Christian men and women may be curious to know what the Scripture says about cutting one’s hair. In the modern world, different hairstyles are always trending; haircuts and beard trims are generally taken as a form of personal grooming. But can this be offensive according to the Lord’s Word? Is cutting your hair a sin?
According to the Bible, it is implied that men and women can cut their hair. It has not been expressly stated to be a sin. Although there are examples in the Bible where people did not cut their hair due to cultural beliefs and customs, it is not overall regarded as a sinful act. In the New Testament, cutting hair is encouraged among men, as seen in 1 Corinthians 11:15.
So, what will you learn from this article? You learn what the Bible says about cutting hair, if men can cut their hair, if women can cut their hair, and what God thinks about it too. You will also get some relevant Bible verses that you can reference. This is a knowledgeable article, so get ready to learn something you probably didn’t know before.
What Does the Bible Say About Cutting Hair?
It is essential when interpreting the Bible to factor in the literary, cultural, and historical context in which the verses were written. There are numerous instances in which the Bible references haircuts and length. From Samson’s uncut hair being his source of strength (Judges 16:15-17) to Absalom’s hair that symbolized his pride (2 Sam 14:26), the Bible has portrayed hair as having great importance.
It can be suggested that the rules about the hair of these characters in various Bible stories are unique to them and the particular cultural setup. For instance, the people of the Old Testament (both men and women) had long uncut hair, as was the custom of the Israelites before the coming of Christ. This was not considered offensive to God, as shown by Genesis 41:14, which states, “Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh.” There is no mention that the shaving of Joseph’s hair was sinful to God.
So, what about after the coming of Christ or in the New Testament? As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:14-15, “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.” The teachings of Paul seem to differ slightly from the sentiments implied in the Old Testament. Whereas long uncut hair was seen as strength and power (particularly in men), the grooming rules stated by Paul imply that men need to cut their hair as long uncut hair is a disgrace to them. Women seem encouraged to maintain long hair, but that does not entirely rule out cutting it.
Does the Bible Prohibit Women from Cutting Their Hair?
According to Paul, reference can be made again to the Scripture, which states in 1 Corinthians 11:15 that “But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” This suggests that long hair on a woman is seen as glory to her and the Lord. It is viewed as a natural veil of femininity. The Holy Magic Hair doctrine implies that a woman obtains supernatural authority and protection when she has long, uncut hair.
It was derived from 1 Corinthians 11:10, which reads, “it is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her head, because of the angels.” Many have understood this verse to mean that angels are watching over said women, and they will gain favor during prayer. If their hair is cut, these women lose their power. Although some do not believe in the doctrine and consider it unbiblical, others consider it valid.
Additionally, 1 Corinthians 11:6 also references cutting hair on a woman. It states, “For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.” This has been taken to mean that a woman with a shaved head without the coving (which is hair) is rebelling against God and disgracing herself. By scholars’ interpretation, this can be taken otherwise. A woman shaving their head is different from cutting it. Maintaining the hair at a womanly length is okay, but shaving it off is considered offensive. Therefore, it is suggested that women are not prohibited from cutting their hair, according to the Bible.
Can Men Have Uncut Hair According to The Bible?
Scriptures that have brought some contention on this subject are Leviticus 19:27, which states that “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard,” and Leviticus 21:5, which reads, “They shall not make any bald place on their heads, nor shall they shave the edges of their beards nor make any cuttings in their flesh.”
These imply at first glance that a man is meant to have their hair and beard uncut. Theological scholars have, however, interpreted this Bible verse to mean that they are referencing a particular hairstyle. Historically, pagans shaved their hair in fashions that worshiped false gods and followed customary rituals during events such as burials.
To differentiate themselves from the Canaanites, Israelites were instructed not to cut their hair in similar fashions. This did not mean they could not cut their hair altogether. However, it may be assumed that according to the Old Testament Bible, most men maintained long hair as a status symbol and a way of pleasing God. For instance, in Numbers 6:5, it is stated that during the taking of a Nazirite vow, a man’s hair shall remain long for the entire period to symbolize their dedication.
Regarding beards, 2 Samuel 10:4-5 says it is considered a disgrace to not have a beard as a man.
In the New Testament, according to 1 Corinthians 11, Paul guides whether men should have uncut hair. It says in verse 14 that “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,” implying that a man is meant to cut his hair. It encourages men to cut their hair. Paul himself cut his hair, as stated in Acts 18:18, where he did so at Cenchreae before he sailed to Syria. So, according to the Bible, men can cut their hair or keep it long.
What Does God Think About Cutting Hair?
It is stated in Matthew 10:30 that “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered,” implying that God cares greatly about His creations and their hair. Hair has been shown numerous times in the Bible as symbolic and important to the Lord. So, what does He think about cutting something as sacred as hair?
God intended to have men keep their hair shorter than that of women, as expounded by the writing of the disciple Paul in the book of 1 Corinthians 11:14, “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,” It cannot explicitly be stated that God considers long hair on a man sinful but that it is a disgrace. It thus implies that men are meant to cut their hair and beards to maintain them at a decent length that upholds their masculinity.
As for women, God regards the hair on their heads as coverings and veils that bring glory to Him. Paul emphasizes so in the same book. The hair symbolizes submission to the Lord in the place of an actual veil or covering. This does not mean that women’s hair can never be cut. It may be cut so long as it is still feminine.
What Bible Verses Talk About Cutting Hair?
Many Bible verses discuss or reference haircutting. Some can be found below.
- Leviticus 19:27 – You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.
- 1 Corinthians 11:13-16 – Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.
- Numbers 6:5 – All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long.
- Leviticus 21:5 – They shall not make bald patches on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts on their body.
- What Does the Bible Say About Hair Length?
- Is It Wrong to Shave or Cut One’s Hair (Leviticus 19:27; 21:5)?
- What Does the Bible Say About Shaving?
- What is Holy Magic Hair?
- What’s Wrong with Shaved Heads and Trimmed Beards?
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.