Is it okay for a Christian man or woman to wear earrings?
A look at the Bible shows that both men and women wore earrings. In Exodus 32:2-3, Aaron said, "Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." It is clear both men and women wore earrings in ancient Israel (see also Numbers 31:50; Judges 8:24; Song of Solomon 1:10-11).
In the New Testament, there is no command either for or against wearing earrings. However, Paul did once warn Christian women, "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" (1 Timothy 2:9-10). He did not want their focus to be on expensive clothing or jewelry but rather on Christ. The focus was on modesty rather than whether earrings were acceptable or not. Peter gave a similar instruction in 1 Peter 3:3.
Some have argued that men should not wear earrings because it is a sign of being effeminate or appearing to look like a female. Deuteronomy 22:5 is referred to, which says, "A woman shall not wear a man's garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God." However, using this verse to claim that men today cannot wear earrings is a difficult application to justify.
First, the passage speaks specifically of clothing, not jewelry. Second, this was part of the Jewish Mosaic Law that is not required of Christians today. Third, the cultural stigma that may have been true in the past of American history is not generally the case today. Both men and women commonly wear earrings without it being seen as a problem. In addition, it is clear that men wore earrings in ancient times, likely including many of the biblical leaders of the Old Testament.
For younger people, there is also the issue of obeying one's parents. As a child living in your parent's home, you are called to obey your parent regarding this issue: "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord" (Colossians 3:20). Ephesians 6:1 says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
Overall, there is no biblical command against a man or woman wearing earrings. In fact, a case can be made to show many men and women who have followed God have worn earrings. If doing so does not cause problems with the faith of others around you (Romans 14) and is not in disobedience to one's parents, then it is a matter of personal choice whether or not a man or woman wears earrings. Our goal, however, is not simply to please ourselves, but rather to honor God and live in service to Him. We must seek not only what is permissible, but also pray for wisdom regarding how to best serve God in every area of our lives, including what we wear. As Paul wrote, "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up" (1 Corinthians 10:23).
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