A purity ring is a ring worn by a single teenager or adult to signify that they have made a commitment to remain abstinent from sex until marriage. The purity ring was created in the 1990s by Christian abstinence groups, including Lifeway Bookstore’s “True Love Waits,” but may have been inspired by the band nuns wear to symbolize their lifelong commitment to serve God. There are several vendors of purity rings, and no standardized procedure to receive and wear one. In some families, fathers present a ring to their young daughters after an extensive ceremony. But purity rings can also be purchased from a store or online and worn at whim. Both men and women can wear purity rings. Purity rings are not mentioned in the Bible.
There is no doubt that God calls His children to sexual purity. “You should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.” “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7).
Abstinence training is essential, and it is equally essential that the training include accurate information. A purity ring is not a talisman that magically prevents pre-marital sex. A father who gives his daughter a ring does not “own” his daughter’s sexuality. A girl’s purity is not more valuable than a boy’s. A commitment to remain abstinent until marriage is a good and noble thing (Ephesians 5:3), but it should be done within the context of a relationship with God and a desire to lean on His understanding. It should not be motivated by the excitement of a rally or the fear of dishonoring one’s father.
There is nothing wrong with wearing a purity ring, as long as the commitment to remain abstinent is sincere. It can certainly act as a marker to identify others who have made the same commitment. In the end, however, one’s relationship with God is much more important than any outward sign. And understanding the benefits of abstinence and the ways to avoid temptation are more important than a ring.