Have you ever tried to comprehend what Jesus looked like? What does the Son of God look like? Many Christians have a load of questions regarding the physical appearance of Jesus. Was he black? Was he white? Was he slim? Another common question about Jesus is, how tall was Jesus?
The scripture mentioned nothing about the physical appearance of Jesus when he was on earth. Therefore, his height is mentioned nowhere in the Bible. However, most scholars conclude that Jesus was of average height, around 152 cm. some say that he was 181 cm (5″11), basing their argument on the Shroud of Turin.
So, is there any clue in the Bible about how tall Jesus was? What was the average height of people in Jesus’ generation? What is the scientific basis when estimating Jesus’ height? Continue reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.
Is there a clue in the Bible about how tall Jesus was?
The Bible does not give any clue about Jesus’ height. The only people the bible hints about their height are Saul, Goliath (1st Samuel 17:4), and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:3).
A glimpse of the physical appearance of Jesus is only found in Isaiah 53:2, “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of the dry ground, he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”
This means that Jesus was ordinary and just average looking. Therefore, to gauge Jesus’ height by this fact, then we would have to observe the average height of the male Jews during the time of Jesus. That would be around 155 cm, 5’1”.
The vision John had about heaven, where he saw Jesus gives a physical appearance of Jesus, but in heaven and not in a human body. John says in Revelation 1:12-16 that Jesus had white hair, his feet were shining, and eyes that looked like blazing fire.
Many Christians envision Jesus as a good-looking, exceptionally tall person due to the various artistic photos of him. Human beings tend to think highly of heroes; therefore, we would be expected to envision Jesus as highly stunning. However, there is no biblical proof that Jesus looked like the artistic renderings of him.
What was the average height of people in Jesus’ generation?
Theologians from Compelling Truth mention that anthropologists averaged the height of people during the time of Jesus as 155 cm (5’1). Therefore, based on this information and what Isaiah 53:2 says, we can conclude that Jesus was between 5’1″ and 5’2″.
Today’s men have an average height of around 165 cm to 177 cm, which is 5’4″ to 5’8″. Therefore, if we conclude that Jesus was around 5’1″, he might appear short when gauged using the height of modern man, but his height was average during his time.
Another confusion when tackling the height of Jesus is the picture of Jesus used on the internet. Many artists envision Jesus and portray him as a tall, good-looking white man with a beard. This can be attributed to the natural reaction in humans to imagine heroes as physically attractive people.
Therefore, knowing that Jesus is God himself and appeared in the flesh to save humanity, artists would try and paint a perfect picture of him. Colossians 1:15-20 describes Jesus as the image of God. Jesus was fully God and fully human, and despite his physical appearance, it had nothing to do with his ministry on earth.
Scientific basis when estimating Jesus’ height
The estimation of Jesus’ height is based on archeological research that indicates that the average height of males during the generation of Jesus was 5’1”. And because the book of Isaiah 53:2 says that Jesus was ordinary, many people conclude that he was of average height.
However, some people argue that Jesus was taller than that and posit that he was around 6’1″. Those who suggest this argue based on the Shroud of Turin, which portrays a man on the cross whose height is around 6’1″. However, all these arguments do not have biblical evidence to back them up, as Jesus’ height is not mentioned in the scripture.
However, Science author, Juan Ramos notes that there are two major shortcomings with using the Shroud of Turin to estimate the height of Jesus. First, no one is sure beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud of Turin was the burial cloth of Jesus. Additionally, if Jesus is 6’1″, as the evidence from the Shroud of Turin claims, he would have been taller than most of the men in Israel during his generation. That is far from his average height and contradicts the prophecy written in Isaiah 53:2.
On the other hand, some point to the idea of Jesus’ existence as a perfect human being; from that, they extrapolate the idea that his genes were perfect too. According to those who believe in this theory, Jesus lacking any defects in his genes would have made him taller. However, the Bible indicates nowhere that Jesus had perfect genetics. This theory ignores other factors that come into play when determining height, like environment and nutrition. Lastly, the other core problem with this theory is that if Jesus were tall, it would contradict the prophecy made in Isaiah 53:2, which indicates Jesus was ordinary in his appearance.
Theologians and Scholars from Got Questions Ministries note that Christians try to envision Jesus as tall because we condition the association of being tall and superior. We always want our heroes to be strong and tall, while we picture villains as ugly. However, they continue and note that Jesus’ height does not matter because it had nothing to do with his mission on earth, death, and resurrection. Jesus could have been of average height, but he was infinitely superior to us in every way, spiritually, morally, and even intellectually.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.