What Does The Bible Say About Hair

General Background

Hair has been an important feature of humanity since the dawn of time, and it has played a significant role in how cultures and societies view beauty, health and other aspects of life. The Bible is a source of spiritual direction for many people and it has a great deal to say about hair.

One of the most oft-quoted verses from the Bible regarding hair is from 1 Corinthians 11:14-15, “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.” This passage is often quoted to explain why some men choose to keep their hair short and why long hair is seen as an important and desirable beauty feature for women.

Religious Reasons

The Bible has many references to hair in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for hair, “sakiyv”, is often used symbolically to refer to strength and power. For example, in Psalm 133, the psalmist writes, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!”

In the New Testament, Jesus is often portrayed with long, flowing hair in some of the gospels and other writings. His hair is seen as a sign of his holiness and his spiritual power. In one of his temptations, the devil tempts him to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, but Jesus refuses. It is said that, “He stood firm and resisted all the devil’s efforts. Then the devil left him and angels came to look after him.” This illustrates how Jesus was able to remain strong and resist evil, even in his own struggles with temptation.

Cultural Reasons

In certain cultures, hair is also seen as a symbol of status. In ancient Egypt, for example, kings and queens were often depicted with elaborately braided hair, or with shaved heads to signify their power. In other cultures, such as Native American cultures, warriors often placed feathers in their hair for strength and resilience. In the Bible, it is said that Samson was given extraordinary strength from his hair, and that cutting his hair meant losing his strength (Judges 16:17-19).

In the Bible, hair is also used to signify mourning and sorrow. In 2 Samuel 14:25-26, it is written, “Then the king commanded, and they brought Absalom, and he was hanged in a terebinth tree. But the king regretfully commanded, ‘Let him be taken down from the tree alive and buried in a proper grave.’ So they took him down from the tree, and he was buried in the tomb of his ancestors, and all the people mourned with weeping. They cut their hair, and presented it as a tribute to Absalom.” Here, we see that cutting one’s hair was a sign of mourning for Absalom’s death.

Hygenic Reasons

The Bible also speaks of the importance of personal hygiene and the need to keep hair clean and groomed. In Leviticus 13:40-44, it is written: “If a man has lost the hair from his head, he is bald, but he is still clean. If he has lost the hair from his forehead and temples, he is still bald on the forehead, but he is still clean. If he has a reddish-white sore on his head or on his forehead, it is leprosy on his head or on his forehead.”

This passages indicates the importance of maintaining personal hygiene, especially when it comes to keeping one’s hair clean. This is especially true in the modern world where products such as shampoo, conditioner and styling products are widely used.

Modesty And Vanity

The Bible also speaks strongly about being humble and avoiding vanity and pride in one’s appearance. In 1 Peter 3:3-4, it is written, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” This passage emphasizes the importance of inner beauty, rather than outward beauty, and warns against vanity.

In 1 Timothy 2:9-10, it is written: “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” Here, we are warned against the vanity of having elaborate hairstyles and wearing expensive clothes.

Humility And Human Dignity

Finally, the Bible speaks of the need to treat others with humility and respect. In 1 Peter 5:5 it is written, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” Here, we are reminded to clothe ourselves with humility, including our outward appearance. We should respect each other regardless of hair length, texture or style. This is a reminder of the importance of recognizing and affirming each person’s human dignity.

Hair As Symbol Of Change

Hair is also often used in the Bible as a symbol of transformation and regeneration. In Isaiah 61:3, it is written, “that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” Here, hair is used to signify new life and hope, as well a connection to God, who has planted them.

In the Bible, hair is also used to signify strength, cleansing and renewal. In the book of Esther, for example, we see her renew her faithfulness to God and her commitment to the values of her people by changing her haircut. The Bible also speaks of the renunciation of one’s sins by shaving one’s head (Luke 18:14).

Hair As Symbol Of Holiness

In the Bible, hair is also used as a sign of holiness and consecration. In Leviticus 8, for example, it is written, “And he washed his body and his head, and he put on a linen robe, and he bound his head with a linen band, and he put on a linen sash.” Here, Aaron is seen as consecrating himself, and his head is a symbol of his holiness.

In other cases, hair is used to signify a person’s dedication to or allegiance to a higher power. In Numbers 6, for example, it is written, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and you shall say to them, No one shall make himself unclean for the dead among his people, except for his relatives who are nearest to him, to wit, his mother and father, his son and daughter, and his brother.” Here, Aaron is indicated as having consecrated himself to the Lord by shaving his hair.


The Bible has much to say on the subject of hair and it is clear that hair was of great importance to the writers of the Bible. While it was sometimes seen as a sign of status, power or holiness, it was also seen as a sign of mourning and humility. The Bible also speaks of the need for personal hygiene and warns against vanity. Finally, hair is used in the Bible to signify transformation, renewal and consecration.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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