17 Bible Verses for Marriage Vows and Readings

bride and groom holding hands in church

Photo by JFK Imagen Social

Many couples who wish to have a Christian wedding ceremony ask their wedding officiant to use the marriage vows in the Bible. While the Bible includes verses on love, marriage, and weddings, there aren't any specific marriage vows mentioned. You can, however, use the Bible's inspirational verses in your marriage vows, include them as ceremony readings, or use a short verse as a theme on your invitations and programs.

Traditionally, the Bible venerates marriage between a man and a woman. In both the Old and New Testaments, the hierarchy in a marriage is to place God first, the husband second as head of the household, and the wife subservient to the husband. To understand this subservience, you must consider the pervading thinking at the time when the many scribes and apostles contributed to The Book. Today, however, Christian religions that allow contemporary interpretation believe the wife is an equal helpmate and partner with her husband. 

Read on for some of our favorite Bible verses and what they mean to modern-day believers. You’ll find plenty of inspiration here. 

Verses on Love

Ephesians 4:32 (American Standard Version)

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Meaning: Build a compassionate and loving relationship. Forgive each other. God so loved you that he sent his son Christ as a sacrifice for you. 

Colossians 3:14 (ASV)

...and above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.

Meaning: Place unconditional love, above all things.

1 John 4:18-19 (ASV)

There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love, because he first loved us. 

Meaning: Love is the greatest of all. God proved his love for us by sacrificing his only son for our sins.

1 Corinthians 16:14 (ASV)

Let all that ye do be done in love.

Meaning: Do everything in love. 

John 15:12 (ASV)

This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you.

Meaning: John tells us that Jesus said God’s greatest commandment is to love each other.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2 (ASV)

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 

Meaning: No mater how gifted or great you are, if you don’t have love you are nothing. 

Verses on Companionship

Ephesians 5:28 (ASV)

Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself:

Meaning: A husband must love his wife as much as he loves himself.

Ephesians 5:31 (ASV)

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.

Meaning: When you marry, you become one. Let none come between you. 

Proverbs 31:10 (World English Bible)

Who can find a worthy woman?  For her price is far above rubies.

Meaning: A virtuous, loving, and faithful woman is a treasure above all others.

Mark 10:6-9 (WEB)

But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife, and the two will become one flesh so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Meaning: As marriage under God decrees that you are one, let no mere mortal separate your sacred union. 

Verses for Vows

Ruth 1:16 (ASV) 

...whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.

Meaning: When used as a ceremony vow, you are entirely committing to each other.

Song of Solomon 2:16 (ASV)

My beloved is mine, and I am his.

Meaning: You are mine and I am yours, completely.

Verses for Readings 

Song of Solomon 2:3-16 (ASV)

My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds has come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.

Meaning: Your marriage is a re-birth, and the two of you are now one. 

Corinthians 13: 1-8,13 (ASV)

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away...When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things...But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Meaning: If you don't have love, you have nothing. Of the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love; love is everything in life.

Genesis 2:18-24 (King James Version)

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a help mate for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help mate for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Meaning: Genesis is the story of God's creation of the world and everything in it, including Adam, the first man. God didn’t want Adam to be lonely, so he created Eve from Adam's rib.  

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ASV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Meaning: Do everything in its own time. Marriage is the time to commit to your love fully.

John 2:1-11 (ASV)

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and Jesus also was bidden, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when the wine failed, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. And Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. Now there were six waterpots of stone set there after the Jews’ manner of purifying, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the ruler of the feast. And they bare it. And when the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and knew not whence it was (but the servants that had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast calleth the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man setteth on first the good wine; and when men have drunk freely, then that which is worse: thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Meaning: Jesus and his mother Mary attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee. When the guests had consumed all of the wine, Mary urged Jesus to perform his first miracle of changing water into wine. This “second” wine was so good; it surprised the guests because the custom was to serve the best wine first and the lesser quality wine last.  

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