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Bible Readings for Weddings

Updated on May 30, 2011

The Top Ten Bible Readings for Weddings

About to marry your prince (or princess)? Are you trying to find a great Bible reading for your wedding? Whether you're having a civil wedding ceremony, a Christian or Catholic wedding ceremony, you'll find the most loved and most read Bible readings for weddings in this lens. So if the minister has asked you to pick Scripture verses for your marriage, you can find them here in clear, contemporary language.

If the wedding Bible verses you're looking for are not listed in this Bible Readings for Weddings lens, contact me, I will help you find the wedding verses you have in mind. You may not be having a royal wedding, but you can have the same wedding ceremony readings! You'll find the Bible reading from the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, holding the #1 rank.

Will and Kate drive off in an Aston Martin!
Will and Kate drive off in an Aston Martin!

10. Ruth 1:16-18

We're in this together babe!

Where you go I will go,

and where you stay I will stay.

Your people will be my people

and your God my God.

Where you die I will die,

and there I will be buried.

May the LORD deal with me,

be it ever so severely,

if even death separates you and me.

(Today's New International Version)

This is a great reading about commitment and loyalty. It was actually spoken by a young Moabite woman to her Jewish mother-in-law following the death of her husband, but it's been used for the love and loyalty between married couples for ages.

You'll see that I prefer clear, contemporary translations of these Bible readings for weddings, but down below you'll find a great link for looking up more traditional (King James Version) readings. Just to show you the difference, with #10, I'll post the traditional reading as well. Some people prefer the Shakespearean style of verse, almost sounds like it would be read at a royal wedding.

Whither thou goest, I will go;

and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:

thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried:

the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

(King James Version)

Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales
Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales

9. Genesis 2:18-24

Let's get formal: the institution of marriage

18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

"This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called 'woman,'

for she was taken out of man."

24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

(Today's New International Version)

This is the Bible's first reading on marriage: Adam and Eve, man and woman, made for each other. It is common to read verse 18 and then skip to verses 22 to 24, but depending on the wedding, you might want to keep the wildlife in there! If you're having a Protestant or Christian wedding ceremony, often the minister will give you the option of a more traditional or more contemporary ceremony; you can expect these verses in the more traditional option.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
Prince William and Kate Middleton

8. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one!

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their labor:

If they fall down,

they can help each other up.

But pity those who fall

and have no one to help them up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

(Today's New International Version)

A great simple yet meaningful reading of Scripture. Some understand the "cord of three strands" to mean that God joined with a couple makes their love even stronger. Others see the imagery affirming the strengthening power of couplehood and community. It's a great reading for a civil wedding ceremony or church wedding ceremony.

ith Bill & Hillary Clinton
ith Bill & Hillary Clinton

7. Psalm 127:1

We want to make a statement about our faith and our union

Unless the LORD builds the house,

the builders labor in vain.

(Today's New International Version)

Short, but it makes a powerful statement of faith about what the couple desires to see in their relationship with God. I loved this verse; it was the first thing spoken at my wedding.

Prince William has found the right one, Kate Middleton
Prince William has found the right one, Kate Middleton

6. Proverbs 31:10-12

It's hard to find a good woman!

A wife of noble character who can find?

She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her

and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm,

all the days of her life.

(Today's New International Version)

Even harder to find than "a wife of noble character" is a Bible passage about a husband of noble character! Got any ideas? Let me know in the Guestbook below.

Wedding gift you hadn't thought of - A few good book recommendations

A Bible is a great wedding gift that no one else thought of! Some kind of guide to help you and your partner plan for the wedding is very helpful. And I highly recommend pre-marital counselling with someone who's qualified, but if that can't happen at least work through a good book on relationships together. All too often couples spend all their time preparing for the wedding and no time preparing for marriage.

Prince Edward and Sophie
Prince Edward and Sophie

5. Ephesians 5:21-28

Can we go real traditional sounding without the bride having to pledge to "obey" her husband?

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

(Today's New International Version)

These are the most commonly read verses at a Catholic wedding ceremony. Your priest may insist on including them, but some couples are concerned about the language used concerning the wife and what looks like a dominant-submissive arrangement. This is why I have re-ordered the verses (see the numbers above) in order to draw out the key idea from the original Greek New Testament: mutual submission - submitting to one another (verse 21). Sometimes verse 21 is omitted in wedding readings. It shouldn't be! It's the key to understanding these verses for marriage so I recommend concluding with it (or use it at the beginning and ending of the reading). For a great contemporary translation of this passage, use the BibleGateway website (see below) and look up The Message translation.

William and Catherine, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
William and Catherine, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

4. Numbers 6:24-26

A great blessing for a great couple!

The LORD bless you

and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine on you

and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you

and give you peace.

(Today's New International Version)

This ancient blessing of God's people works very well as an expression of highest hopes for the newly married couple.

Peter Philips and Autumn Kelly before Queen Elizabeth II
Peter Philips and Autumn Kelly before Queen Elizabeth II

3. Matthew 19:4-6

Let no one put asunder!

"Haven't you read," [Jesus] replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

(Today's New International Version)

Or as King James says it, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" - every now and then I'm a stickler for the old, traditional language. In this passage, Jesus quotes from the Genesis passage about the institution of marriage, making a powerful statement about God's involvement in joining couples together for as long as they both shall live. Who marries intending to get divorced? This is a commendable wedding reading.

Marc Mezvinsky marries Chelsea Clinton
Marc Mezvinsky marries Chelsea Clinton

2. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

It's all about love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

(Today's New International Version)

This is the classic biblical passage about love. It presents love at its best and yet is not too preachy or religious-sounding, thus making it a great choice for a civil wedding ceremony. This wedding reading is all about that ideal love we all hope to find with our partner.

Remember if you would like to make your wedding multilingual, for example, you are marrying an Hispanic groom, you can use BibleGateway (link below) to look it up in Spanish or the language of your choice, "El amor es paciente, es bondadoso..." (Nueva Versión Internacional). You might even find it easy to alternate between languages with these verses. I think there's great value in affirming the first language of each marital partner within the wedding ceremony.

Above, I've given the wording that will be quite familiar in English. Below is the translation by Eugene Peterson found in The Message. I think he's outdone himself with this poetic passage. See what you think.

(No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.)

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.

Love doesn't strut,

Doesn't have a swelled head,

Doesn't force itself on others,

Isn't always "me first,"

Doesn't fly off the handle,

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn't revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

(The Message)

Will and Kate,  Harry and Pippa Middleton
Will and Kate, Harry and Pippa Middleton

1. Romans 12:1-2, 9-18

What Will and Kate had read at the Royal Wedding

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

(New Revised Standard Version)

I'd never heard this read at a wedding before, but after hearing James Middleton (Kate's brother) read it at the Royal Wedding, I was impressed. Great message! William and Kate picked up themselves and had it read in the New Revised Standard Version (too bad for Prince Charles, Patron of the King James Bible Trust). The royal couple also wrote The Prayer for Families included in the wedding. If you'd like to see it, please go to: Ken Symes' post, The Royal Wedding: The Scripture Reading and The Prayer

Do you want your Bible reading to sound more traditional? - Or less formal? Or maybe even French or Spanish?

The Bible has been translated into English many times and in many ways. I've quoted mostly from Today's New International Version and sometimes the New Living Translation, but if you'd prefer more traditional, Shakespearean-sounding English for your wedding ceremony, please check out the King James Version. You'll find it's easy to do at BibleGateway. Simply search for the passage you've picked from the Top Ten Bible Readings for Weddings and choose the translation you'd like to see (like King James Version).

And if your wedding ceremony is going to be conducted in French or bilingually, you can also find French and other international translations at Bible Gateway.

Your Ideas about Bible Verses for Weddings

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice selection

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for checking it out, John. I hope people who are getting married and looking for verses will be able to find this selection of the best Bible readings for weddings.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      There is no difficulty for a wife to obey her husband if he indeed treats her as Christ does the church, personally I think no wife would object if she were treated as such. It is unfortunate that women are treated as chattel rather than daughters of God hence, the objection to the word obey.

    • KenSymes profile image
      Author

      KenSymes 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Andy. Thanks for checking out the lens. You make a good point about how women should be treated with respect in equality; however, this idea of a wife "obeying her husband" is not biblical. My concern with the Ephesians 5 passage is that it is sometimes read to support that understanding and to support the traditional wedding vow ("to love, cherish, and to obey"). This is an unfortunate twisting of the text. Ephesians 5:21 sets forward the main idea of mutual submission. Then in the following verses it explores what that looks like in various relationships with the household. Children are required to obey (Eph 6:1), not wives, but even with children, the idea of mutual submission is in play. Fathers must not exasperate their children -- that sort of "obey or else" approach is not how mutual submission is to work in this relationship.

      Anyhow, my main point is that the Scriptures do not say that wives are to obey and personally I do not believe that wedding vows should say this either. Far better for the couple to enter into the marvelous dynamic of mutual submission, preferring and serving one another.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Yes, it's infortunate that tradition has made it a one way street, and i agree that the Bible cannot be blamed for it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @KenSymes: Hi Ken, looks like you and Andy are setting up for a debate. Gary

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Well done! This is really cool and laid out so well. Thanks :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Keep in on track guys. Ken has prepared a helpful list of the Scripture passages people getting married might want to use in their weddings. He's offered his opinion on wives "obeying" (and it's a good opinion!), but that's not what the lens is about. I get the sense from his comments that he knows what he's talking about. And I appreciate him taking the time to offer these helpful comments with each passage. Great job, Ken!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      For those of us who have been married for a long time these passages can take us back to that happy day and they are Biblical too which is a plus. I would be happy to pass this on to anyone I knew who was planning a wedding.

    • KenSymes profile image
      Author

      KenSymes 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks Gary, Emily, Jenni, and everyone leaving good feedback. Much appreciated. Please do leave a comment if you're really getting married and really looking for a Bible reading. That would be cool!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What a terrific compilation of Bible verses! My niece is getting married this September, and she has chosen number 1. This will be one of the readings at the service, and it will be done by her cousin, my son. I am also partial to number 3 as this is a blessing I would like to bestow upon my son and his bride on their wedding day which, if things go according to plan will be in 2012.

    • KenSymes profile image
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      KenSymes 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Great to hear, Peter! And congratulations to niece and son! That's great news.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes congratulations Peter, it is good to see that Ken is on the right track. Gary

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great collection! If you have opinions about using one verse over another that would be fun to hear, and it's great that people have written in about which ones they have of plan to use.

    • KenSymes profile image
      Author

      KenSymes 6 years ago

      Thanks so much for your comment, SquidooKimberly! I'm very happy :) you checked out my lens. I was really hoping it would be helpful to people getting married. I'm trying to create lenses which are fun, interesting and informative. I'm enjoying my experience on Squidoo -- it's great. I'm trying to get the word out there. Naturally I've read some of your lenses, Kimberly, including an exciting one last night about the new Sidebar widgets. Thanks for all you do for Squidoo :)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      I was asked to read Corinthians 13:4-8 at a friend's wedding. I've always liked that verse. My wedding vows were in Italian and it was a civil ceremony, so we did not choose Bible verses.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hey, this is really cool. I was looking for that Scripture read in the royal wedding. I like the lens you've put together here with different wedding readings. Very cool idea to decorate it with pics of Will & Kate. And thanks for identifying the Romans 12 passage -- they didn't mention where it was from in the ceremony.

    • Sarata LM profile image

      Sarata LM 5 years ago

      Great job with this lens.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great Lens! For those inclined I found this site http://www.biblewedding.com

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