripture readings for your ceremony.  Many clergy encourage the couple to look through the Bible and choose some appropriate verses.  This provides an excellent way for the bride and groom to personalize their service by choosing Bible readings that have a special meaning for them or speak to their particular situation.  For many couples this is both exciting and daunting.  After all, the Bible is a pretty big book!  Where to begin?  How to choose?  Which to choose?

Most members of the clergy will not object to more than one scripture reading during your ceremony.  In fact, many will encourage you to pick as many as 3 passages.  As difficult as it might be for you to believe, it can be hard to narrow it down! There are so many from which to choose!

In reading these selections, you may find yourself reading beyond the verses.  This is an excellent idea because the context may surprise you in some cases.  For example, Ruth 1:16 is a popular verse and is often used in weddings.  (There are endless vocal music settings of this text as well, so don't rule this possibility out for your soloist.)  While we think of this passage as being spoken by a man to a woman, or visa versa, as an affirmation of love and devotion, it is actually spoken by Ruth to her mother-in-law, Naomi!  The story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz is certainly an entertaining tale.  If you have time to read the whole saga, I encourage you to do so!  It's quite a story!   So, again, try to take the time to read a few verses before and after the main verses listed above.  It could influence your decision.

How does one begin to narrow down the choices?  One thing to bear in mind is that many of these popular wedding Bible verses have been set to music.  If you narrow your choices down to 5, but you only need to use 3, find out from your music director if any of your choices are set to music.  You could then use those as vocal selections and the problem is solved.  You can have them all!

And as for which ones to choose, you have some work ahead of you.  Read the verses as a couple.  Ask each other, "Does this reading speak to our situation?"  "Does this scripture sum up an important belief that we hold?"  "Does this Bible verse make us feel good or special when we read it?"  And sometimes it's simply a matter of what grabs you!

Your wedding is one of the most important events in your life.  Take the time to set the perfect tone for your married years by starting your ceremony preparations with the Bible.

This article on Bible verses appropriate for your wedding is offered to you free of charge, and you have permission to print it out to aid you in your ceremony preparations.  Reproducing and selling this article for profit, however, is a copyright infringement and is not allowed.

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